best time to do once a year oil change?

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Nov 15, 2003
My mother-in-law puts about 100 miles a month on her inheritted Toyota Camry 4 banger... I'm considering changing her oil once a year with M1 5W30. What is the best time of year to do the oil change, in terms of oil/engine life?

I'm thinking the fall is the best time, because winter is harder on the oil and engine than summer... would seem a better idea to have the freshest oil in there for the harshest conditions.

Ideas? Gathered wisdom? Personal experience? Lemme have it!

[ January 14, 2004, 11:13 AM: Message edited by: bigpaulo ]
Normally I would've said the fall, but with such few miles driven, Doug is right, you want to get the winter oil out of there since it will have accumulated more moisture and during that time the engine probably put a lot more iron into the oil also. With only 100 miles per month, by the time the next winter rolls around, that oil should still have more than enough capability to handle wintertime, especially if you're using synthetic.

At only 1200 miles per year though, this Camry should last for two lifetimes no matter what you do!
At only 100 mi/mo, I'd say it really doesn't matter what time of year you do it. Pick a time when it's most comfortable for you & convenient for your schedule.
Spring after reel cold startups are over for the season. That way your oil is fairly good until it is effected by cold startups again in the fall. If you change it in the fall, you will be driving all year on oil effected by cold startups.
I agree, the end of winter. Probably the biggest issue this oil will face is condensation due to temperature extremes between the normal operating temp and anything colder than that, with winter temps obviously being the most extreme. At the end of winter, at the time of "peak" condensation build-up (even though the oil, in fact, may have little water in it if such is the nature of her engine), that would be the best time to dump the oil and go 2/3rds of the following year with fresh oil before winter recontamination.

At only 1,200 miles/year, how about going with Rotella, Delo 400, etc. and save a few bucks? Using syn with such low mileage seems unnecessary, and this isn't a big-bucks engine.

[ January 14, 2004, 09:10 PM: Message edited by: TC ]
Porsche have long ( for 30+ years )advocated either 12-15000 miles or 12 months OCIs - even with mineral oils

They have always recommended to change in the Spring if the distance limit is not met


Originally posted by bigpaulo:
My mother-in-law puts about 100 miles a month on her inheritted Toyota Camry 4 banger... I'm considering changing her oil once a year with M1 5W30. -*-*-*

Hummmm. I will not give an answer. I'd say don't consider and change at least twice a year. Maybe after the first or second or third freeze as ONE place, ie... mid or partway into it...>>>>>>>
I've seen a few oil & motor manufacturers either specify a mile/ km limit or 6 monthly changes, whichever comes first.
Some good ideas on this thread. Spring makes sense, but twice a year makes more sense. I dunno, such LOW miles in a year, one change is probally fine, this is rare instance.
Late Fall. That will give you fresh oil which will deal with the condensation and other nastiness of winter best. Then when it warms up in the spring normal operation will do a better job of driving moisture out of the oil.

How much of a winter do you have? What city?

Have you considered using a normal decent quality dino oil and changing twice a year for about the same cost?
I was asking the same thing about my mothers car. She only puts on 5,000 a year. I bought some Mobil Delvac 1 and a Mobil 1 filter. I might have her change it twice a year now.

If she only drives 100 miles a month. I wouldn't waste your money on Mobil 1. You can probably get away with using Delo 400 or Delvac 1300. You can change the oil twice a year for the price of one oil change with a true synthetic.

[ January 15, 2004, 02:23 AM: Message edited by: Finklejag ]
I drive in a harsh environment on the year time scale. -30 winters to +35 summers. I am also consodering a once a year change (using Swepco 5W30). I want new oil after the cold winter in order to get all the moisture and other nastys out for the summer.
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