Oil change frequency - X5
In his column, HJ is always insistent that oil should be changed well before 9K miles. This then puts him in conflict with the boffins at BMW, whose service interval indicator system bases its advice in part on a sampling of the oil. In my case this gives a service interval of about 13K miles. So where should we place our trust? HJ's caution and experience, or BMW's techno-wizardry? Any bad experiences out there?
Oil change frequency - Sooty Tailpipes
How often do you have a bath? Every day? Someone may invent a probe that tells you not to bother until after 5 days. Change your oil as often as you like I say.
Oil change frequency - wemyss
Personally I would go along with HJ on oil change intervals. Only the other day my local garage man was talking on this subject.
His view is that these extended oil change intervals are marketing ploys and are aimed mainly at the short term owners and not for longevity.
He particularly emphasised the need for oil changes on turbo diesels as he says he has had several turbo failures, and insists it has always been due to the oil thickening up due to longer oil changes.
And with an oil change which only costs the equivalent of a few gallons of fuel is it worth taking the risk.
Oil change frequency - hillman
The advice as I read it was:
Starting from new, run the car until its first service to bed everything in nicely, and subsequently change oil every 5000 miles at the most (preferably sooner). If the mileage before first service is something ridiculous then do it sooner. Personally I think that 13000 miles is too much.
Car makers are in the business of selling cars to the fleet managers, who want the minimum service costs before selling on. Any corrections anybody?
Oil change frequency - Andrew-T
This topic is a regular, and always results in the same points of discussion. I am sure service schedules are aimed mainly at the first owners, most of whom will be 'fleets' or others who do not intend to keep the car for long. Hence the strategy is not surprising. Owners of new cars who regard them as longer-term investments should service them accordingly.

But in an age when nearly all cars become unsaleable after about ten years - long before their true worthlessness - is it really such a reprehensible recommendation?
Oil change frequency - brian-oblivion
Try this site

It has loads of tips and discussions about oil and other car technical matters.
Oil change frequency - Leon on Derv
Would agree with most of the comments posted to date. Not heard that view on Fleet sales before but an interesting and valid point.

Always think this is a subjective one. Depends on driving conditions, how the car is driven, quality of oil and other factors too many to mention.

I have always had a tendency to go by feel. Once the edge went off the cars performance it was time for a service. Friends scoffed at me for servicing my Scoob about every 3000 miles, but for that bit of investment my motor was trouble free whereas I have heard about oil flow becoming restricted in these engines I assume due to improper maint, or use of poor quality oils.

Current example - Seat recommend replacing brake fluid every 2 years in their motors. I assume the average mileage equivilent to be 24,000 miles. I cover about 30,000 a year so I change the brake fluid once a year. Do the majority of owners change thier brake fluid at all?

The same manufacturer have recently extended service interval for diesel fuel filters to 40,000 miles. Probably all very good if using good quality fuel. For the sake of £20 to replace it every nine months personally I would sooner not run the risk.

Oil change frequency - Armitage Shanks{P}
Alvin, I think that oil gets thinner during use, at any given temperature, due to the shearing forces it is subjected to in use, and the breakdown of the complex molecules within it due to high temperatures and general wear and tear. I stand to be corrected, of course!
Oil change frequency - wemyss
Armitage, Whether old oil gets thinner at operating temperatures I wouldn't know but I'm sure that when cold it is much thicker.
A few years ago my son in law bought his Carlton up for an oil change long after it was due.
Drained it down into my usual draining container and the next day took it down to the local disposal centre where they have a large holding tank. Usually takes about a minute to drain the can. This time believe it or not it took 20 minutes to get the oil out. It was just as crude oil would be and I was amazed that a starter motor would have turned the engine over through this.
How long it had been unchanged I don't know but can be certain from this experience that old oil does get thicker when cold. if this oil was in a turboed car I think it would have been in trouble.
Oil change frequency - Dizzy {P}
No harm at all in early oil changes, but I still say that this is not nearly as important with synthetic oils as it is with mineral oils.

As I've said before, if it is necessary to bring forward the changes with synthetic oil to 5000 miles then the equivalent mineral oil needs changing at around 2000 miles. In the same way, if you use cheap reclaimed oil you need to change it every time you go round the block!

Sensible oil change intervals need to be decided on a case-by-case basis, e.g. perhaps 10000 miles or more if the car is simply going up and down the motorway with synthetic oil and no cold starts -- or perhaps 3000 miles or less if used only for the school run with mineral oil and lots of cold starts.
Oil change frequency - arnold2
As some comments have illustrated, HJ's advice may not apply in every case - it depends what sort of driving you do.

In my case, I drive 35k per year mainly motorway, so my engine is less stressed than one doing 10 mile journeys in heavy traffic - in which case you should change oil more often.

Millers Oil - www.millersoils.co.uk - were very helpful when I asked them this question, even offering to test a sample of my oil to tell me if there would be any more life left in it for future changes.

Synthetic oils have better life, and are worth considering - my local Kwik Fit only charges £35 for an Synthetic Oil & Filter - and the car runs much better on fully than Toyota's recommended semi !
Oil change frequency - Burnout2
Our BMW 328, having covered only 25k miles in nearly four years, had only had a single oil change service until recently (Inspection I service). The automatic service indicator takes no account of elapsed time, and the natural deterioration of all fluids. The monkeys at our local franchise were unable to comprehend why we wanted it serviced again last month with 6k miles + (ie: another year) still remaining on the service indicator!

Personally, I think HJ's recommendations on this subject are a little over-cautious, but at the same time very good advice for anyone looking to run a car economically in the long-term, especially those who can do it themselves at minimal cost.

My own feeling is that 10k intervals given normal use (plenty of 20 miles + journeys) is about the right balance between cost, hassle and car-care in a modern vehicle.
Oil change frequency - Phoenicks
i'd echo that. every 10k or every year i say.

You have to think about how long you're going to keep the car. If you change it yearly or 10k miles its isnt going to go wrong, and if it did it wouldnt be until it had at least 100-150k miles on it which might take 5-10 years. And 99% of the time you would have sold it well before that.

I'm starting to change my stance on car maintenance. Its so expensive and you dont seem to reap the rewards for nicely kept cars as much as you used to, so now i think i'll just service it as required once a year, change the cambelt (if required) and keep up the tyres. Apart from that, i dont see a huge amount of benefit in spending £20 per month on loads of cleaning products, nor changing the oil twice a year (like i used to), nor worrying about every stone chip. You only sell it after 3 years for someone else to enjoy all your hard work.....
Oil change frequency - Vin {P}
My penn'orth (literally)

If you change the oil every 5000 miles and it costs £50.00 (though it should be a great deal less) you'l be spending a magnificent 1p per mile. I recently calculated (elsewhere on forum) that my total running costs are 35p per mile, so if I changed every 10,000 miles instead, I'd save 0.5p per mile, or 1.4% of my running costs. My view is that'd be a false economy; you are welcome to a different view.

Oil change frequency - Phoenicks
I dont know if its the pence per mile issue, or just the fact of forking out £50 every 6 months rather than £50 once a year.

What is the real advantage to the owner over the course of owning the car to changing the oil twice a year, rather than once a year?
Oil change frequency - Malcolm_L
This is an issue that's been raised many times before, cost would appear to be main consideration plus extended service intervals.

The manufacturers could satisfy both needs by improving the oil filtering, the technology is out there and has been for some time.

We could then have cars with genuine service intervals of 20k plus with oil that isn't so full of carp that it's positively corrosive - however when the car ran out of oil would this be the drivers fault or the manufacturers?
Oil change frequency - Andrew-T
alvin - I assume the treacly oil you mention was mineral, which I believe is a mixture of wider boiling range than synthetics. Over a year or two the molecules have been sheared and the volatiles will have eveporated/burnt, leaving the syrup behind. Plus of course all the suspended carbon and carp.
Oil change frequency - Reggie
I'm presently in a "strange" position with my Citroen C3 diesel. It's 8.5 months old, with nearly 7,000 miles on the clock. I'm probably going to do my own maintainence, which according to Citroen the first proper service is 12,000 miles or twelve months, which will of course eventually invalidate the warranty (by not having the book stamped).
Although the oil has kept remarkably clean compared to my I.D.I. P.S.A. oil burner (406), nevertheless I'm becoming uneasy at letting it run to 12K or twelve months in case I am slightly damaging the engine, but H.J. in his notes says that they leave it in these days to generate some wear and let things bed in, a concept I fully understand.
Therefore is leaving the oil in for 12K or twelve months for the first service to be condoned or not? Also, although I realise that it is false economy, if Citroen are happy to leave the oil and filter on for twelve months or 12K, if I were to change only the oil as an interim measure prior to doing the job properly at 12K, surely this is a halfway house that can only be beneficial as all the crud will still be retained in the filter.
Having said all this, I will probably do the oil and filter next week myself, 15 minuites and £18.00 in parts.
Oil change frequency - Reggie
Re above. Invalidate the warranty by doing my own maintenence. And minutes not minuites. I should check before........
Oil change frequency - Reggie
Therefore I am correct in believing that it is good practise for the first oil change only, to be left the recommended time i.e. 12K or twelve months in Citroens case. Thankyou.
Oil change frequency - hillman
Two of my good friends ruined their engines by not changing the oil often enough, or at all. One chap had a timing chain failure on a Nissan Primera, very expensive!
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There is something fishy here!
Do you mean CRUD? This is a time honoured word stemming from the American term 'Columbia River Unidentified Deposit' referring to noxious tarry deposits washed up on the river banks. If too much of that builds up in your crankcase it blocks the oilways.
Oil change frequency - Andrew-T
Pedant speaking. CRUD is certainly time-honoured, and goes back a lot further than that. It's just an ancient variant of curd (which I hope I never find in my crankcase).
Oil change frequency - Reggie
" crud". Slang. "A coating of incrustation of filth or refuse." This is from my dictionary. This term is used a lot in Yorkshire!
Oil change frequency - JoeO
I take all this good advice on board and have followed HJ's regime with my Alfa Romeo 156 2.0l which is going and sounding better than ever after 18 months and 16k miles.

But a lot of people who are going to get shot of their cars after a couple of years or who are on company schemes simply don't care if the engine is looked after or not.

200k miles is a lot of miles, especially when many drivers can't see further than the end of their own bonnet...

Best regards


Value my car