Twice yearly changes w/ dino or synth depending on miles driven, best plan?

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Aug 27, 2003
I have never done 3k changes, for the record. [Big Grin] The best plan I can develop is to change oil once before it gets cold, like November and once before it gets hot, say May. This also gives the chance to change-up viscosity to match ambient temps too, if desired. If someone drives a very little, maybe 1x change a year is fine. I say simply adjust the *quality* of oil to match the miles driven in a half-year. If you drive less than 3000-4000 miles in a 6 months, a dino oil will meet that need. 5000-8000 miles in 6 months, a good synthetic oil will meet the longer interval better. Get the best oil for the money, check the odometer but use the calender. Of course there are exceptions, like turbos, but I need a simple formula for the large number of cars I maintain for friends and family. Any opinions or variations out there? My current oils are NuSyntec, Rotella Syn, Penzoil HMV and, of course, Chevron Supreme. [ August 29, 2003, 11:16 PM: Message edited by: AudiJunkie ]
Wouldn't a BMW Longlife01 approved oil be good in this case? Say Mobil1 0W40, or German Castrol 0W30. I'm speculating here guys, so please don't make me have to take out the flame suit. [Smile]
20 yearss ago I was doing 6 month oil changes on an 81 Phoenix with the V-6 using mostly Quaker State dino. I ended up with a sludge problem. After I bought my 92 Grand Am, I interpreted the owners manual as calling for an oil change at least every 3 months. I have stuck to that and Pennzoil 5W-30 since then and not had sludge problems. I definitely would not run dino for 6 months. I have my doubts about synthetic too.
you're only doing 2 oil changes per year, why would you even consider a non-synthetic oil? The amount of money saved by using dino rather than synthetic
I maintain maybe 5 or so cars, I pay for most of their service and don't want to spend the money for 10 or more synthetic changes. $500 at the dealer! Come on guys, it's not like every car needs synthetic. Does an old lady going <4000 miles in 6 months need synth? Does my woman's 165k 17-year-old I-5 Audi need synth? I generally run out to 5000-6000 miles with dino oil, my manual says 7500 miles. Why can't I just use good VOA oil and go by the calender, the only car I exceed 7500 miles in 6 months with is my 1998 V6 Audi, it generally got SynPower 5w-40 and now gets NuSyntec. Geez, can't THAT oil go 6 months? Audi uses the SLX LL2 for 60,000 kilometers in Europe. I am liking more of a blend, the $2 Penzoil HMV every 6 months in most cars.
I think the type of driving is the first consideration:
Yes sir, driving habits as well as total miles driven should play a role in the quality of oil chosen, but not time interval. If properly applied, the 6 month rule sould be ideal. I understand UOA is revealing as to what is going on, but 6 months on a top-notch oil with normal driving is almost over-kill. Sure when in doubt, uprate to the synth or whatever but not everyone wants to keep putting synth in their car when I am not servicing it. My Mom missed her 6 month change for the 1st time in 60k, 7000 miles and 10 month later I am switching her 2.0 VW to Rotella Synth. It is a hard sell because most people think ~any~ oil is ok. Our mech puts 15w-40 GTX in all cars, I am going comfortably a full year & 8000mi on Rotella, her car is heated & garaged. <$20 a year for plenty of protection. Many people do 1x year changes with $.89 oil, you just don't hear from them on this board.
You mention $500 at the dealership for all of these oil changes. Wouldn't it just be less expensive if you did them yourself?
Yes, it would be less costly, but rather difficult. Some of our cars have a "splash guard" or cowl underneath, not fun to R&R w/o a lift. Those TEN oil changes a year is messy and not great for the environment either. Right now, we are figuring ten changes as the MINIMUM that I'd have to do at 2x/year, that's would be enough "fun" for me. I definately think that I should consider the cost the dealer charges for the same service I would perform for comparison's sake. Honestly, I do about half of the changes myself and send oil to the mechanic for the rest. $500 is outrageous for oiling expenses, but that's my point. If I could protect as well for less, I will have saved a bunch of money.
I think the two change rule will suit fine for you since your in PA. I'm in TN and have been running 10w30 in summer and 5w30 in winter. But our temps get to 20 F for the lowest in winter. When I drove alot, I used to change every 3k but that was years ago. Since I'm in school, I hardly rack up miles in 3 months like I did with cheap dino. Now, I drive 3k in 6 months. I went 3k in 8 months last year before change out. I got the 3 month rule out of my head but not the 3k. It was 8 months with Valvoline maxlife. I didn't have any problems whatsoever, but I made sure the oil was full all the time Two times a year is good because winter weather does kill the oil. Wait till UOA are posted during the winter. [crushedcar] [ August 30, 2003, 11:54 PM: Message edited by: Cutehumor ]
I guess my opinion is in the minority here, but in a situation like yours, where you're only doing 2 oil changes per year, why would you even consider a non-synthetic oil? The amount of money saved by using dino rather than synthetic, when only doing 2 oil changes per year is almost totally insignificant. I can't understand the reasoning here.
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