How often do you really need to change your oil?

DomS

Banned
Jul 15, 2008
1,679
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I have a 2005 Chevy Classic (Malibu), The oil change was due on June 10th. I JUST passed the mileage last week however (3,000 miles). I checked and the oil isn't low. I don't redline it ever, I just use it for occasionally driving around town. Most of the 3000 miles came in early summer when I would drive to the beach. Since then I drive it every few days, and then only for a couple miles per whack. Should I get the oil changed soon anyway?
 

LTC8K6

Lifer
Mar 10, 2004
28,520
1,575
126
You are one of the few who should change it more often.

Every few days, only a couple miles each time, is bad for the oil and the engine.
That's why they have months as well as miles for oil changes.

Always drive it until the engine and transmission are fully warmed up. You need to get the fluids hot enough to get rid of any condensation that forms.

Warm it up in town and then make a nice highway run for a few miles.
 

T2urtle

Diamond Member
Oct 18, 2004
3,432
3
81
your oil level should NEVER be low. if its low you have a problem.


short trips, pretty much "city driving" should require a more often oil change. versus longer " highway trips" because it gives the oil a chance to warm up and etc. compared to city driving where your going 2 blocks shut off the car and go back.

most oils are now rated for 5k-20k, in most cases the 3 month rule should be in plan i guess. its only $20-50 pending on where and what oils.

the general rule used to be 3k/3 months. i guess now they designed oil better or something most dealerships do a 3750 mile/ 3 month on normal oil and 5k-3month on syn. now i personally believe they lower it to get you back into the dealership to make more money off you.

i personally do a 3month rule regardless of miles. more or less pending weather, since i do my own oil changes, i try to get one in before winter hits and get one when it starts to warm up. but if you pay people to do it, just stick with a 3 month type deal or if you want 3k. i dont see any harm in either method, more of a personal thing.
 

Vette73

Lifer
Jul 5, 2000
21,503
8
0
For most cars/light trucks 6 months or 5000miles is a safe rule. Some cars say you can go longer on reg. oil which you may. But 5k/6M is a good safe number.

If you use Syn then I move those to 10k/1Year.

Just don;t use Fram oil filters.
 

MovingTarget

Diamond Member
Jun 22, 2003
8,999
109
106
I used to be quite religious about the every 3000 miles oil change. However, since I'm doing waaay more highway miles nowadays, I've slacked off. When you have an hour commute one way on the interstate, you might have to go to once a month to every other month. So, its back to 1x/3months.
 

bruceb

Diamond Member
Aug 20, 2004
8,874
111
106
On my GM a 1999 I do it about every 6K miles or so ... when the oil life monitor gets down to about 4% or so.
It seems pretty accurate and I use Mobil 1 or Castrol full synthetic oils.
 

BlackTigers

Diamond Member
Jan 15, 2006
4,493
2
71
My manual says 5k/6mos for normal, and 3k/3mos for severe duty.

I changed min about half an hour ago, after about 4k miles. $15 every 4k miles really isn't that bad.
 

EightySix Four

Diamond Member
Jul 17, 2004
5,121
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Originally posted by: T2urtle
Originally posted by: crazySOB297
Originally posted by: Apex
Get the oil analyzed, then, know for sure.

^ this

Will save you money and headache.

only if you know what everything means...

Pretty tough not to, every report I have ever seen has a section stating the estimated life time left on the oil, amount of detergents left, etc.
 

weeber

Senior member
Oct 10, 1999
432
2
81
DomS,

Your car should have a very similar, if not identical, system to my '01 Monte Carlo. GM puts Oil Life systems on most if not all their recent cars. It should keep track of your mileage, time, and driving conditions (rpm, time at operating temperature, etc.) and lets you know when it's time to change the oil.

In my case, the oil light doesn't come on until 5,000-6,000 miles, and that's when I change it. Look at your manual, and see if your car has this. If it does, I would just change it when the light comes on, that's what it's designed for.
 

StageLeft

No Lifer
Sep 29, 2000
70,150
5
0
Originally posted by: crazySOB297
Originally posted by: T2urtle
Originally posted by: crazySOB297
Originally posted by: Apex
Get the oil analyzed, then, know for sure.

^ this

Will save you money and headache.

only if you know what everything means...

Pretty tough not to, every report I have ever seen has a section stating the estimated life time left on the oil, amount of detergents left, etc.
How can that save money? I can change my oil for $20.
 

child of wonder

Diamond Member
Aug 31, 2006
8,307
175
106
My uncle is a Ford Senior Master Mechanic and he says every 3k if you do mostly city driving and 5k if you do mostly highway driving. So I listen to him.
 

CU

Platinum Member
Aug 14, 2000
2,409
51
91
When my computer tells me to, which has been 10-13K. Basically once a year for me.