The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

13 July 2006

The change, they are a-timin'

Valvoline asked a bunch of ASE-certified auto techs when they thought you should have your oil changed, and the majority of them said every 3000 miles, exactly what you'd expect them to say.

On one level, this is no more persuasive than, say, the Chick-fil-A cows asking you to "eat mor chikin"; on the other hand, erring on the side of caution, while it has its price, is perhaps less likely to lead to grief than erring on the side of "Maybe later."

Me, I drive about 10,000 miles a year, and generally get three oil changes during that year:

  1. Right before the World Tour (2750 miles).
  2. Right after the World Tour (7250 miles).
  3. Halfway between World Yours (10,000 miles).

In practice, this means one in June, one in July, and one in December or January. This has worked rather well for me for several years. Infiniti recommends 3750 miles for Gwendolyn, which works out to three in 11,250 miles, which is, I think, sufficiently close to my own regimen. (On the other hand, I think leaving spark plugs, even platinum-tipped spark plugs, in an engine for 105,000 miles is insane.)

I might also mention that motor oil is a hot, nasty fluid, which means that it might be advisable to dress before removing the drain plug.

Posted at 3:54 PM to Driver's Seat


It's amazing how long you're supposed to go for some things on modern cars. I still have trouble accepting that a car isn't dying at 120-130k miles. Nevermind waiting until 100k for things like plug changes.

Yet they really are that much better. My father, owner of a body shop for 35 years, swears by new cars and would never want to go back.

Posted by: Jay at 10:40 PM on 13 July 2006

That survey won't improve the public image of an already rather untrustworthy group-those mechanics know that no manufacturer says their cars should have their oil changed that often. On my Honda Accord the manual says 6 mos/7500 miles.

And Valvoline knows better, too. That's a scam "on wheels."

Posted by: John Salmon at 12:03 AM on 14 July 2006

I've had several knowledgeable auto folks tell me it is safe to ignore what the Owner's Manual says (3000) and change the oil every 5000 to 7500 miles. Seems the 3000 (or 3750) is something the manufacturers have kept in print in order to have almost assured grounds for rejecting warranty claims involving the engine.

Unless, of course, driving in harsh conditions, which most folks don't. Only ones that do are 4x4 off-roaders and NYC cabbies.

Posted by: Winston at 6:14 AM on 14 July 2006

I change mine every 2,000 to 3,000 miles. Being as I drive around 15,000 miles per year this means around five times. The Quick Change place that I use recently started putting 5,000 mile stickers on my windshield but I still go back at 3,000 tops. All I can say is since I have started doing that I have had much better luck repair wise. Formerly when I only changed it once or twice per year I had lifters that were noisy and other embarassing things. I also change the plugs once a year and flush the transmission and radiator every other year.

Posted by: ms7168 at 6:23 AM on 14 July 2006

The 626 had some unexpected replacement items: a set of plug wires will last 60k, maybe.

Infiniti presents me with some new things to contemplate, one of which is a cabin air filter. (Apparently one must pull the bottom of the dash to get to it.)

Posted by: CGHill at 7:13 AM on 14 July 2006