Nessesary to change oil when not driven much?

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Dec 1, 2002
Hello. My Girlfriends car isnt driven very much, maybe a few hundred miles a month if that. Her father insists that she still change her oil every 3 months. I know there is no harm in doing that, but is it really called for? When I check the oil, it is still a light color. What oil change interval would you reccomend for someone that puts on low miles every month. She drives a 1998 Toyota Camry, and uses regular 10W30 oil. Majority of those miles are city miles. Hope that is enough info. Thank you very much in advance.
Assuming the car continues to be driven a very low number of miles, most wear that you see will be age related instead of mileage related. For example, the tires may dry rot before wearing out, or the car itself may rust before the engine or transmission gives out. I would go with a yearly oil change (at the same time doing any other maintenance that is called for).
It may be able to go more than 3 months, but you don't know how long, and the oil just won't do as well at 3,000 miles. You could for example just change it at 2,000 retgardless of how many months, and consider changing it at 3,000 as an extended drain interval for these driving conditions.
My Dad has a similar situation with his car, he only uses it to take my Mom to the grocery store and Walmart each week. At my suggestion he has the oil and filter changed once a year using Castrol GTX 10w30 and a Motorcraft filter.
In a case like this, first of all you should make sure to take this car out on a longer highway run at least once a week if possible, to burn off the moisture in the oil. It's hard to say for sure when her oil should be changed without seeing a used oil analysis. With such short trips she may have a lot of fuel in the oil, but then again she might not. If her engine warms up fast, it's less likely to contaminate the oil with fuel. In a case like this I think she might be better off running a synthetic oil (or a blend like Schaeffer Supreme) and changing it every 6 months.
I run my car under the same conditions as your girlfriend and i use a 10w40 blend and change it every 5 to 6 months, much as Patman suggests.
Here's my situation. During weekdays our 2 cars will run about an average of 150 miles each for the week - possibly less. On weekends it depends. We either drive around and use up 200 to 300 miles depending on where we go. Should I still go the 3k mile oil change route or can I go to synthetic and maybe go longer? Thanks for your input. [Smile]
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