Mechanics Veto Extending Oil Changes

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Nov 7, 2004
MSP 'burbs, MN
Saw this story on AutoBlog, thought you guys would find it interesting. Here's the beginning of the article...

Mechanics Veto Extending Oil Changes
Bucking New Trend

Lexington, Ky. (July 2006) - The nation's top mechanics are rejecting the recommendation by some in the auto field that cars can go 5,000 miles or more before oil is changed.

The nation's top mechanics, National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified Master Automobile technicians, weighed in on this and other issues in a survey conducted by Valvoline, a leading maker of premium motor oil and car care brands. Other issues in the survey, fielded in April, include:
* Current state of the American auto industry
* Controversial recommendation and trend toward longer intervals between oil changes
* Costs to car owners of delayed maintenance

"Certified Master Automobile Technicians are the best of the best," said ASE President Ron Weiner. "They are on the front lines of taking care of today's vehicles and they have definite thoughts on how motorists can participate in making their cars and trucks run better and last longer."

Full article here:
I said before on this board that the Volvo Tech's at my Dealer wish Volvo would go back to 5k OCI's. The 7,500 mile OCI's are showing a lot of sludge build up in the newer engines. Of coarse most owners do not follow the manufactures recommended service intervals. It is nothing to see cars with 10-12K miles on their dino oil. I personally think the 7,500 mile intervals are fine if the owners were using a good synthetic. In most cases it is bulk dino going into the crank case.
Its a farly well-known fact that the NA workforce is aging, and that many people in the trades, because of problems with replacement, are older. I think you will find that the average age of a tradesperson such as a mechanic is over 40-years old, so these guys were trained when the 3k interval was necessary, so most of the people surveyed are going on old ideas.

I'm sure these mechancs have kept their training up on car systems etc., but have probably not done a lot of learning about developements in the oil industry, and about the advances in quality of motor oil. One thing that shows this is that whenever mechanics talk about oil changes, they always say they are necessary to prevent 'sludge buildup'. Except for well-documented exceptions, sludge has not been a problem in modern engines for probably more than 15 years, if not more.

I don't doubt these people have the best interests of car-drivers in mind, and ther advice isn't bad at all, just old-fashioned thinking that is overkill in this day and age.
"in a survey conducted by Valvoline." Not exactly unbiased by someone that likes to sell oil. I like the way Valvoline dino feels in motors but it does seem to wear out quicker than other brands. Maybe the only surveyed shops that they do bussiness with.
After Valvoline touted their 20W-50 and 5W-30 as meeting the VW 505.01 standard I decided to file them with the other companies that are more interested in their pocketbooks than with their chosen industry's reputation.

As for ASE certified Master Mechanics,, I have yet met one that impressed me greatly. If this is the best of the best then it helps to explain the relatively short service life of automobiles in the USA.
Let's also not forget that the 3k OCI does provide an economic benefit to the people making this recomendation.
Just another oil company promotion of the 3000 mile OCI for their own benefit. Somewhat surprising that they are attacking the 5000 mile interval, as this has proven to be OK for many years using almost any brand of dino. Heck, from the time M1 came out back in the 70's until the late 90's, I used a 1 year, usually 20,000 mile OCI with no adverse effects. My 1986 T-Bird, with the 3.8 liter V-6, was as quiet at 140,000 miles as a new one.

Now that I am old and retired, and putting relatively few miles on my car, I have gone back to dino, changed every 6 months at the dealer, using bulk dino 10W30, for $21.95, out in 30 minutes guaranteed or next one free. My present car, a Nissan Maxima bought new in 1999, just clicked over 50,000 miles, and a flashlight look about 6 inches down inside the engine at the oil filler hole shows bare metal, no sign of sludge at all. Goes to show that oil does not care whether it comes out of a big barrel or a 1 quart plastic container.
Hmmm... Trust the automakers (who keep their stockholders and boardroom mavens happy by selling NEW cars) promises or the people who earn their wages by caring for the fleet - new and formerly new. Decisions, decisions - I guess in the end ya' pays yer money an' makes yer choice...
For general public the 3k recommendation w/dino is great as many people never check an oil dipstick. The level only drops a bit in that time and is topped off when changed.

If you check your dipstick then no.

However my wife never has checked the oil in her cars using 3-5k as an interval. I found no oil on dipstick on her old 96 Civic a few times and it req'd 2qts to bring to level.
This is crazy. Low oil level is a justification for changing it instead of just topping off? I predict within the decade every car has an "add oil" light in on the dash instead of a dipstick like Mercedes and maybe others have now.
There are still many good reasons for keeping oil drains at 3000 miles, at least for the average consumer. Considering that most motorists do not check their oil level, nor their tire pressure, it's a good idea that these items would be checked on a more frequent basis when the vehicle is serviced. Of course, the underlying economic motive still applies.

Also, I'm still seeing engines with less varnish buildup if the oil had been changed @ 3K intervals. Of course, this applies only for vehicles used for short trips. The ones serviced every 5K do not have any sludge buildup, but have a bit more varnish buildup.
The mechanics that I know and trust mainly use Mobil 1 in their cars and change it whenever they get a chance.

And most of them will tell you that means about every 10-12k miles.

The ones that stand around and insist on 3k mile OCIs, tell me that synthetic provides nothing different, and even say that synthetics need changing at 3k, I just laugh at when I walk away.

Originally posted by BlueWorld:
Let's also not forget that the 3k OCI does provide an economic benefit to the people making this recomendation.

Yes. This is a lot like the fruit growers association telling you to drink more orange juice. It does you no harm and may even help you. But for sure it does *them* some good...

Originally posted by addyguy: just old-fashioned thinking that is overkill in this day and age.

I change my oil out at 4 months regardless of mileage, so then I guess I would fall into your catagory.
No Clyde. You fall into a sensible OCI with a bit of a conservative slant to it. You're just a couple of months shy of what would probably work well.

Most of the UOAs aren't really 4-6k ..they're really 3, 4, or 6 month OCIs. They just look wasteful as heck with the amount of miles that us (demographically/statistically) older guys typically put on. A few may be long commuters ..but we typically aren't soccer moms or errand hounds anymore. Most of our kids are driving their own cars (which we may take care of for them) ..but we no longer live in our cars.
No mention of hours on oil or type of driving? It a worthless article IMO. Oil may be in worse shape after 3K of all city driving than after 5K of mostly highway driving.
Trust the automakers, who depend on their cars' reputation for longevity to bring back repeat customers, or the people who earn their living by selling unnecessary frequent services?

Name me one auto manufacturer who would be happy to see their customers have to buy a new car because their engine wore out at the end of the warranty. They certainly wouldn't buy that car again.

I see that manufacturers are pretty careful obout their OCI recommendations: Ford, a few years back, reduced their OCI to 5000 miles, from 7500, and when they began recommending 5W20 oil, required that it pass a double length sequence test, that usually requires at least a synthetic blend to pass.

Originally posted by AndyH:
Lexington, Ky. (July 2006) - The nation's top mechanics are rejecting the recommendation by some in the auto field that cars can go 5,000 miles or more before oil is changed.

I'd like to see the collection of UOAs that they've derived this opinion from.

I trust automotive engineers more than mechanics on this issue.
WOW- Now here is a real "conflict of Interest" situation" I am not an oil change nut but, do keep my vehicles in excellrnt running order for 150,000 + miles. I would think a 4,000 OCI for dino and 8,000 or a sythetics as long as it meets the required viscosity & specs. If one wants to go longer get a UOA performed. JMO Ed
im an ASE certified technician. theres not much you have to do to become ASE certified. you have to have work experience and take a multiple choice test. i did it because it opens up a ton of doors.

my employer requires that i do a 3mo/3k mile on every oil change sticker. even if i use Mobil 1 synthetic. i had to explain the metric system to a manager when we had a car from Canada come in and i wrote the label for 5k Km.

theres a lot of old timers who just wont give up what they were taught as youngsters. and they sure hate having a 22yo BITOGer with an automotive tech degree and 6 ASE certs telling them them thatthings have changed in the automotive world.

even when i got back to my automotive tech school, they are still spending a month of the engine performance class teaching the students how GM feedback carbs work.
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