Oil for a high milage Dodge Caravan 3.3l

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Nov 22, 2014
Hello all. Just bought a Dodge caravan with 126k miles. I don't usually buy used cars so this is different for me. This is a one owner and serviced only at the original dealer. They have changed oil faithfully at 6k miles with dealer oil. I'm old school and prefer 3k changes. Ok, the rundown, Manual calls for 3k-6k changes, 5w30 oil. I live in Maine so the weather is cold winters and startups every day Cold! We bought this for grocery runs, but find it is much more comfortable so would like to use for our sports trips for the kids that include monthly trips 4-5 hours on the highway. The van has no known problems. Also, filter. I've read on this site that high mileage oil may not be the way to go. I think that's all the info I can think of. Thanks.
I would start out using your favorite 5W30 oil & oil filter for now. Then see if the engine burns/leaks any oil. 126K miles is decent for any vehicle and the engine may not need a High Mileage(HM) oil though the HM oils a very good for any engine and have certain additives for helping control burning/leaking.

If you don't have a favorite brand oil and filter then may I suggest to use any name brand on sale for now til you see how this engine is reacting to your driving style and such. Nothing bad will happen!
Agree with responses above but don't believe a HM oil would be a problem at all.

With regard to filter, if you're sticking to the 3k - 6k OCI, anything but entry level Fram or Purolator would handle it. Maybe lean toward the Mopar filters...?

Personally, I would consider Swapping out the transmission and brake fluids but get a feel for the car first and maybe wait until Spring
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I sure wouldn't say 126 thousand is high mileage, my last 2 Dodge Caravans were in the 2 to 3 thousands miles. That's High mileage.

Just use a quality oil per the specs they call for.
By the way, what year in the minivan? Some years actually suggested 5W20 motor oil which are very robust today and worthy of consideration for winter use. If there is no owners manual(OM) then any 5W30 will do the trick.

As 50(years old) is the new 30 then, 6000 mile oil change intervals((OCI's) is the new 3000 mile OCI!

Staying strictly on a 3K OCI is saying that engine technology and oil abilities haven't changed over the 30-40 years. Any oil, in my honest opinion(IMHO) will easily go 5K-6K mile OCI in any decent running engine.
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Sorry ,I missed that . It's a 2005 and manual does say 5w30 is preferred. Thanks
"my last 2 Dodge Caravans were in the 2 to 3 thousands"

I assume that you meant, 200K-300K miles!

Been there!......................^^^

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use high mileage oil, those engines are prone to leak
hm oil prevents problems before they start
i agree always change every 3,000
My Buick is 9 years old, v6, 101k miles. High mileage to me is around 200k plus, but then again I was an expediter driving 2000 miles a week. Now days I just use 5w30 yellow bottle oil-Pennzoil dino oil and it works great.

When you get to 200k, Then your high mileage..imho...
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It wouldn't hurt to use high mileage oil, you don't know what condition the seals are in (or at least I'm lead to believe you don't). Either way it wouldn't hurt to use plan oil.

Have yet to hear of a engine failing due to seals being in to good of condition.

Might not do anything but I would recommend you use a high mileage for at least one OCI before you go to synthetic (if you ever plan too). I feel it helps with potential oil loss and gives the synthetic oil enough time to bond with the seals on its own terms.

No evidence or proof that this would be the case just thought I would mention it.

Have a good morning!
I've owned 3 Dodge Caravan's with 3.3 engines. All three leaked oil. Two only a little and one very badly after using synthetic oil. For this reason, I would not consider synthetic oil for this vehicle. You might be able to use a Wix 51515 oil filter which is larger than stock, but check there is enough room first.

The 3.3 engine is excellent and I've never had to take one apart. The transmission is a little weak so I would change the fluid and drive the van conservatively. The year van you have is known for electrical problems. Keep an eye on the power sliding doors if you have them. Keep the door tracks/rollers clean. You have a low mileage van.
You could easily do 5k OCIs with your van on dino. Perhaps more with a synthetic blend. I understand its hard getting passed the 3k habit, but after spending more time here you'll see it is the norm for several folks. Just allow your engine to get to full operating temperature for about 20 mins. once a week to burn off excess moisture in the oil.

After reading the comments, I'd use a HM oil only because it seems the engine is prone to leaking. Either way, your engine wont know the difference though. (You might just be adding more oil frequently with a plain oil.) Just check your level frequently so you have an idea on oil usage.
Previous Honda had 224k miles, current has 180k miles. Only ever used 5W30 or 5W20 dino oils, never HM. OCI between 4-6k.

Neither burn nor leak oil.
Since you bought a well maintained by the dealer van and it has no problems, why would you consider changing anything? Seems to be working. Stick to the 5w30 and probably a Mopar filter that fits the engine and keep going.

Like other folks have said, check the maint records for other fluid changes, timing belt change, etc.

Don't fix what aint broken. If its been working fine for 10 years, keep doing the same thing for the engine.
Youmight want to check this out on this site
8) Changing oil frequently does not reduce wear in healthy engines with healthy oil

What is clear is this; you can change your oil early, but it will not reduce your wear rate. You can put off your OCI for a long time (at least to 12k miles) and it still will not really affect your wear rate.

there is indication that wear is elevated after each OCI because of chemical reactions of fresh additive packages. This claim is supported via an SAE study done by Ford and Conoco (ref #1) that surmised this very phenomenon, and additionally refers to a former study of the same conclusion predating it.

I will make this easy, use PYB HM 5W30 (has a great add pack)with a good oil filter. Do a 3K OCI and then do 5K OCI's afterwards... PYB HM is a really good oil and will perform well in your van.
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Thanks timbuctoo. I did read the article and found it very interesting and really informative. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks. May have to rethink my old school oil change ideas. We have a 2012 civic and that has really long oil change intervals. can't argue with Honda!
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