Engine Hour Meter & Oil/Filter Changes

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Sep 9, 2003
Portage WI
Instead of basing oil and/or filter changes on mileage, why not base them on actual engine usage? Example: averaging 20 mph (stop & go traffic, extreme use), you would service the vehicle after 150 hrs. If the vehicle's primary use was travelling long distances, 200 hrs. Searching the Internet, you can purchase a engine hour meter for less than $50 (and a few less than $30). Ð
I think you can easily get an hour meter for about $25 from JCwhitney or Northern Tool. I wonder if you really would have to use different total hours for city vs highway. At highway speeds you will put more miles on per hour, so it seems it would inherently compensate to change the oil more frequently (milewise) at slower operating speeds associated with severe service. This does not pickup the trailer towing freeway travel, but changing oil on fuel usage would pick up all the variations the hour meter picks up as well as freeway trailer towing.
Originally posted by TallPaul: but changing oil on fuel usage would pick up all the variations the hour meter picks up as well as freeway trailer towing.
That is an interesting observation. Hmmm, so how do you calculate the amount of fuel? For example, I go about 4 months or 9K miles on my Geo Prizm now based on a couple of UOA's I did last year showing the oil was fine after about 120 days and about 8300 miles. Of course, that's just a commuter car, so no trailer towing, but I do experience urban interstates, so it could be 80MPH until we hit a "traffic event." The changes every 17 or 18 weeks gets me under the car in the middle of the following months: February June October I drove 26500 miles in that car during the past 12 months and average 31.4MPG (I have a heavy foot) so that's a hair over 280 gallons of fuel I'm just thinking "out loud" here wondering how you might determine what the change interval might be based on fuel consumed???? TB
I've often wondered the same thing (the fuel consumtion part). In the past year or so, I've switched the cars I'm responsible for from a mileage based air and fuel filter service schedule to a 'fuel consumed' air and fuel filter service schedule. What prompted this is the following: consider these cars '97 Impreza, driven almost exclusively on the freeway, 85 miles/day; '99 Legacy, driven almost exclusively less than 2 miles at a time; '97 Legacy, mixed short trips, 5-10 miles each but only once a week or so; '02 Outback, mixed short trips, driven many times daily, with occassional freeway usage > 1/week, '02 Outback (yes, another one) driven < 2 miles to and from work daily, 30 mile round trip to school twice a week. Now these vehicles have 2 similar and one very different engine. All get very diffent fuel mileage. But ALL USE THE SAME AIR AND FUEL FILTERS. I can't believe these filters could have gone through the same 'work' after the same mileage in these different vehicles under very different circumstances. I've settled on 900-1000 gallons of gas per air filter and 1900-2000 gallons of gas per fuel filter. It just seems to make more sense. Dave
Have been using a hour meter for changing oil for over fifteen years now. The last one(96Geo Metro) has over 240thou miles on it and still not using oil. Changed it every 200 hours and since I average about 42mph oil changes (OBERG oil filter cleaned every change) were done at 8200/8400 miles using re-refined oil the first 100thou miles than new dino the rest of the time. Today it's Mobil1 (98 Suzuki Swift with a 2001 Swift waiting in the wings)every 250hours or about 10,000thou between changes(filters every 5000thou/they could probaly be changed at 10also but have a big stock pile so I change them sooner). I beleive the hour meter is so much more accuate than counting miles-stop and go it's counting no matter wheather your moving or not, freeway miles-some of the easier miles put on cars and you travel so many more miles counting time with it all averaging out in relation to the type of driving you do overall and for me thats 42mph.
And as far as the fuel usage way of changing oil, I average 42mph and 42mpg so the oil is being changed ever 250 hours and 250 gallons of gas so for me the hour meter does double duty as a hour/gallon meter. What a deal!
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