I bought a new 2006 Elantra in December. As a D-I-Yer, and former
mechanic, I've always performed the majority of the oil changes on my
cars. I always change oil and filter at 3K or 3 month intervals using
Mobil 1 synthetic. I fully understand Hyundai's requirement of keeping
a maintenance log, either in paper form or at hyundai.com's online
service log to show proof of preventive maintenance to maintain the
warranty. (Note: Using Mobil 1, and sticking to the 3K/3Mo. change
intervals, I've never experienced an engine mechanical failure in over
25 years of using the product).
Years ago, it was generally recommended to perform the initial oil
change at 1,000 miles. At that time, many cars used a "break in" oil,
but I'm not sure this is the case anymore. In fact, most cars had a
free scheduled 1,000 mile inspection, which included an oil change.
Nevertheless, it still may make good sense to initially change the oil
at 1,000 miles.
Any thoughts on this, pro or con, or should I simply adhere to
Hyundai's "severe service" drain intervals?
Also, since the current Elantra has a cast-aluminum sump cover, it's
most likely quite critical to torque the drain plug to a certain
maximum lb/ft. I wonder if any Elantra has suffered from a cracked
sump cover due to over-torqueing? This is a very critical aspect of my
SAAB 900, as a cracked aluminum sump cover requires replacement of the
entire lower section of the engine. Of course, this is thankfully not
the case with the Elantra, but I certainly could see problems should
the oil drain plug be over-torqued. Perhaps this is a question for
hyundaitech . . .
Actually, you have given reason #1 why I try to never let anyone else
(except myself) do oil changes. It always seemed like they had used
tightening the drain plug as their daily pull-up exercise.
I was STUNNED when I saw what in these owner's manuals was the recommended
torque to tighten those things to, and how unbelievably overtightened I
would find them.
Maybe finally some of these places are smartening up, but I wouldn't a
synthetic oil change on it.
My first reaction is that you're wasting a lot of oil and filters,
especially since you're using a synthetic oil. Modern oils in modern
engines last a LOT longer than 3000 miles, which is why car
manufacturers recommend much longer change intervals than they used to.
Remember, they're not going to recommend anything that could result in a
problem during the warranty period, which in Hyundai's case is 100,000
miles. Unless you beat the snot out of your car, just follow Hyundai's
recommended change intervals for normal driving (first change at 3500
miles, then every 7500 thereafter), especially if you switch over to a
synthetic at the first change (which I did). If you feel better changing
it at 1000 miles, it wont hurt to do so, then again at 3500, but I
wouldn't waste expensive synthetic oil on that first change. You could
also change to synthetic at 1000 and not change it again until 7500.
Break-in oils aren't used anymore. Another thing that has changed is the
weights of the recommended oils. Unless you live somewhere that's warm
or hot all year round, a 5W oil is recommended, due the the smaller oil
passages in modern engines. In the case of the Elantra 5W-30 is
recommended for most climates. Since you're fond of Mobile One, you
could even use their Euro-spec 0W-40, which provides fuel saving and
protection under any conditions.
I replaced the drain plug in my Elantra GT with one of the Fram drain
valves. That eliminates any hassles with replacing crush washers,
possible cross-threading or over/under torquing of the drain plug and
dropping slippery drain plugs into your drain pan. Some people prefer
the more expensive Fumoto valve, but either one does the job. After
using one of these valve, I wouldn't go back to using a stock drain plug
again. It's one of those "Why didn't someone think of that before???" items.
Where did you buy the Fram valve at? My airplane had a quick-drain
valve, but I've never bothered to put one on a car. Makes a lot of
sense though and if it is good enought for Continental and Cessna, it is
good enough for me!
Since the new Elantra is my wife's car, it sees pretty "severe
service." Not that she's a bad driver, on the contrary, but it's
primarily driven to and from work (5 miles each way, in town, and
stop-and-go), to the grocery store, etc. Given typical winter
operation, the car barely has time to come up to operational temp
before it's shut down. Although I know 3K/3 mo. oil change intervals
with Mobil 1 is overkill, I'm technically not wasting oil. Perhaps
wasting money, yes, but all oil is recycled at a local synthetic motor
Certainly driving conditions such as those warrant more frequent
changes. Although, personally, I think I'd spend the time for a long
run at least every other week to get the car fully warmed up and burn
the moisture out of the crankcase. Changing the oil won't remove the
condensation from the internals of the engine.
Even with recycling it is a waste as it takes energy to recycle the oil
and most folks also change the filter with the oil so it wastes that as
well. However, your conditions may warrant this frequency and then it
One other thing . . . I noted specifications of 5W-20, 5W-30, and
10W-30 not only in the Elantra's Maintenance Log, but in the Owner's
Manual. 10W-30 was recommended for above 0 degree F operation only.
NOTE: Interestingly, I queried the local dealer's Service Manager on
what oil weight's they use and he said that they unilaterally use
10W-30 for all Hyundai, Kia, and Mitsubishi vechicles. Perhaps, this
is analogous to an earlier poster's comment about his dealer using
10W-30 weight oil.
One fact does exist with the comparision, for example, of 5W-30 to
10W-30 weight oil is the use of more V.I.'s (Viscosity Indexers) in
5W-30 weight oil as compared to 10W-30. The greater the amount of
V.I.'s used in motor oil, the greater propensity of varnish build-up,
"possible" sludging (over time), etc. Thus, using an oil with the
narrowest range of weights can actually be a plus. On the other hand,
5W oils are now specified not only because of tighter engine
tolerances, but primarily because of enhanced fuel economy. The
low-temp (0 degrees F or below) pourability and initial operational
flow characteristics of a 10W-30 weight synthetic are far superior to
any 5W-20 or 5W-30 dino oil.
Just a thought . . . as two vehicles I own which have used 5W-30
weight oil since purchase (each of which has over 125,000 miles on the
clock) consume approx. 1/2 to 3/4 quart between changes. On the other
hand, two other vehicles which have used 10W-30 since purchase (each of
these have over 175,000 miles) use no oil between changes. This is a
bit of an "apples-and-oranges" comparision as only the latter two are
of the same brand and type, but interesting nevertheless. In the
previously mentioned cases, the cause of the consumption is not ring
wear, rather valve stem seal and valve guide wear.
They likely don't want the bother of stocking three different weight oils.
I think with synthetic oil you need fewer additives in general so I
doubt there is a lot of difference between 5W and 10W in Mobil 1. I'll
probably use 5W-30 in the winter and 10W-30 in the summer as that is
what I use in my other two vehicles and I don't want to stock more
weights of oil either! :-)
Actually, I believe that on most modern engines more oil is consumed
through the PCV system than mechanically. That is one reason why Toyota
and Honda for years had lower consumption that most other brands. They
had much better PCV systems that would separate the oil from the air
that was sent to the intake.
All the local auto parts stores have them, so I imagine they're readily
available in your area. The Fram valve comes with a drain adapter and
short chunk of drain hose. I've found that it works best if you leave
the hose off and just run the oil into a drain pan/tub/bucket. The hose
is more hassle than it's worth.
We had to use a hose with our airplane as taking off the lower cowling
was a lot of work. It wasn't bad once you got the hang of it. The
trouble is that the way the drain was activated was by pushing it in.
If the hose was cold, the force required to get the hose over the nipple
was greater than the force required to open the drain. You can guess
the outcome. That only happened to me once and then I learned to stick
the hose end into my pocket to warm it up before attaching it to the drain.
What are the pros and cons of the Fram vs. the Fumoto?
On my other vehicles, the drain plug is pretty exposed so I was always
concerned about a quickdrain valve getting knocked off as most I've seen
extend a fair bit away from the oil pan. However, it appears that the
Hyundai drain plug may be better protected, but I haven't actually
looked under the car yet to confirm that.
The Fram valve is a three piece system:
- The valve screws into the oil pan.
- The drain adapter screws onto the valve and opens it in the process.
It has a hose barb on it that functions well as to direct the oil flow,
even without a hose on it. It is only installed when you want to drain
- The last piece is an O-ring sealed cover that screws over the drain
valve to protect it from dirt, moisture and thread damage while driving.
The valve is very well protected and only protrudes ~3/4" toward the
rear of the car.
The only downside I see to this system is that you need to make sure
that you don't lose the drain adapter. I keep my oil changing tools in a
separate box anyway, so it's not a problem.
The Fumoto is a one-piece system. You screw the valve onto the oil pan
and it has a lever on it that you use to open it. That makes it much
more exposed to damage, but I can't say that I've heard of problems in
that regard. The Fumoto is more expensive than the Fram and you'll
probably have to mail order it, as I haven't seen them for sale in any
Religiously changed oil is the number one factor in long engine life. I've
adhered to a slightly different practice than yours over the years, but like
you I have never suffered an engine failure in over 35 years of driving and
owning cars. I change my oil and filter every 4000 miles but I still don't
use synthetic oils. No particular reason why, it's just that old habits die
hard I guess. No matter, real oil does server the purpose very well. I use
Wal-Mart's private label stuff which I believe is made by Quaker State.
I've driven too many cars for over 200,000 miles for me not to believe in
the practice. So - no matter which route one chooses, either synthetic or
real oil, 3000 or 4000 miles, just do it and do it religiously.
3K/3 month changes with Mobil 1 is a waste of a lot of good oil. I run
5K changes and have run 10K on several vehicles once out of warranty
(one of which had 178,000 when totaled) with no ill affects.
I think that is largely a thing of the past, however, due to my
conservative nature, I plan to change my Sonata at 2500 miles using dino
oil and then change to Mobil 1 at 5,000 and start my normal 5,000
schedule. Why 5,000 you ask? The main reason is that it is easy to
remember multiples of 5,000 and it is less than the normal schedule for
most cars and not far from the severe schedule so it should avoid any
warranty disputes. Once out of warranty, I'll consider 10,000 mile
changes. I started this with my last minivan after 150,000 miles of 5K
changes and it didn't bother it at all.
Only you can assess your driving conditions vs. the manual's
recommendations. My driving is 17 or so miles each way to work every
day on mostly level highway. I rarely idle for any length of time,
don't tow and don't drive much on dirt roads. I figure 5,000 is a safe
compromise between 7500 and 3750 or whatever Hyundai suggests.
I don't know about cracking, but I'd be worried about stripping the
threads if the plug threads directly into an aluminum sump. My other
vehicles all have steel oil pans with steel plugs. My Kawasaki Voyager
had the plugs (yes, it had two drain plugs) threaded directly into the
aluminum engine case. Needless to say, I torqued those plugs back in
very carefully! However, I never had a problem in 17 oil changes over
17 years. Yes, you heard that right, Kawasaki only required oil changes
every 12 months or something like 6,000 miles. I never got 6,000 miles
in a year so I changed the oil every fall before storage. The bike ran
fine for all 17 years that I owned it.
Personally, I think current recommendations for oil change intervals are
VERY conservative given modern engines, oils and oil filters.
However, during the warranty period, which is a long time with Hyundai,
I won't experiment with the maintenance schedule.
Is Hyundai tough to deal with regarding warranty claims? The dealer
really pushed me to have all service done by them and hinted that if I
did my own maintenance it might make warranty claims tricky. I've done
my own maintenance for 30 years and never had a car maker hassle me on a
warranty claim, then again I've only owned a couple of imports before.
Chevy and Chrysler have never given me grief for doing my own maintenance.
I've never run 10K changes and would hesitate to do so without having
the oil analyzed first. Oil analysis will tell you exactly how well your
oil is holding up.
How difficult is it to look in the Maintenance Log to see when your next
oil change is due?
Hyundai suggests 7500.
Then why are you changing it more frequently than you have to?
It's not an experiment to change it every 7500 miles. That's what they
recommend with dino oil. If it's safe with that, it's definitely safe
with a synthetic.
That's absolute BS! Next time the dealer even hints at it, let him know
in no uncertain terms that you know your rights under the warranty and
that he WILL honor it, period. Dealers pull this crap on customers all
the time, since oil changes and similar service are cash cows. If they
do it again, complain to Hyundai. They're very customer oriented and
don't take kindly to dishonest dealers, particularly when the dealer is
falsely blaming Hyundai and using that as leverage to screw customers.
All you're required to do is to keep track of your maintenance in the
Maintenance Log. If you want to keep receipts, it won't hurt, but it's
not required. Fortunately, I have an honest dealer who knows I do my own
work and even explained the requirements to me in detail when I bought
Hyundai seems somewhat liberal in their warranty administration. If you
have the work done at the dealer as scheduled, that leaves two options
when there's a problem: one-- the dealer knows the maintenance was done
correctly, or two-- if it was done incorrectly, the dealer was directly
responsible. If you have the maintenance done elsewhere, you'll have to
keep your records and do your best to make sure everything is done
correctly (neither of which is very difficult if you have some rudimentary
knowledge about automobiles). None of this will likely be an issue unless
you have a major failure of the engine or trans.
A few months ago, I replaced a transmission under warranty even though the
customer's receipt showed the wrong fluid was installed. But that doesn't
mean everyone will get the same decision. Dealers are required to get
authorization from their factory rep for repairs over a certain dollar
figure (I believe it's about $1000). In my experience, each rep is
different and some are not even consistent with their own decisions.
I've only done 10K changes with cars I no longer cared much about (79
Chevette, 96 Plymouth Grand Voyager, and one other car I can't remember
at the moment). I switched the Chevette to 10K intervals at 50,000
miles and it ran fine to 115,000 when I sold it. The new owner wrecked
it at 145,000 miles, but I don't know what his maintenance schedule was.
And this was a little 4 banger than ran 3,000 RPM at 55 MPH!!
I agree that oil analysis is the best way to know for sure, but the cost
and hassle isn't justified with most cars. It is cheaper to just change
the oil a little sooner. The main reason as that most oil analysis
places say you need to drain the oil in order to get a good sample (you
take the sample typically after about half of the oil has drained).
This is a pain and risks contaminating the oil as you drain it and then
refill the engine with it.
Some folks pull a sample through the dipstick tube, but this generally
isn't a good way to go.
More difficult than looking at the odometer and seeing that a multiple
of 5,000 is coming up.
Only under very specific and nearly ideal conditions. Probably 80% of
the cars driven in the USA fall under the "severe" description of most
automakers. And then you drop back to 3,000 mile intervals.
Because I don't want to deal with oil analysis and I don't want a
It is if your driving falls into the "severe" service regime as
described in the owner's manual. My driving falls in between the two
descriptions so I interpolate also my oil change interval.
That is what I hope, but I haven't yet had occasion to find out.
I haven't bothered with oil analysis either, since as you say, it's and
expensive hassle that's simply not necessary if you stick to the
recommended oil change schedule. I DO care about my Elantra, which still
has >70K miles on the warranty, but I know what you mean about older
cars. I've been doing 7K oil changes ever since I read independent tests
a decade or so ago indicating that any oil will last 7K in any car
that's driven normally. I've probably let some go 8K or so inadvertently
and have never had oil related problems with an engine.
Well, I guess I must be better at math than you, as I don't find
calculating 7500 mile intervals to be a challenge. ;-)
That's just a bunch of CYA nonesense on their part and you can pretty
much ignore it. Unless you drive your vehicle hard or under unsually
difficult conditions, there's no need to follow the severe use schedule.
Fine, but changing at 5K is still more frequently than necesary.
As I've said above, the "severe service" is a bunch of nonsense that can
be ignored if you drive like most people do. Virtually everyone falls
into one or the other of the categories they list. I can tell you from
experience that if you follow Hyundai's standard schedule, that's all
they care about unless there is obvious evidence that your vehicle has
been abused. No one is ever going to deny a warranty claim because you
drive on dirt roads occasionally, drive in stop and go traffic at times
or any of the other items listed in the severe service list of sins.
Hopefully, none of us ever will! I have dealt with Hyundai on a major
transmission issue on a previous vehicle and I found them to be
It may be a good idea to fill out their log as a formality, since that's
what they'll ask to see if you ever do make a claim. Either way, you're
all set. If you haven't already, you might want to mention that to the
jerk of a dealer you have on your next visit. It may save you a few
unwelcome comments from him in the future.
Not a math issue, but a memory issue. If you tell me that my odometer
has 67,000 miles on it, I can tell you within a second that I'm due for
a change in 3,000 miles. You can't do that with 7,500 mile intervals.
Since they alternate 2,500 and 7,500 multiples in between the 15,000
mile multiples, you have to go back to the nearest 15,000 mile multiple
(60,000 in this case) and then add 7,500 miles to get 67,500 and then
subtract to get that you are 500 miles from you next change. It is just
a lot easier to use 5,000 or 10,000. :-)
That may well be, but the reality is that they could use this to deny a
claim if they desired and had significant evidence that you didn't drive
according to the "normal" regimen.
So is changing at 7,500. :-) It is just a matter of where you choose
to draw the line. There folks that do oil analysis that run routinely
past 10,000 miles on dino oil and much longer on synthetic.
That is your opinion, but not the opinion of virtually every car maker
in the world.
Funny, I have no trouble remembering what my next change interval is. If
I ever do have a question, I can always look in the maintenance log.
And exactly HOW are they going to prove any of that? The fact is that
Hyundai has NO IDEA how you drive your car. For that matter, the
Maintenance Log is strictly an "honor system" document, yet that's all
the documentation that's required to maintain the warranty.
The 7500 mile interval is require under the warranty. If you don't care
about the warranty, you can change it at whatever interval you like.
Please show me the survey of "virtually every car maker in the world"
that shows that they ever actually deny claims based on the their
"severe service" requirements. The reality is that it simply doesn't
happen except in the more egregious, obvious cases of abuse. As I said
above, there is no way for a company to know how you drive your car
unless there are obvious signs of abuse. Additionally, under warranty
law, it's up to the company to prove that you violated the warranty
provisions, not up to you to prove that you didn't.
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