Secret to Long Engine Life

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Nov 16, 2002
Keep the engine clean. Amazing huh? If you look at the thread with people that had 200k + miles on there cars using dino, they changed the oil at reasonable intervals. Reasonable being 3-5k with dino, up to 15k synthetic.

I wouldn't even consider or worry about taking an oil out past 15k miles. Why? Oil is cheap. Leave 20k + mile drains for fleets. Too much time is spent on here comparing miniscule differences in wear among oils when dirt and carbon build up will bog down your engine much faster then wear will...

A good synthetic oil changed at levels up to 10k miles and or using Tooslicks great interval calculator should ensure you that Auto-Rx isn't ever needed. UOA's best use, IMO, is the state or condition of the oil and it's ability to pick up on things like anti-freeze etc. Thoughts..agree, disagree? I'm open for debate.
I'm sure now that I've revealed this amazing secret, you will all sleep better. I mean for the past 2yrs I've been having nightmares about Mobil 1 showing 6ppm of Pb vs 5ppm with Amsoil. How can I reduce this so my engine won't wear out?

[ March 24, 2004, 08:11 PM: Message edited by: buster ]
I agree with regular changes out to 10K with synthetic to achieve long engine life, plus one must keep their foot out it and drive reasonable over the long haul, keep towing to a minimum, I used to work in a garage, have seen tear downs on engines with 3K dino changes but lots of towing, copper was showing thru the bearing material on the bearings under 100K. I am changing my synthetic out at 6K on both rigs, 88 toyota 4X4 2.4 and 2002 CRV 2.4, just to be on the safe side and yet get my moneys worth out of the pricy synthetic. I have been using the M1 0W-40 in the Toy but am changing that to the new M1 SUV 5W-40 as soon as it hits the shelves around here. Using the 0W-20 in the CRV.
Buster, jetfishn, I couldn't agree with you more.

Now I just gotta figure out how to keep my foot out of it. Is there some magical age where you stop being in a hurry to get everywhere? Or is this just the result of working in corporate America too long?
Secret #1 (if you drive a manual tranny) Don't downshift into the red zone.

Secret #2 (All cars) Don't make very short trips, or move your car (engine running, across driveway for instance) without running it on the road if you are going to put it away (for instance, after washing it go get some gas instead of pulling it right into the garage for the night.) Idling isn't enough!

The rest is maintenance and waiting until the engine is warmed up before driving hard... common sense stuff that isn't a secret.

[ March 24, 2004, 08:37 PM: Message edited by: S2000driver ]
I have been toying with the idea of going with 15,000km intervals in my Firebird instead of my current 10,000km plan, but the more I think about it, the more I think that I'm better off just sticking with the 10,000km intervals. My engine would probably stay cleaner with the 10,000km intervals as opposed to the 15,000km ones, especially since my GC thickened up from 12.2 to 12.9 during that time, so that thickening probably came from the oxidation, so if I just push it longer eventually I could end up with a dirty engine.

We'd all like to be able to say we go long distances between oil changes, but I think if you can keep yourself to a reasonable amount of oil changes per year, in my case that works out to three, then that is just fine.

There, I just talked myself back into sticking with 10,000km intervals.
It's a nice round number anyhow.

We'd all like to be able to say we go long distances between oil changes, but I think if you can keep yourself to a reasonable amount of oil changes per year, in my case that works out to three, then that is just fine.

There, I just talked myself back into sticking with 10,000km intervals. It's a nice round number anyhow.

Well said, I agree. Hopefully the GC stays around, which I think it will and you'll have your perfect oil. GC coninues to shine.
Changing oil as stated earlier every 3-4k, driving easy with cold motor, and regular fluid changes otherwise, I drive a nearly 200k Honda Civic that has never had an engine related problem in the 9 years of ownership.
Yeah, "BUY A HONDA" is probably the best advice.

The three I currently have makes ten Honda/Acura vehicles I have owned, none had engine problems whatsoever.


Originally posted by rjundi:
Changing oil as stated earlier every 3-4k, driving easy with cold motor, and regular fluid changes otherwise, I drive a nearly 200k Honda Civic that has never had an engine related problem in the 9 years of ownership.

The answer is simple: rigorous maintenance. Scheduled, booked, prepared.

Maintaining the long-block internals isn't enough by itself, it means upgrading and maintaining the electrical harness connections (80% of cars go in the shop in 2000 just as they did in 1970: for electrically-related problems); replacing components BEFORE they wear out by determining a pre-set mileage/time point for such. Accessories, such as the cooling system and malfunctioning emissions equipment are much more likely to tank the engine than internal problems.

For example, tires may well go over 50k but there is little cost/benefit ratio in allowing them to do so considering the amount of sidewall flex they're been through over that period. Same goes for shocks and brakes. The degradation of one system affects all the rest, directly or indirectly and leads to an increasingly rapid rate of wear on the entire vehicle.

Using a separate bank account to set aside a fixed amount every month so as to lessen the "sticker shock" from the time the vehicle is put in service can go a long ways in helping; as can putting the vehicle in the shop twice yearly. We use the the "spring" appointment to go over the fuel system/alignment/brakes/suspension with the "fall" interval used for cooling system/fluid and hose replacement, etc.

The key is to try to forecast cost ahead of time!

Obviously, as we all pay close attention to fluids/filters and such around here (and have compiled a great deal of info to search through), that subject is well covered. Yet, annual changes ought to be a minimum. Hoses of all sorts ought not to go much more than three years.

As to the use of A-Rx, I hardly see a problem in a 25-30k enema. As that is our annual mileage on the vehicle I've most posted about I can say that even the most cursory glance into the upper valvetrain shows its efficacy. Think of it (and products like FUEL POWER) as being the finishing touch on keeping the engine in "like-new" condition. (Pretty cheap in my opinion as the cost isn't much more than a decent restaurant meal for three).

A condition in which odometer readings bear little comparison to general assumptions about "rate of wear" when 150k feels like 25k.

This is why I take the time to find a good dealer service advisor and continue to utilize the services of Terry Dyson (DYSON ANALYSIS)as well as searching internet boards peculiar to the make of vehicle so as to try and benefit from the experience of others.

Well before the interval for brake/shock and tire replacement (on-going from 50k through 75k; a period of a little over a year) have I been searching out information to try to make, if not the best possible choice, then at least one I can live with in regards to oem versus aftermarket product quality.

The problem-solving is a great deal of fun (abstract, hopefully without too much emotion as to differentiate it from other pursuits and responsibilities) as I think most of us would agree.

The contributions made here at bobistheoilguy in the past couple of years have been an enormous help to me, most especially being able to quantify fluid choices through analysis. The anecdotal "evidence" has added to the fun factor.

The job of forecasting costs and schedules is made much easier, for there is far more to the subject than mere oil changes or brand affiliations.
Absolutely agree with TanSdn - but on the other end of the spectrum there are those of us livin' like the bush pilots keeping POS alive with baling wire. Actually never had a car/engine die while I owned it. Secret was vital fluids. Guarantee after the kids are done college I'm moving up from my 1990 145K Buick Century to a Jag
I have started more than one day with zero credit, no bank account and $5 in my pocket. In more than one year.

Payday: completely fill the gasoline tank first thing. Second is to put aside a few bucks for the next repair on the car with over 150k (even 240k). Then pay the rest of the bills -- if there are any -- and keep on keeping on.

The best vehicle -- in my experience -- for drving forever was a 1977 Impala wagon: 350-4V was Chevy junk, but regular service, annual tune-ups/fluid changes and doing the best possible otherwise (especially on brakes/tires/shocks) kept it going reliably. Broke down only once in many years of ownership when a cheap alternator and cheap battery gave way at same time.

Bottom-line was low-stress front-mount engine, rear-wheel drive, XHD frame and brakes, plus a proven auto trans.

And all the service literature I could beg, borrow or steal, 'cause if I couldn't fix it I couldn't afford to have someone else do it for me.

The earlier post is nothing but the reflection of that experience: having been dead-*** broke in America without a car in a car-only town is a very unsettling idea to contemplate, as is theknowledge that it can happen to anyone, anytime. So buy a good one.

Never cheap out on the car. There isn't a single angle I can find (except the insecurity of ego) that makes sense on being penny-wise and pound foolish when it comes to cars.
I have always changed dino oil at around 4K average or 6 months and true synthetic under 15K miles or one year. Never any oil-related engine problems. Just don't drain your oil and forget to refill before starting the engine.
I can't agree with replacing things just becasue a schedule says to. One of the big maintenance campaings of the past few years is get people out of "scheduled replacements" and into condition-based maintenance. Use oil analisis. Use your ears and feel. Listen for sounds and do something about it, feel the steering wheel and do something about it if it pulls or vibrates. Use preventive tools like a good oil, good grease, Techron, diesel fuel additive if diesel. Check the electrical system for over/undercharging or high starter draw. Establish a maintenance schedule for your driving patterns.
Avoid short trips when you can (but half the time my wife's car is behind mine in the driveway). Avoid racing the engine before turning it off (fills the cylinders with unburned gas that drains down the walls). A grease with a group II base oil will last a lot longer than a normal grease with naphenic base oil.
Use Preventive Measures: In the 3 1/2 years that I've used Techron I've never been back to a shop for injector service. I change air filters every 20,000 km except on the dual filter systems - because I drive dirt roads. I try to schedule oil changes at 6,000 km but it's often 7 or 8. Delo in most of the 12 engines. I inspect brakes before long trips, replace when the pads are bad. Align if pulling or touching the front tires shows uneven wear. Use FlatFree to avoid flat tires. My battery supplier comes to my office and checks my electrical systems every 60 days.
Roller bearings are designed to last at least 65,000 hours, but statistics show they are normally replaced at 10,000. Why, "to avoid failure" or because it was over or under lubed. A new bearing is actually more apt to break than one that is already broken-in. The stock tires on my 99 4Runner only lasted 5,000 to 10,000 km. If I used that as a basis and replaced the similar tires on my 02 4x4 PU, I'd have replaced them 20,000 km ago. Predictive replacement based on my Bridgestone experience would have cost me $500 way too soon. (but I know they won't get past the 35,000 km mark from the current wear). I've gotten Goodyears and Coopers to run 80,000 km and others that will blow out at 3,000.
When my oil analisis shows 10 ppm of iron on dirt roads and heavy loads, my gas mileage is the same as new, I can still climb the mountain from my house to town at 88 kph in 5th gear, why waste money thinking some stupid mechanic can make it better. (by the way, it's 1000 km to the nearest dealer).
No idling on a cold engine.
Start up and move off.
Wait till oil is up to temp before booting it.
Frequent oil and filter changes.

And never start motor , move out of garage ( example ) and stop motor. Wash car, start motor and put back in garage.

As mentioned previously, this is very bad and will wash all the oil off the upper cylinder walls.
Religious oil changes, warming up the engine and never letting the engine get close to redline. Listen for future problems and do occasional UOA. Change oil yourself so you can actually see what might be future prolems too. Keep tires inflated properly and park in a garage or carport. Engine heater if you can get one. Trans fluid every 30K and antifreeze every 50K.
If hitting the redline is bad for your motor I am in big trouble!! I like to give my truck a nice Italian tune-up at least twice per week. For anyone who does not know what that is, it entails entering the highway at about 25-30mph then mashing the pedal to the floor until about 85mph or so.
I have strangely enough never had a carbon build up issue, and my vehicles always feel peppier than identical vehicles driven by other people. In fact whenever I take out my Crown Vic with 234,000 miles (wait, that must be a mistake, it's not a Honda!!
) which is now primarily driven by my girlfriend I give it an I.T.U., and she always questions why it feels so much friskier after I have driven it? I just tell her it must like me better.
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