Author Topic: Frequency of oil changes  (Read 4250 times)

FrontRanger

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Frequency of oil changes
« on: December 22, 2014, 08:56:25 PM »
I use full synthetic oil in the 2008 Subaru Outback and drive maybe 3,500 miles in a year. The rest is riding the bike.  Do I really need to change the oil every year if using synthetic? Seems wasteful. If that is the guidance, I might as well go back to dino oil at half the cost, right?

I figure there is a mechanic or someone that isn't full of BS on the forum that can help me make some maintenance decisions.

surfhb

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Re: Frequency of oil changes
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2014, 11:20:05 PM »
Its only $50 to change your oil.    Just do it every year

Retired To Win

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Re: Frequency of oil changes
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2014, 05:33:47 AM »
It's not even $50 at Jiffy Lube, AND they check and top off a lot of the other fluids in your vehicle as well.  So I have them change my oil every 3000 miles (which I know it's a little"pampery" but I drive a 1996 vehicle).

Jack

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Re: Frequency of oil changes
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2014, 06:02:49 AM »
Does your Outback have a turbocharger, or does the owner's manual specifically say the car requires synthetic? If so, keep using synthetic. If not, then if it were my car I'd switch to dino oil (edit: and keep the yearly oil change, just in case that wasn't clear before).
« Last Edit: December 23, 2014, 06:12:56 AM by Jack »

lithy

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Re: Frequency of oil changes
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2014, 06:03:32 AM »
It might be worth it to you to do an engine oil life analysis.  I have no affiliation to this site, it was just the first page that popped up on Google so you can shop around and see what others cost to do the same service.  Basically you're just looking for something that will take your used oil and give you a reply that says "That oil had 30% life remaining on it".

http://www.blackstone-labs.com/

I certainly wouldn't change full synthetic every year if you're only driving 3500 miles. 

I go by mileage in my cars and I go to 5000 miles between changes on conventional oil in my car and 10,000 miles on synthetic in my wife's which usually puts my changes at every 6 months or so for mine and every year for hers.  Yes...we drive a lot.

Waiting for 10,000 miles for you would be closer to 3 years though, which might be a bit long.  Are you driving the car regularly just not often (by this I mean, it isn't sitting for the entire summer is it?) and are the trips long enough to get the car up to operating temps?  If so, I would probably aim at changing every 2 years or 10,000 miles personally. 

Edit: I also wouldn't let Jiffy Lube or any other quick change place touch my cars with a 10 foot pole.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2014, 06:05:17 AM by lithy »

shotgunwilly

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Re: Frequency of oil changes
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2014, 07:54:22 AM »
I do mine every 5,000 miles. Which equals about 3-4 times a year with my driving. 

Forcus

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Re: Frequency of oil changes
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2014, 08:24:10 AM »
I'd just do it every year with synthetic, it's such a low cost ($15-ish difference). My main concern would be if when you do use the car you use it for short trips. I'm assuming not because you use the bike but in any case short trips are hard on engines. They don't warm up enough to boil off condensation and burn off hydrocarbons that have leaked past the rings.

MgoSam

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Re: Frequency of oil changes
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2014, 08:30:51 AM »
I want to drive my car to the ground, and as such I don't skimp on maintenance. I change my oil every 3000 miles (well in theory, in reality things come up so it is more like 3500 miles). I would do it on my own, but there is a mechanic a block from work that will do it all for $25, including disposal. He is an incredibly nice man and is happy to do a diagnostic check and not try to up sell me, so I am happy to kick him the work.

FrontRanger

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Re: Frequency of oil changes
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2014, 12:07:18 PM »
Thanks all. I think I will go with the annual changes (realistically 12-15 months) and revert back to dino oil. I know synthetic is just $15-20 more, but the maintenancd schedule says every 7,500 with regular oil. I can safely get by with regular oil annually. My buddy has a 2001 outback with 280k miles and he changes every 5,000 with regular oil. I don't like wasting any money if not needed.

RWD

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Re: Frequency of oil changes
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2014, 04:15:30 PM »
Doing an oil analysis (like at Blackstone Labs) is the only way to be sure if you can go longer between oil changes. I have had oil analysis done on several of my vehicles and it is always very informative.

By the way, we just had a thread on this a few days ago...
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/do-it-yourself-forum!/oil-change-frequency-1999-honda-odyssey/

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Frequency of oil changes
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2014, 07:37:47 PM »
The specified changes usually specify a period of time as well as miles (as oil degrades).

In my last car (with service intervals of 10,000km/6months), I went by kilometres, which was usually about once every eight or nine months.

The current car has 15,000km/12 month intervals, and I plan on getting it done annually regardless of the ks done.

Admittedly I tend to just use the viscosity recommended by the manufacturer (although I ran thicker stuff towards the end in my last car as the rings were shot and I was trying to slow consumption).

I'd like to see what the Blackstone report is on oil that's been in a barely driven car's sump for two or three years.

FrontRanger

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Re: Frequency of oil changes
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2014, 08:38:48 PM »
I'm a data and science nerd so I'm going to try the blackstone lab analysis to get a firm verdict on how my car is using the oil.

darkadams00

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Re: Frequency of oil changes
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2014, 09:21:10 PM »
Every 5,000 miles on a 2005 Nissan Sentra.