Does time matter when the oil is still clean?

Messages
74
Location
Western Michigan
Vehicle is a 97 S10 2.2L 4 cyclinder with 40000 miles on it. My wife inherited it when her dad died 2 years ago. It sits at my mother in laws and I pick it up about once a month and drive it.I changed the oil last August and now it only has 900 miles on the oil and it is still really clean.I would think that by the oil still looking clean that there is still life left in it, so does time matter in this scenario?
 
Messages
15,867
Location
NE,Ohio
I'm not an expert but I would have to say no. The oil from simply sitting in the engine will deplete its additives and eventually turn acidic (not good). Among other things. Which is why the quick lube places say 3000/3month... If you arent driving it much I still would change it every 6 monthes.. or use a more robust oil meant for extended drains. Rand
 
Messages
36,465
Location
ME
depends on how you drive it. If you get 30 minutes of driving (idling) in (real good warmup) each time, it'll be fine. Resting won't build up acid if the oil is free of water.
 
Messages
2,533
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
[Cool] Because of the potential for condensation and acid buildup, I'd say change it every 6 months regardless unless you put in a full synthetic. Do that and once a year should be okay.
 
Messages
917
Location
Singapore
Yes, you still have to change it even if it looks clean. I'd be willing to say that if you did a UOA after 6 months, your wear metals will show high.
 
Messages
277
Location
Greencastle Pa.
I wouldn't be afraid to do a yearly change,but would be inclined to use a deisel type oil for added corrosion protection and or The Brew with Lube Control with #131 Neutra in the fuel. Spector had good luck with The Brew in a 12 Month change with 2103 mi. on the oil. The Brew worked again But like previously stated make sure the oil is fully warmed up when you do run it to get rid of fuel and condensation.
 
Messages
3,705
Location
Chattanooga, TN
I have one car I drove 2100 last year and most recent year was 2200 miles. Annual oil change but try, as you, to heat it up at least 10 miles when started. Oil analysis has been fine with the 12 month intervals using Amsoil 10W30. I feel you can easily go a year, with low mileage it will outlive you anyway so why care about high wear if that were the case. But, after one year have it analyzed and see what it looks like. I have a friend who has your scenario with a old truck, goes a year with dino, runs fine, who cares if it is getting higher wear. May not be worth the effort and cost to find out depends on what floats your boat for a comfort level.
 

Ron

Messages
113
Location
Santa Fe,N.M.
What about the short-short haul,like a few blocks with start/stop,& just a few thousand miles/year.We seldom get the 10+mile run to burn off .I'm using Pennzoil 5w-20 in a 03 Focus in hot city driving.To combat the acid/condensation problem,I was going to drain the pan every 4/months,and change the filter one time per year.Does this sound OK?Total mile longevity is not the issue,just looking to not overdo$ the right thing.
 

TC

Messages
1,644
Location
California
As folks have mentioned, so long as there's ambient temperature changes and there's humidity in the air, condensation in the oil will occur, even with a car sitting on blocks. I guess I adhere to the old rule of an oil change AT LEAST once a year in less-driven cars, and conversely, possibly going a full year before changing in an infrequently driven car. Some might legitimately say change it twice a year for such a ride, but so long as you occasionally drive a distance, evaporating the condensation, I wouldn't have trouble going a year with ANY oil. As always, "When in doubt...read the owner's manual." [ March 17, 2004, 06:14 PM: Message edited by: TC ]
 
Messages
903
Location
CA
quote:
Originally posted by TC: As always, "When in doubt...read the owner's manual."
That's funny. [Big Grin] As soon as an owner's manual recommends doing oil analysis to determine how often and which grade of oil to use, and assume we aren't dumb-$hits, then maybe, and just maybe, will I follow their recommendations.
 

TC

Messages
1,644
Location
California
Since the drivetrain engineers at the respective auto firms know more about their particular engines than anyone on these boards, including what oil certs, viscosities, and change intervals to use, I have no problem deferring to them. It amazes me how many folks think they're more knowledgable about a given engine than the guys who designed it, refined it, drove prototypes a million miles, intentionally abused 'em until forced failures of all kinds, then responded to dealer input of service deficiencies to improve and/or fix drivetrain issues which materialized. Nope! If anything, those engineers are a bunch of idiots. Buy a new car and do yourself a favor right off -- immediately throw the manual into the trash...then log onto BITOG! P.S. Since they're not free, what's the fixation with oil analyses? While older cars might show helpful stuff like previously-unknown antifreeze seepage and the like, UOAs on newer cars in these boards rarely mention deficiencies of any significance. If we follow the proper oil certs, viscosities, and service, WE'RE APPLYING THE KNOWLEDGE GAINED WHEN THE ENGINEERS DID THEIR OWN UOA'S ON THOSE PROTOTYPE ENGINES. No great need to duplicate their UOA work on a newer vehicle, unless doing so gives ya a warm & fuzzy feeling.
 
Messages
5,785
Location
Dixie
FWIW, drain intervals for domestic engines are based on the use of average quality, or even poor quality, API "SL" rated lubes. Basically they figure you'll use the cheapest, 89 cents/qt off brand oil you can find and forget to change it on time. So the recommended change intervals for GM, Ford and DC engines tend to be very conservative. For example, if you were doing mainly highway driving, you could use 10,000 mile change intervals in the 3.8L, GM V-6 w/ any brand name conventional oil, and it would still last for 200k miles. The small displacement, very high performance, Japanese and European engines are another story.... If you have a specific drain interval based on the use of an ACEA A3/B4 quality oil, I would not attempt to use a cheap SL rated dino oil and expect to get trouble free life out of it. If you have a Honda V-Tec that generates 240 Hp out of a very compact 2.0L engine, I'd only run a synthetic regardless of what those "clever" [Wink] engineers say.
 
Messages
5,112
Location
Airlie Beach Australia
Hi TC, FWIW you are a person with very similar viewpoints to mine! And having worked in Engineering roles with some well know Auto companies I can confirm your comments! And "writing the cheques" in your own Trucking Transport business helps too!!! Regards [Cheers!]
 
Messages
3,845
TC , if you read BITOG and are expecting every poster to have the background and knowledge , not to mention time, to give out free oil analysis interpretations that are meaningful and cost effective, well thats just silly. Just because you can't figure out what a oil analysis result means doesn't mean it can't be done and save the owner cash. Properly interpreted oil analysis that my customers receive is helpful to the point of being a predictive, and proactive maintenance tool. Saving fuel costs, finding problems before they become major, and many times allowing warranty work to be performed out of warranty period. Automotive Powerplant and drivetrain engineers generally know SQUAT about oil analysis and work first for the beancounters,secondly corp. lawyers, then the customer. We have a few that post an lurk here and I think they would begrudgingly agree. Their manuals that you hold up as gospel are designed to be used with the lowest common denominator maintainer or driver, poor quality "stars burst" lubes, then used too long. You "be" missing the point and surprisingly Doug is too. [ March 17, 2004, 08:57 PM: Message edited by: Terry ]
 

KW

Messages
1,686
Location
Central Arkansas
quote:
Originally posted by TC: Since the drivetrain engineers at the respective auto firms know more about their particular engines than anyone on these boards, including what oil certs, viscosities, and change intervals to use, I have no problem deferring to them. It amazes me how many folks think they're more knowledgable about a given engine than the guys who designed it, refined it, drove prototypes a million miles, intentionally abused 'em until forced failures of all kinds, then responded to dealer input of service deficiencies to improve and/or fix drivetrain issues which materialized. Nope! If anything, those engineers are a bunch of idiots. Buy a new car and do yourself a favor right off -- immediately throw the manual into the trash...then log onto BITOG! P.S. Since they're not free, what's the fixation with oil analyses? While older cars might show helpful stuff like previously-unknown antifreeze seepage and the like, UOAs on newer cars in these boards rarely mention deficiencies of any significance. If we follow the proper oil certs, viscosities, and service, WE'RE APPLYING THE KNOWLEDGE GAINED WHEN THE ENGINEERS DID THEIR OWN UOA'S ON THOSE PROTOTYPE ENGINES. No great need to duplicate their UOA work on a newer vehicle, unless doing so gives ya a warm & fuzzy feeling.
Engineers quote facts, things are invented in the garden shed. Sort of like a tech and a mechanic. [Wink]
 
Messages
12,385
Location
Northern CA
quote:
Originally posted by TC: [QB] Since the drivetrain engineers at the respective auto firms know more about their particular engines than anyone on these boards, including what oil certs, viscosities, and change intervals to use, I have no problem deferring to them. QB]
You seem to be making a some assumptions: 1. The engineers objectives and requirements are the same as yours and every individual car owner, simultaneously. (That would be difficult to do [Smile] ) 2. The engineers were allowed to put best information that the engineers had for engine longevity into the manuals. 3. That what goes in the manual is actually what the engineers who see their cars as more than a transportation appliance do for maintainance on their own cars. All three are incorrect assumptions a good share of the time. It would be a reasonable thing to defer to them if you actually knew what they thought was best for your application, I doubt that you do know that.
 
Messages
3,593
Location
Outside smalltown, IL
I've been wondering about the time vs. mileage thing for a while now. I have a car that's got oil in it that's close to 2 years old but it only has about 2500 miles on the interval. I'll be sure and do a UOA when I change it shortly, and I'll post the results so we can discuss it...
 
Messages
5,112
Location
Airlie Beach Australia
Hi Terry, I am most rather astounded at your comments and there is no "missing the point" by me I can assure you!!! I have worked with Auto Development Engineers in Europe and in and from the USA at the highest of levels I spent my initial working years in this area many many years ago. My last being with Daimler Benz in the early 1980's. And your comments about this area truely astound me I have found most Engineers at the Development level to be especially knowledgeable about the plethora of items under their ambit of responsibility. The Powertain Engineers at the Development level I have worked with know an awful lot about using lubricant analysis and oil construction. It is an integral tool in their chest. Within some Auto Companies they indeed have resident Oil Company Engineers who work very closely and support them in the product development field I do agree that the further you go down the "food chain" the less "detailed" knowledge and interest there is - and the less knowledgeable the Engineers become too Perhaps we have moved in different circles! As to "the Manual" being put together for the lowest common de-nominator. Well yes they always will be and in the end they are the purchaser who no doubt pays a part of your wages - and probably mine too! No cars = no business for many people When confronted with warranty and in-use issues on a gigantic scale the rules must be written for the lowest common de-nominator - always (well except for Video Recoders perhaps)! As for UOA's well many of the single use run oils and their analysis here are not of great value. They are of great interest for many me included. But as you know it is only by the careful trending on individual engines and within an engine family in a "global" sense does the UOA really become a truely meaningful Many people use the UOAs on here as a recreation thing - and some do it with a serious purpose And this Forum is excellent in this regard and so a most of the contributors People like me ONLY use UOAs for a cost/benefit purpose. To establish working OCI criteria for very expensive equipment and to randomally monitor the individual or group of engine's health. Measured of course against known trends that were set via a extensisve UOA history as mentioned earlier For most people the car's Manual is a very good and reliable guide. For most it is the only written reference they will EVER use. And many others will probably never even open the cover. You must also remember that many persons using this Forum have very little mechanical knowledge at all Terry, my first UOAs were done in the early 1960's via an Oil company I worked for. I have been in this field ever since leaving College. UOA's for me are an integral way of life in a professional sense as I write the cheques Your UOA anaysis is valuable for many on here and I am sure your comments are very well respected. They certainly are by me! Professionally you have a "niche" market that is long overdue and payment for service should be EXPECTED at an economically viable rate. Ideally, it could be especially beneficial for people in that "lowest common denominator" field. However, the problem is they don't want to know - it is only those with an interest in this field that really care! I notice too that you have not commented on my posts in the diesel UOA field here. If I was you I too would be circumspect to proffer free advice to people who don't really get the point I do! Regards Doug
 
Top