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Old 08-20-2012, 06:57 PM   #91
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Broken Arrow, OK
Posts: 2,307
Originally Posted by Jeeperz Creeperz View Post
I am curious. Has anyone heard of anyone having motor failure for infrequent oil changes? I am not talking about an oil leak or never changing the oil. There are mechanics on this list. Have you?
Define failure. If you are talking about a rod hanging out of the block I don't recall one that I could PROVE was maintenance related. If you are talking about excessive blowby, unstable oil pressure and other signs of immeninent failure I have seen plenty. Likewise, if you are talking damage that didn't result in total engine failure such as flattened cam lobes (not an issue with rollers), stuck valves, broken rocker arms, destroyed distributor gears, etc. I have also seen many of these types of failures. Most engines will lose power to the point of uselessness due to poor oil change habits before they spit out the pieces they don't want any more or they will flatten a cam or something similar that costs more to fix than the owners are willing to spend.

My ex wife's brother was a shade tree mechanic. He would go 20,000 to 30,000 between oil changes. The oil was the cheapest he could find on sale. He would top the oil off every so often. He usually purchased cars with 80,000 or more on them and then put on another 150,000 with no engine oil related problems.
I had a customer once that brought in his Dodge truck, probably a 95 or 96 model with about 80k miles on it to get it "looked at" because it "didn't drive like it used to". We had never seen the truck before, so we gave it a pretty thorough inspection and found several thousand dollars in work it needed. When presented with the estimate we got the famous answer "It's been a great truck, I've never had to do anything to it before." He followed that sentence with "I haven't even had to change the oil yet!". I don't know what he used as a measuring stick for determining when to change the oil, but I drained about a quart out of it when we changed it. That was all we did to it. He didn't want to spend the money on the plugs, front end, brakes or any other maintenance services. The point of this story is that the engine will live a long time without proper maintenance, but the people that don't change their oil don't do anything else either. If the vehicle didn't fall apart around the engine, the engine would eventually fail. It just never gets the chance. If you are going to maintain your vehicle and want it to live a long and happy life you need to change the oil.

This is anecdotal, I know but so are the "I changed it every 2,000 miles and never had a problem" stories. Would the results have been different if that person did the oil changes at 5,000 miles?
I have always changed the oil in my vehicles at 3,000 mile intervals, however I have to say that the truck I drive everyday is 23 years old and has 403k miles on it. The truck I had before this one was such a POS that I didn't have it long enough to speak about its longevity. Before that was a 69 Pontiac LeMans that had over 240k miles on it when it was totaled. Every vehicle my family had growing up got oil changes every 3k miles and they all went well over 200k miles. The difference is that none of them had electronic engine management. A modern car doesn't contaminate the oil with gasoline, so they can go longer. On my truck I drive every day I still change it every 3k miles because the oil looks like fresh crude when I drain it. The Jeep we do at 5k and all of our other cars get driven so little that they just get a change annually.

The guy I copied the post from (see a few back) actually had his oil tested at 4,000 miles (first time) and guess what, it was fine. Was he just lucky?
Based on what I've seen on the other Pentastars and my own, yes. He was lucky. I don't believe for a second that his wear metals were good based on the amount of wear metals I saw in my filter the first three times I changed the oil.

The folks that built & tested our engines say under normal conditions, do not let it go past 6 months or 8,000 miles. There is no recommendation to do it earlier for break in purposes. Do you not trust them? If so why do you follow the rest of the owner manual recommendations?
No, I don't trust them. Their maintenance program is designed to do one thing and one thing only: get the vehicle beyond the warranty period with minimal problems. Their maintenance program is not designed on what is best for the engine and other components over the long haul, it is designed based on a statistical analysis of what they can get away with.

Do you change your transmission, differential, radiator or brake fluid sooner and more often than recommended? Why not? They are just as vital. I bet most don't check these fluids at all even at higher miles.
Yes, I change them all more than recommended because they don't recommend that most of them be changed. Ever. See above about the statistical nature of the maintenance program. If it will more than likely make it through the warranty without it, they won't recommend it. This is a marketing tool that makes the vehicle look cheaper to own.

Do what you want it is your money. I used to belive in the 3,000 mile oil change myth until I started changing it myself and realized the oil I was taking out looked nearly as good as what I was putting in.
It isn't what you can see that you need to worry about. When I drain oil out of the SS or the Lightning it still looks brand new. But it's been in there for a year and has started degrading in who knows what ways. Do I believe in 3k mile oil changes on the average car? Nope. But they do have their place.

Now a days there is an on board computer measuring driving conditions to back up my "unscientific dip stick sight analysis" when I check it between changes.
And when the engine has 200k miles on it and has 20% leakdown past the rings what do you think the computer will say? It will still say the same thing even though the oil will need changed more often.

I am not trying to disparage anyone just save you a few dollars. If spending $20 every couple of months makes you feel better, why not actually send a sample into Blackstone for $25 to learn what is actually going on with your oil until you break the 3,000 mile no matter what habit?
Oil analysis has its own flaws. For example, if you have a new engine and want to know how far you can go between changes you will need to do a lot of testing to determine what that interval is. It may be OK to go 20k miles on an oil change, but to determine that you probably need to be doing an oil analysis every 1k miles to that point, and then you will need to repeat the experiment once or twice more to make sure the numbers are repeatable. By that time you're at 60k miles and you've spent $1500 on oil analysis plus three full oil changes and some top off oil (which by the way will ruin the experiment!). If you just changed the oil every 5k miles and called it good for that same number of miles you will have only spent $360 on oil changes. So what's the point of this analysis business? There is also the matter of an analysis not telling you anything useful until it's too late. If you've got wear metals in the oil the damage is done. If it was an airplane where an oil change is $100 and the difference between a basic overhaul and a full overhaul is $20k I see the benefit of oil analysis. In the automotive world it serves no useful purpose other than to satisfy the owner's curiosity.

Probably the biggest reason to change the oil when suggested is the warranty. If you don't do it how they tell you to and the engine fails, the repair will be on your nickel whether lack of oil changes was at fault or not.
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Old 08-20-2012, 08:07 PM   #92
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Wenatchee WA
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Wow! What a wonderful response! Especially the part about the owners manual designed to get the through the warranty period with little repair. If I leased and returned the vehicle every year, I wouldn't do a thing.

And no, I disagree with a recent response to the OP" can't demand that a dealer perform maintenance that doesn't correspond to their agreement. They never agreed to change your oil whenever you wanted.

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