Case for the 3000 Mile Oil Change?

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May 24, 2005
Helena, AL
Like most everyone else on this site, we all know that oils are good well beyond 3000 miles. But let me make this point and tell me where I'm miskaken. In engine wear tests (as read in How to choose a motor oil for your car and truck)most wear is caused by particles at sizes of 10-15 microns and below. Many oil filters are not good and capturing particles in the very small range. (We are assuming most people are not using a bypass oil filter) So if many filters are not capturing particles extremely small in sizes that are causing most of the wear, then the only way to get rid of these is change the oil, right? With everyone pushing for longer OCI's arn'these wear particles just getting more and more causing more and more wear, even though the oil may be good. Where am I wrong on this? Naturally UOA can tell you if you are getting abnormal wear, but I'm talking about getting the least wear possible within reason.
I agree 100%. And on top of that, when you do extended OCI's you don't get to do all the "other things" that go into an oil change. Such as lubing the chassis and looking for any and all leaks BEFORE they become a major issue. Chevron Supreme 5W-30 with a Purolator Premium Plus every 3,000-4,000 miles, and a lubed & inspected chassis/suspension is the only way I go. Darryl [ May 28, 2005, 01:50 PM: Message edited by: Darryl ]
I basically think over the long haul there is not much of a statistically significant and economic difference. Another factor: what is the time/mileage frames? Are we speaking 100,000,150,000, 200,000 on up... etc.? So let me give the cure first then discussion 1. preoilers 2. bypass oil filters in conjunction with normal flow oil filters 3. between 150-500 dollars after market costs. 4. With just the bypass oil system 2x longer should be a can do easy? 5 with a preoiler you should easily do 60% longer than even that. Preoilers are designed to pre lubricate the engine so there is not a metal to metal contact on start up or "cold" start. Start up wear due to lack of lubrication is proported to be 60-70% of ALL wear. So as you can see if you can eliminate the majority of start up wear say 80% then structurally you are left with GREATLY reduced waste products and the subsequent wear due to much less waste products in suspension. #'s 1 and 2, do not stop the production of waste products per se and specifically wear metals from occuring. So using a Honda Civic with 10,000 mile (conventional oil) intervals, with preoiler (2x) and bypass oil filter (60%) combination that is 10,000 plus 10,000 x.60%= 32,000 mile OCI's. It would be interesting to see UOA's confirming. Another interesting gig would be switching to a Mobil One 0/5w20 synthetic. So the indications I get is 20,000 OCI's might be conservative. So now we are adding 10k to 32k or 42,000 mile OCI's. I currently run 15,000 mile OCI's with Mobil One 5w30 and have on multiple vehicles for app 694,000 miles. I am currently working on a 25,000 mile OCI with Delvac One 5w40 in a TDI or turbo diesel application, which as folks might know is even HARDER on oil. I have neither pre oiler or bypass oil filter on this one. [ May 28, 2005, 02:00 PM: Message edited by: ruking77 ]
Proper air filtration is a key factor to consider. Silica and abrasives are the enemy and get sucked in through inefficient and improperly fitting air filters. I think that is more important than shortening oci's. I prefer to get the best conventional air filter I can get and make sure it fits the air box tightly and that there are no leaks. Most of the particles are getting in that way. Keep 'em out in the first place and you won't have to worry as much about the oil filter or the oil's ability to hold them in suspension. Air Filtration is often over-looked.
I agree with both your points. He did not say is the what the wear particles were just the size. What are the specs on the sizes of particles that air filters miss. However, you both see the compounding effect that i'm talking about if you are not able to keep these 15 micron and below particles in check.
And as soon as you start the motor with new oil the small wear particles start building up again. So what then, 2,000 mile oil changes, 1,000 mile oil changes, how about daily oil changes. An auto mechanic buddy of mine bought an 87 VW Golf new and changed the oil every 2,000 miles using Castrol GTX 10w-40. He had to rebuild the motor at 140,000 miles. I bought an 87 Nissan Sentra new and put 283,000 miles on it using what ever 10w-30 was on sale with 4,000 mile oci with no engine rebuild. Am I saying longer oci means longer engine life? Who knows, but we all know plenty of people who rarely if ever change their oil and they are still driving. Hardly any vehicles have grease fittings any more so don't use that as an excuse for changing oil too often. And then there is the environmental issue of disposing used oil and even more important, the more oil we use the more money we are putting into the pockets of those who want to destroy us. Sorry for getting political.
I only have one good reason for changing the oil every 3,000 miles: It helps the economy! Michael
Frank and Micheal, I understand your points. However keeping your car as long as possible helps my personal economy, as cars are probably the biggest costs that we can control. I also understand about the waste factor of used oil, but it can be recycled. Wouldn't you both agree that the bigger environmental treat is how fuel efficient the vechicle is. Oil which is processed into fuel is gone forever, unlike used motor oil. I don't know how many quarts of unprocessed fuel oil it would save if people bought hybrids are at least the most fuel efficient vechicle they wanted and then tried to keep them as long as they were safe and reliable, but I'm sure it would be substantially more than the extra quarts you are recycling. Believe me, I want us off this imported oil as bad as you do, but where is the real comsumption issue?
Think about the number of vehicles on the road and how many people have long commutes to and from work and how quickly 3,000 miles accumulates and that should give you an idea of how much motor oil (and fuel) is being used. The obvious solution is to eliminate long commutes and less fuel efficent vehicles. Both of these solutions seem highly improbable. Eventually hybrids or alternate fuel vehicles will become more common but I don't see that for maybe another 10 years or so. We may not be able to control the amount of fuel used but if everyone went to a 5,000 mile oci instead of 3,000 mile oci, well you can see the amount of oil saved and I don't think it will lessen the life of your vehicles. From my personal experience, it did not.
There is an SAE paper on this subject, but no free link to it. Too frequent oci's may actually accelerate engine wear according to SAE. There may be a breaking in affect with new engine oil. Both oil and air filters get more efficient with age up to the point they must be replaced.
I agree with your point. However here is the math for a 250,000 mile vehicle oil cahnges at 3000 mile internal=about 83 oil changes at 5000 mile interval= 50 33 oil changes saved at 5 quarts = 165 quarts saved per person over a 250,000 mile span or car gets 20 mpg on average 250,000= 12,500 gallons of gas car gets 35 mpg on average 250,000= 7,143 gallons of gas economics=savings os gas 5357 gallons of gas saved at average $2.00 per gallon= $10,714 saved in gas over 250,000 miles. 165 quarts of oil saved at 1.50 per quart= $247.50 Bigger savings in gas by far, but we need to do both. Also when comparing the 165 quarts of oil saved, I seriously doubt that 165 Qt (41gallons) of oil saved would amount to 5357 gallons of gas being saved by not having to refine all this oil. Lets not forget, used motor oil can be recycled, oil refined into gas and burned can't.
Haley10, I understand how an air filter can become more efficient, but motor oil? As far as the motor oil, I would imagine the upward trend on efficiency of motor oil is short, except with a bypass filter or preoiler to stop the wear.
Most oil major brand oil filter have been bubble point tested for pore size and the value is about 5u. So I disagree that the modern oil filter does not filter the damaging stuff. Gas stations (Texico for one) change their gasoline filters every X 1000s of gallons and I saw one being changed and it was marked 5u. My friends rutinely run their Honda and Subarus to 250,000+ miles using a 7,500 and 10,000 mile oil change using Mobil 1 and a PureOne or OEM oil filter. I did a UOA on my 2000 Subaru(88,000 miles) at 5,000 mile change interval and Blackstone said I sould try 7,500 miles the next oil change. Again using Mobil 1 & a PureOne oil filter. I think before we jump to a faulty conclusion lets do some UOAs and get some real data to rely on. Ed
Gulledge, do I understand you to say that going beyond a 3000 mile oci reduces your mpg from 35 to 20? If so you have some other issue with your car or you are using some crap oil. I have driven over 600,000 miles commuting since 1987 with oci longer than 3000 miles and am trying to extend to 7500 mile oci using synthetic now and have never had any mpg problems. Imagine the oil savings if everyone went to 7500 mile oci.
Originally posted by gulledge: Haley10, I understand how an air filter can become more efficient, but motor oil? As far as the motor oil, I would imagine the upward trend on efficiency of motor oil is short, except with a bypass filter or preoiler to stop the wear.
Maybe some of the additive chemistry and anti-wear agents get activated by heat and break-in over time and it take a certain amount of time and heat to deposit on surfaces.
I not saying that anything about milage drop from oil change intervals. You just made a point about economics of the wasted oil. I made the point that the true waste in oil comes from people driving low mpg vechicles. Sorry about the mixup.
3000 mile OCI might be more harmful to oxygen sensors and other gas path instrumentation. The most volatile components of motor oil are evaporated/burned off in the first few thousand miles of operation. This stuff ends up going through the PCV, through the exhaust, through the cat, and through the O2 sensors. The less frequently you have that initial oil burn-off, the fewer contaminants make it into those components.
Ok sorry Jim. Getting people into 35 mpg vehicles is probably mission impossible. All the auto makers ads are geared toward getting people into big suvs so they can have a large profit margin and you can bet the oil companies want these fuel guzzlers to sell also. Plus most of the people I know that drive these big vehicles have the stupidest reasons for doing so. So my point is it is up to us all so save oil and longer oci is one easy way to help even though there are other more prudent ways of doing it.
HI GANG, I was looking in the owners manual of my 1976 Buick Electra 455V8 and happened on the oil service section. Buick recommended 6mos/7500 mile OCI light duty service and a 3mos/3000 mile service for heavy duty service, which is the driving that most of us do. Use an SE spec oil only. This was 1976, remember. The oil grade specs were the most interesting to me, they said the following; 5w20, 5w30, 20w20, 10w30, were recommended ONLY up to 60F! Beyond that 10w40, 20w40, 20w50, above 60F! This engine likes to use oil and I am using Mobil Delvac Super 1300 15w40, to reduce oil use and an MMO treatment to free up the ring pack as this engine has seen a lot of 10w40 through the years and I'm sure that the rings and guides can use the help. The MMO seems to have cleaned up the internals and I have't had to add any oil in about 1000 miles, with about 1/3 showing on the add mark, on the dipstick. This was my Mother's car from new and I have taken care of it, since new, This is an improvement in oil use as Kendall 10w40 Superb, was used for most of the OCI's. I tried staying with the 3000 mile, recommendation, but with the low miles per year, I did 6 month intervals on OCI's. I may try Mobil Delvac 1 5w40, or the High Mileage Oils, later if a lighter grade can be used, like 10w30 or even 5w30. But, I think the Mobil Delvac Superb 1300, will do the job and I'll stay with it. As far as oil filters, I used AC, with a Fram, once in a while when I was out of AC's. AC is on it now. I forgot that the conversation has evolved into savings of resources, which is good. I would like to add to the input this observation; The costs in energy and raw materials and include man hours to dispose, recycle and create a new automobile or other vehicles, (trucks, SUV's, etc). Versus the benefits and costs of a 3mon/3000 mile OCI, where owners are seeing 300000 or 500000 miles on their vehicle, maybe with a lower MPG average, than the newer cars. That car will have the life of 2 or 3 other cars combined, so where are the real savings? Now the question, where are the TRUE savings made? The shorter OCI's or the longer 10000, 15000, or 25000 mile OCI's, for Passenger Cars? Which will last LONGER? I am not talking about big over the road trucks, semi's or commercial vehicles where longer OCI's are designed into the vehicles, just our everyday cars. What is your thinking on this? [ May 28, 2005, 04:34 PM: Message edited by: pastmaster ]
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