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-   -   Change oil every three months? (http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=22274)

snopes 19 December 2007 03:12 AM

Change oil every three months?
 
Comment: It was rumord by an ex military person whom was very familiar
with all sorts of military and non- vehicles,that it is not necissary to
change the oil in vehicles every three months. rather, you can drive a
vehicle up to five years with the same oil and all you have to do is just
continue to add oil when your vehicle becomes low, in oil.
It is what they do with military vehicles all the time in all kinds of
extreame conditions with no adverse effects on the vehicles. It's just a
ploy with the oil industries to push this in our minds that it is vital
that our vehicles would othewise fail greatly if we do not change out the
oil so frequently. I would love to know because the price of oil changes
are not cheap and if I could save I would love to save.

MidgardDragon 19 December 2007 03:22 AM

I can confirm that you can go quite a long while without changing the oil in a car, as long as you add oil when necessary. However, I don't think this is a "plot" but more the simple fact that it's not good for your engine to do so. Just because you *can* do something and keep a running vehicle doesn't mean it's good for the vehicle to do so.

kjbrasda 19 December 2007 03:45 AM

Oil changes are a heck of a lot cheaper than a new engine, or a new car. btw, I don't believe your oil level should be dropping between changes, if it is check for leaks. Also, it is tons cheaper to change your own oil, and rather easy. The only problem might be having somewhere to dispose of the used oil. http://www.mobiloil.com/USA-English/...Recycling.aspx

Singing in the Drizzle 19 December 2007 03:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kjbrasda (Post 443072)
Oil changes are a heck of a lot cheaper than a new engine, or a new car. btw, I don't believe your oil level should be dropping between changes, if it is check for leaks.

You should be losing a small amount oil between oil changes do to the small gap between ring and cylinder wall. Depending on size, make and RPM of engine it could be up to a quart every time you are suppose to change oil. Don't worry, with out this oil loose the wall of you piston cylinders and the rings would ware out quite fast.

Troberg 19 December 2007 07:08 AM

Every three months? That's just insane, unless you drive a high performance race car and really use that performance. Once a year or once every second year is reasonable, but as long as the oil looks fine (clear or black, not grey, no traces of metal in it), you can easily go for five years without risking your engine in any way.

Of course, you need to check your oil level every once in a while, and every three months may be reasonable for that, but on a newer car (except if it's fresh from the factory, then you should check a bit more often, and also change the oil a bit more often), you can easily go for half a year or more between checks. If your car use a lot of oil (usually a piston ring that's stuck), check more often. The warning light will warn you before oil pressure drops, so it's not that critical.

Class Bravo 19 December 2007 07:16 AM

Five years? Did I miss something? I'd always heard every 3,000 miles, and the car handbook in my Accord says every 5,000.

MidgardDragon 19 December 2007 07:24 AM

The "advice" I've always heard and never followed is "3 months or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first". Really it depends more on how much you drive your car, what you use it for, how rough you are on it, etc. I think the advice of 3 months/3,000 miles is just a "better safe than sorry" type thing.

Imagine20 19 December 2007 08:03 AM

It also has to do with what your car's manufacturer says. My car manual says every 5000 miles, not 3000.

Troberg 19 December 2007 08:46 AM

OK, a quick check around the coffee table at work done (around 12-14 people). The results ranged from once a year to "do you have to change oil on modern cars?". Most seems to fall somewhere between 1-2 years.

This is people who drive a lot. Also, the Swedish winter is not kind to engines, as the oil takes longer before it starts lubricating properly when starting a cold engine. None of them has had any problems related to bad oil, not even the guy who is currently rebuilding an old Nissan to give som 350 HP. None of them had even heard of an engine failing due to bad oil (oil leaks or otherwise missing oil is another issue, though).

They all reacted that 3 months is way too often, most us only checked the oil twice a year or so, the most frequent checker did it every second time he refuels.

Sure, it's just anecdotal evidence, but I still think it points to one of three conclusions:

1. Swedes are smarter than the average American.
2. Swedes don't care about their cars.
3. Swedish cars are better.

Since #3 is obviously false. it has to be #1 or #2. Draw your own conclusions.

One additional comment:

This all assumes you are using an at least half decent oil, not the $5 a gallon kind. You don't have to use the expensive synthetic oils, just avoid the cheap crap. My personal preference is Quaker State, which is excellent value for money.

MidgardDragon 19 December 2007 08:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Troberg (Post 443252)
OK, a quick check around the coffee table at work done (around 12-14 people). The results ranged from once a year to "do you have to change oil on modern cars?". Most seems to fall somewhere between 1-2 years.

This is people who drive a lot. Also, the Swedish winter is not kind to engines, as the oil takes longer before it starts lubricating properly when starting a cold engine. None of them has had any problems related to bad oil, not even the guy who is currently rebuilding an old Nissan to give som 350 HP. None of them had even heard of an engine failing due to bad oil (oil leaks or otherwise missing oil is another issue, though).

They all reacted that 3 months is way too often, most us only checked the oil twice a year or so, the most frequent checker did it every second time he refuels.

Sure, it's just anecdotal evidence, but I still think it points to one of three conclusions:

1. Swedes are smarter than the average American.
2. Swedes don't care about their cars.
3. Swedish cars are better.

Since #3 is obviously false. it has to be #1 or #2. Draw your own conclusions.

One additional comment:

This all assumes you are using an at least half decent oil, not the $5 a gallon kind. You don't have to use the expensive synthetic oils, just avoid the cheap crap. My personal preference is Quaker State, which is excellent value for money.

Those three options assume that Americans follow this advice simply because it exists. I assure you most of us do not have our oil changed every three months.

Troberg 19 December 2007 09:00 AM

Quote:

Those three options assume that Americans follow this advice simply because it exists. I assure you most of us do not have our oil changed every three months.
Don't read too much into those options, that part was a joke.

MidgardDragon 19 December 2007 09:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Troberg (Post 443260)
Don't read too much into those options, that part was a joke.

I know, I'm just saying. :)

Shadowduck 19 December 2007 09:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Class Bravo (Post 443221)
I'd always heard every 3,000 miles, and the car handbook in my Accord says every 5,000.

The handbook for my Darling Wifey's Zafira says annually or every 20,000 miles, which seems reasonable to me. A high revving performance car would probably need changes a bit more frequently but even on my bikes (revving to 12,000rpm or more) I used to leave it about six months / 5,000 miles.

nancyfancypants 19 December 2007 11:02 AM

It really does depend on the vehicle. I bought a new one in 2004, and there's an indicator on the dashboard computer to tell me when to change it. I average six to seven months between oil changes, but depending on how and how much this vehicle is driven, it's possible to go a whole year. The manual states, though, that a year is the maximum.

kitap 19 December 2007 11:10 AM

If I remember correctly Click and Clack say that 3 months/3,000 is for older cars or if you do a lot of stop and go driving. If you do lots of highway driving 5,000 is fine.

Troberg 19 December 2007 11:36 AM

Quote:

The handbook for my Darling Wifey's Zafira says annually or every 20,000 miles, which seems reasonable to me.
That sounds reasonable to me, as a manufacturer recommendation. That probably means that, with their safety margin, you could drive it until the apes take over the planet without an oil change.

Insensible Crier 19 December 2007 01:33 PM

It also depends on the type of oil you use. Pure synthetic oil (which is standard for all BMWs or so my coworker says) says every 12,000 miles. Most of us use the regular stuff which is every 3000-5000 miles.

I definitely don't follow the 3 month rule and it takes me about 3 years to put 3000 miles on the car. I just do it once a year when my car is inspected or right before a really long road trip.

Lainie 19 December 2007 01:37 PM

Y'all are making me feel much better about my own car maintenance record.

Dr. Dave 19 December 2007 01:44 PM

1. I have read in multiple car foums that in Europe (and our friends in Sweeden and UK have provided personal testimony here) they change the oil much less frequently than we are told to. I probably get a change twice a year, about 5000-6000 miles.

Question for Europeans- what about the oil filter? I have heard that one option is to rarely or never change the oil, just add a quart when needed, but that one still needs to change the filter. One option I have read about is rigging up a "toilet paper filter" in which one just changes the roll when it is dirty.

Shadowduck 19 December 2007 02:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dr. Dave (Post 443412)
Question for Europeans- what about the oil filter? I have heard that one option is to rarely or never change the oil, just add a quart when needed, but that one still needs to change the filter.

Usually the filter gets changed whenever the oil does, so both are annual or 20,000 miles on DW's Zafira.

I suppose theoretically I should really check the oil level occasionally inbetween... The odd times I've checked it (before long trips) it's been fine, so I tend not to bother.


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