4 Cyl Oil Change intervals

My dealer insists that I change the oil in my 03 OBW 4 Cyl every 3K whether they do it, I do it or someone else. The book says 7500. A guy that writes
an Auto Column in my local paper never lets a week go by that he doesn't harp that 3K oil changes are so important - more so in hotter running newer cars. He writes that his shop does 100 cars a week so he knows what he is talking about. Always brings up the Toyota fiasco of a few years back where they sludged up when changed at 7500 and no sludge when done at 3K. Who am I to believe?? I was going to settle on 5K w/ filter? I do a lot of highway driving. Jim
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I also do about 50 percent highway driving and I change oil and filter at 5,000 miles. My Forester engine has no sludge( l looked with a small mirror inside the sump at the 55,000 mile oil change) and the oil is medium brown when drained. When the car was broke-in at about 3000 miles I sent samples of my used oil to Mobil oil company. Samples were sent from 7,500 and 3,000 miles oil changes. There was NO significant difference demonstrated and samples were classified "excellent". Based on the test results I opted for 5,000 mile changes. Subaru doesn't even recommend a 3,000 mile change for severe. Unfortunately there are too many self appointed experts and other who insist on hanging on to a change recommendation that is 20 years old. My laboratory test demonstrate that if 1/3 to 1/5 or more of your miles are highway miles then 7,500 miles changes are fine. In fact my friend Legacy which has 264,000 miles on it changes oil at 10,000 miles but, 90 % of his driving is highway. As far as someone telling me that Toyota had a sludge problem so it's a Subaru problem is nonsense. Toyota had designed an oil sump that did not allow all areas to be sweep as the oil was circulated. This was a design mistake and not an oil change problem. Eddie

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This subject always stirs up a lot of controversy. Last year I went 19K with a filter change at 10K. Sent the oil in for analysis and it came back fit for continued use with filter change. I use Amsoil 0w-30 with their filters. Yes I am a dealer, but mainly so I can buy the oil at a better price. Have used their products since 1978. They were the first API approve synthetic, 1972.
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Jack wrote:

Ever notice that many industrial type engines (aircraft, tractors, stationary engines, etc) have a Hobbs meter (counts hours of operation), and that many tests done on motor oil are set up according to hours of operation?
Your idea makes more sense than not. If you dig out your calculator and play a bit, you'll find more than a casual correlation between the number of hours the engine runs if you drive 7500 miles at 60-70 mph vs 3000 miles at 30 mph.
I'm wondering out loud if the new systems where the car "tells" you when to change oil are simply glorified Hobbs meters run thru the vehicle's computer?
Rick
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I like the reasoning behind the hours/time interval. Aircraft also use the hours interval for oil changes /tune-ups and overhauls. The only disadvantage is the buyer of your car want may want to see service records. I'm against two sets of book, but I may go with the time interval on my next new vehicle. Eddie

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I couldn't agree more! For the average driver, changing oil every season (ie every three months) best insures the engine is kept clean.

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Here is an interesting article on oil changes that appeared on an automotive newsletter here in Ontario, Canada. I also wrote last week about a local performance shop that sells Amsoil synthetic oil, and leave the oil in for 20,000 km (12,000 mi), but change the filter every 5,000 km (3,000 mi) with an Amsoil filter (finer filtering than standard filter). They had a Camry come in for valve seal replacement at 260,000 km, and they told me the honing marks on the cylinder walls from manufacturing were still visible, indicating a very slippery oil! Also, any of the oil tests you look at show that synthetics don't sludge up like crude derived oils, hence their suitability for longer drain intervals with less wear than crude oil products changed at much shorter intervals, due to the crude oils breaking down quite quickly, and synthetics not breaking down, or at least very slowly. Also heard from several sources of increased fuel mileage with synthetics, due to the friction reduction. Ed B.
March 31, 2003
Opinion: Synthetic motor oil by Phil Bailey
About ten years ago, when I was a local bright light in the Montreal radio world, I used to be approached to test a lot of automotive products. One such product was called 'Motrlube' and was being produced by a chemical company in Montreal. Initially, this company, in conjunction with the National Research Council, had been asked to develop a non freezing grease for the old fire hydrants in the city. Unfortunately, the synthetic grease they produced worked so well that the city's needs for the following years were far less than expected, so the company set out to find another outlet for its research and decided upon motor oil as a strong possibility.
The secret was that this company had developed a catalyst that allowed them to blend together three different polyalphaolefins (PAOs) to produce a very superior product at low cost. As it happened, I was leaving for a 1300 Km run to Halifax the next week in my Golf, so I poured 4 litres of this dark brown brew into my engine, along with a new filter and off I went.
Now, I had previously driven as far West as Calgary, for the usual reason. When working on a project, I would take my car to the site and fly home every weekend. Sometimes these projects would last for months, so I made some extra money and the client saved a bundle on rental car fees. As anyone knows, who drives long distances, one gets used to the rhythm and sound of the car. No need to watch the speedometer, you just know when you are traveling at a good cruising speed. I usually try to drive just 'under the radar' at about 117 Km/hour.
Somewhere west of Quebec City, on the long run to Riviere du Loup, I happened to glance down at the speedometer and found myself running at 135 Km/hour. Foot off the loud pedal, settle down again, back up to 135K. The engine was running very smoothly indeed and I began to realize that this brown liquid in the engine was the reason for this quiet running. Usually, I achieved about 37 mpg on such a run. On this run I got over 41 mpg at a higher running speed.
Since that day, I've used Motrlube, a company now based in Calgary, in all my cars. At that time, the Motrlube company claimed that the product was good for two years or 60,000 Km between oil changes. I decided to push the envelope and went for 3 years and 100K without an oil change. I changed the filter every year and at that time I sent a sample to a laboratory for analysis. The lab conclusion in every case was "do not change the oil'. Now this old faithful car of mine, is used for winter driving only. It has 400,000 Km on the clock and the body is held together with epoxy putty, but the engine starts first time in winter and has never been opened up for any reason except to change timing belts. It still burns no oil. I'm pretty sure that the use of pure PAO synthetics has produced this result. Equally, I use synthetics in the gearbox, which makes VWs notoriously reluctant gearbox work much better in very cold weather.
Ten years later, everyone has a long life product, but there are still only a handful of pure PAO products on the market. Amsoil, Redline and Motrlube are three of the ones I know well and they are all very good products. (You can find the websites of all these companies through the Canadian Driver web index). Castrol, egged on by Audi, recently launched SLX Longlife II In Europe. And this oil has the ability to keep some engines operating for up to a staggering 30,000 miles (50,000 Km ) between changes. (Castrol's words, not mine). This Audi Variable Service concept (AVS) first appeared in the European A2 - a car designed without a hood for "minimal mechanical interference by the owner' - quote.
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The low maintenance idea has been extended to other cars in the Audi range since, and Longlife gives these cars the potential to cover up to 19,000 miles (30,000 Km ) between services. Audi's V6 TDI diesels can cover as many as 22,000 miles (36,000 Km ) before draining the sump and four-cylinder TDI diesels might, in the right circumstances, avoid mechanics for up to 30,000 miles.
Audi spokesman David Goosey said "This oil has been developed to maintain its viscosity characteristics, and so deliver the key benefits of fuel efficiency and wear protection, throughout far longer oil drain intervals."
Under AVS, Audi drivers no longer need to adhere to a traditional service plan. Instead, new Audis have an on-board system, which monitors both current engine condition, and the type of motoring the car has typically endured. It then tells the driver when a service is required via the instrument panel.
Last time I was in the UK, I priced this product and it was selling for $20 a litre, which leads me to believe that this is definitely a pure PAO product.
So what about the $7 products that we can buy over here? Products such as Castrol Syntec and Mobil1? Well, these products have a very good performance level, but cannot match the life of the pure PAO formulations. To start at the beginning, ordinary engine oil is a by-product of the refining process and becomes available whether the refiner wants it or not. As a lubricant, it has very little value at all until it is doctored with a group of additives, from which comes the viscosity and durability rating shown on the container. As we all are aware, the basic raw material is a very viscous black goo, that has to be diluted with solvents at the refinery so that it can be processed.
Unfortunately, these solvents are carried over with the lubricating oil fraction and are the major reason for the rapid deterioration of the additives in less expensive oils. Within 2000 Km or so, low cost oil is not doing much of a job of lubricating your engine. At high temperatures, this oil carbonises rapidly and most of the black residue that drains out at an oil change is not engine wear, but burnt, deteriorated, oil that has carbonised itself into oblivion.
A $1.50/litre motor oil, no matter what the brand name, should not be left in your engine for more than 5000 Km. 100% recycled oil, selling for eighty eight cents per litre in the big retail stores, has hit the market. Note that even these oils have an SF/CC rating, which only goes to show how low these standards really can be. So that, in general, ordinary engine oil has not improved much in the last five years or so.
Now next up are the "100%' synthetics which carry a little disclaimer on their label: " not including carrier oil". These products are known as Hydrogenated Esters (HE) and are just properly modified and reprocessed mineral oils, although they certainly perform much more adequately and are probably good for 24,000 Km between drain periods, with regular filter changes.
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Fourth generation products, are now available, as used in the aircraft industry, where oil changes are uncommon, at least in jet planes. If one can find a way of formulating a PAO (polymer) based product containing no mineral oil whatsoever, at an affordable price, then one has a fourth generation engine lubricant that can remain in an engine, almost until the engine is rebuilt.
Filtration of pure PAO lubricants is not challenging for the filter because no carbon is present, and the filter is doing what it should do, eliminating the odd metal particle.
If you have a new car and wish to comply entirely with your warranty, then your owner's manual calls for an oil change every 12,000 Km. Changing a pure PAO product at this distance is major overkill, but costs only $65 on average and is therefore no more expensive than cheap oil changed every 4000 Km, particularly if the latter service is done at a dealership.
Another common objection to leaving oil in an engine for long periods of time is contamination from products of combustion. In the case of mineral oil, one can actually form an emulsion with water, resulting in a beige coloured `mayonnaise' that is some times seen on oil filler caps. By contrast, PAO based lubricants shrug off water and acids and will not form emulsions. Consequently, as soon as the engine lubricant reaches the boiling point of the condensables, PAO's reject them through the PCV valve and go back to doing their job of lubricating the engine, completely unaffected by diluents of any kind.
And now, let's put to bed all the objections you will hear concerning the use of synthetic engine lubricants:
Myth #1: Synthetic motor oils damage seals. Untrue. It would be foolhardy for lubricant manufacturers to build a product that is incompatible with seals. The composition of seals presents problems that both petroleum oils and synthetics must overcome. Made from elastomers, seals are inherently difficult to standardize. Ultimately it is the additive mix in the oil that counts. Additives to control seal swell, shrinkage and hardening are required, whether it be a synthetic or petroleum product that is being produced.
Myth #2: Synthetics are too thin to stay in the engine. Untrue. In order for a lubricant to be classified in any SAE grade (10W-30, 10W-40, etc) it has to meet certain guidelines with regard to viscosity ("thickness"). For example, it makes no difference whether it is 10W-40 petroleum or 10W-40 synthetic, at -25 degrees centigrade (-13F) and 100 degrees centigrade (212 degrees F) that oil has to maintain a standardized viscosity or it can't be rated a 10W-40.
Myth #3: Synthetics cause cars to use more oil. Untrue. Synthetic motor oils are intended to use in mechanically sound engines, that is, engines that don't leak. In such engines oil consumption will actually be reduced. First, because of the lower volatility of synlubes. Second, because of the better sealing characteristics between piston rings and cylinder walls. And finally, because of the superior oxidation stability (i.e. resistance of synthetics against reacting with oxygen at high temperatures.)
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Myth #4: Synthetic lubricants are not compatible with petroleum. Untrue. The synthesized hydrocarbons, polyalphaolefins, diesters and other materials that form the base stocks of high quality name brand synthetics are fully compatible with petroleum oils. In the old days, some companies used untested ingredients that were not compatible, causing quality synthetic lubricants to suffer a bad reputation. Fortunately, those days are long gone. Compatibility is something to keep in mind, however, whether using petroleum oils or synthetics. It is usually best to use the same oil for topping off that you have been running in the engine. That is, it is preferable to not mix your oils, even if it is Valvoline or Quaker State you are using. The reason is this: the functions of additives blended for specific characteristics can be offset when oils with different additive packages are put together. For optimal performance, it is better to use the same oil throughout.
Myth#5: Synthetic lubricants are not readily available. Untrue. This may have been the case two decades ago when AMSOIL and Mobil1 were the only real choices, but today nearly every major oil company has added a synthetic product to their lines. This in itself is a testament to the value synthetics offer.
Myth #6: Synthetic lubricants produce sludge Untrue. In point of fact, synthetic motor oils are more sludge resistant than their petroleum counterparts, resisting the effects of high temperatures and oxidation. In the presence of high temperatures, two things happen. First, an oil's lighter ingredients boil off, making the oil thicker. Second, many of the complex chemicals found naturally in petroleum base stocks begin to react with each other, forming sludge, gums and varnishes. One result is a loss of fluidity at low temperatures, slowing the timely flow of oil to the engine for vital engine protection. Further negative effects of thickened oil include the restriction of oil flow to critical areas, greater wear and loss of fuel economy. Because of their higher flash points, and their ability to withstand evaporation loss and oxidation, synthetics are much more resistant to sludge development.
Myth #7: Synthetics can't be used with catalytic converters or oxygen sensors. Untrue. In fact the very low ash content of synthetics will extend the life of every exhaust system component.
Myth #8: Synthetics void warranties. Untrue. No major manufacturer of automobiles specifically bans the use of synthetic lubricants. In point of fact, increasing numbers of high performance cars are arriving on the showroom floors with synthetic motor oils as factory fill. Which may not make the dealers too happy since oil changes usually lead to other service work.
Myth #9: Synthetics last forever. Untrue. Although some experts feel that synthetic base stocks themselves can be used forever, it is well known that eventually the additives will falter and cause the oil to require changing. However, by "topping off", additives can be replenished. Through good filtration and periodic oil analysis, synthetic motor oils protect an engine for lengths of time far beyond the capability of non synthetics.
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Myth #10: Synthetics are too expensive. Untrue. Tests and experience have proven that synthetics can greatly extend drain intervals, provide better fuel economy, reduce engine wear and enable vehicles to operate with greater reliability. All these elements combine to make synthetic engine lubricants more economical that conventional non synthetics. In Europe, synthetics have enjoyed increasing acceptance as car buyers look first to performance and long term value rather than initial price. As more sophisticated technology places greater demands on today's motor oils, we will no doubt see an increasing re-evaluation of oil buying habits in this country as well.
Conclusions Since their inception, manufacturers of synthetic motor oils have sought to educate the public about the facts regarding synthetics, and the need for consumers to make their lubrication purchasing decisions based on quality rather than price. As was the case with microwave ovens or electric lights, a highly technological improvement must often overcome a fair amount of public skepticism and consumer inertia before it is embraced by the general population. But the word is getting out as a growing number of motorists worldwide experience the benefits of synthetic lubrication. The wave of the future, in auto lubes, is well under way.
For the environmental enthusiasts, the use of synthetics could reduce waste oil disposal by 80%, so if environment is your thing, then synthetic lubricants should be your choice. As a footnote, we have tried to sell expensive synthetics on the environmental argument, with no great success. Unless you can also show an economic advantage, the general public will not invest.
The opinions in this article do not necessarily represent those of the editors or the publisher of Canadian Driver Inc. Montreal-based Phil Bailey is a mechanical engineer, garage owner, journalist and TV and radio personality who was a former rally driver and press relations officer for Mont Tremblant race track. He can be reached at snipped-for-privacy@baileycar.com
1999-2003, Canadian Driver Communications Inc., all rights reserved

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Hi, My understanding is oil itself is not the problem the additives(all kind of chemicals) will deplete. Don't think replacing filter alone will do. I just replace oil(dino juice) and filter every 8000Km ALL the time. MY rule of replacing car is when it springs an oil leak underneath. My cars last 10 years easily without any major problem. IMO, just for ordinary driving, regular oil/filter change with good ordinary oil is enough. If you really want to protect engine, install a oil primer. Most wear is when you start engine which runs pretty dry until oil starts circulating creating an oil film barrier between metal parts. Tony
ed wrote:

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I agree with Tony that it's the additives that give-up although Synthetics have much fewer additives. I think the main reason to change any oil is to get rid of the water that accumulated from combustion by-products. Short drives that do not bring the oil up to temp to boil off water is the worst. Eddie

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I suppose Amsoil is good but I wonder why Porsche, Corvette, and Honda racing + many NASCARs use Mobil-1. What major car company that manufactures high performance cars use Amsoil. I may be mistaken but I don't think ANY car manufactures recommends Amsoil and I have to wonder why. Honda racing did extensive testing of many major oils and chose Mobil-1. eddie

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Mobil-1 does not recommend a 3000 mile change interval. Originally they promoted a 20,000? mile change interval, but US manufactures said it would void ware so Mobil suggested going for manufactures recommendations during the warrantee period and at that time they instituted the 1,000,000 mi engine warrantee for any oil related problems. Both great oils I think so use what pleases you even if it's the one they put Royal purple dye in. Good driving eddie

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Are you an Amsoil dealer?

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I am not an Amsoil dealer and do not use or recommend it as it's overpriced and etc etc. eddie

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PH wrote:

Isn't Jerre the Amsoil dealer?
Rick
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On Thu, 21 Aug 2003 13:25:53 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@marketron.com (Jack) wrote in

I have a friend who builds and maintains racing engines who is a huge supporter of synthetics. He said he's had one of his cars drive a lap after losing all the oil in the engine with no damage. I wouldn't want to run my own engine that way, but it helps to know there's some protection available.
The same guy has also torn apart engines run with non-synthetic oil which have gone over 200,000 kms with no significant wear.
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Because Mobil is a huge company and can afford to pay people to use the product? I was involved with a team sponsored by a major oil but they used something else....nice yellow stickers on the car but something else in the engine...very common. TG

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Jim wrote:

The Toyota fiasco had to do with a design problem with that particular engine, and I think it unwise to generalize about all car engines based on that anomaly (although I understand some Hondas engines had a similar problem). I checked into it because I own a Chrysler product that also has an engine (2.7L) that is prone to sludging up and failing prematurely if oil is not changed on a very regular schedule, and thought there might be a common cause from which I could learn.
The best I've been able to determine, the problems with those two engines are related to compromises being made in the oil passages to make some miniscule gains in emissions (having to do with crankcase ventilation). The smaller oil passages simply make the whole lube system very sensitive to small residue buildups which turns what would be a non-problem in a properly designed lubrication system into a serious one in those particular engines.
It's not a bad idea to change oil at 3000 to 4000 mile intervals, but I wouldn't base that decision on the Toyota engine that had a particular design problem that is not common to all engines.
FWIW, I use Marvel Mystery Oil (1/4 qt. with each oil change) and change oil and filter every 3000 to 3500 miles in my Chrysler with the sludge-prone engine to prevent sludge buildup - so far so good - it's at 98k miles with no problems. (Actually I use MMO in all my cars as extra insurance.)
Bill Putney (to reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my address with "x")
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Sounds sort of Human like? Our arteries clog if we don't flush them or if we eat lots of grease and fat and we break down from smaller passages.
Jim
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Jim wrote:

Good analogy. Those engines have bad genes (small arteries) from birth. 8^)
Bill Putney (to reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my address with "x")
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the dealer is being an ass and trying to make money. 7500 for me and after 40k+ miles, no problems noted.
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