2000 miles/year oil

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Jul 21, 2003
Boston, MA
My girl friend drives only about 2000 mile a year. She lives near the ocean and mostly uses public transportation. The high humidity plays havoc with rust on her break rotors and I’m sure the same with the engine. When she does use her car, she drives it long enough to get the oil hot. BUT she likes to start the car every few weeks if she haven't driven it for a while and let it idle for about 1/2 hour without driving it. The car is a 95 Honda Accord with a 4 cyl VTEC engine. She also insists on a 1 year OCI! I am unable to change her auto habits and am concern about internal engine rust. What would be a good, but cost-effective oil for the abuse this car is getting? A good dino oil like Pennzoil, a cheap G-III oil like WalMart’s synthetic, a good G-III oil like Pennzoil or Castrol, or a real synthetic like M1? [ February 12, 2004, 11:51 AM: Message edited by: MikeySoft ]
My owner's manual recommends 12,000km or 1 year intervals, with 2 year oil filter changes, if it's not on the severe duty schedule. Unless the trips are frequent and very short, the 1 year interval probably isn't a problem. The oil isn't going to go bad in a year by just sitting there.
I like Castrol Syntec for this application, but I'm sure I'll get flamed for saying it. [No no] Any good syn with esters might help, some, but it may not be significant over a great dino like Pennzoil as far as longevity. The right syns will cling to engine parts and create a longer lasting film, but this is controversial. Now everyone is going to jump on me. [LOL!]
In a case like this, it almost doesn't matter what oil you use. With only 2000 miles per year, even if the engine wore out after 20,000 more miles, it would still give you ten more years of service.
Originally posted by MikeySoft: I am mostly concern about rust on the cylinder walls. Maybe I should not worry about it? [I dont know]
Red Line oil would be my choice for corrosion resistance. You only need to change it out 1 per year or 12-18,000 miles. This makes it cost effective at $7.79 per qrt.
While syn certainly does have specific advantages over dino (cold weather, high engine temps, etc.), superior corrosion resistance isn't one I've read about. Since she regularly runs the engine (it doesn't sit for months at a time), her engine is thoroughly coated with a very thin layer of oil and protected from corrosion. By "corrosion protection" the oil firms are primarly talking about acid build-up as a byproduct of combustion (as opposed to sea salt in the air), and an oil's TBN spec reflects this. With 2,000 miles and long drives when driven (limited thermal cycles, and few short cycles which can accumulate condensation), I'd also recommend inexpensive name brand "SL" dino oil, changed once/yr if the manual agrees with such frequency.
For the amount of use this car gets, odds are it will be not worth any additional expense to maintain any more than she is now doing. I would leave it just as it is. Use the cheapest oil etc. The car already has low resale value and any additional expense would not reap any rewards. Have a 1993 Lumina in the family that is just like this. Since it was new we have only changed oil once per year and used Havoline if for the only reason it was what the dealer gav with the free oil changes. Car has about 60,000 miles and never seen more than 1 change per year. Engine is in good condition but body is starting to rust. Cars like this are selling for as little at $2500 on the high side. The GM Quick Lube only costs less than $25. If we would have listened to all the hype of every 3,000 miles or 3 months it would have been a big waste of $$$ which would have equated to 4 oil changes per year or about $750 in unnecessary expense over the last 11 years.
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