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The Facts About Oil Changes For Your Car

Updated on November 6, 2012

Oil changes in your car

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As an experienced service center manager of over 19 years, I felt compelled to write about some everyday issues and concerns people have about changing the motor oil in their car. As a former regional manager for 14 stores and over 200 employees, I have seen recommendations on oil changes for cars change over the course of the years as well as products developed that can be misleading to consumers, and yes, even people getting ripped off.

3,000 mile theory

First, allow me to give you the facts behind the change your oil every 3 months or 3,000 miles whichever comes first. If you happen to look in the back of your owner's manual you should see two different types of maintenance schedules for your car Severe and Normal driving conditions. 80% of us do drive in what categorizes us as 'severe' drivers. This includes stop and go driving, trips of less then 10 miles, and in-climate weather such as rain, snow, and extreme hot or cold temperatures having an impact. What is considered normal driving conditions is simply starting your car, letting it get to temperature and then driving about 100 miles non-stop, almost on cruise control the entire time before it is ever shut off. You can see how the 'normal' condition doesn't apply to many of us.

So, if you fall under the severe driver category you will see that the recommendation for oil and filter change is between 3,000 and 5,000 miles. This is a fair mileage interval and does provide the ideal service schedule for your vehicles engine oil. But, what happens if you go over that mileage? The truth is oil is oil. No matter what brand you use or prefer, oil breaks down due to internal heat and friction as does it's additive package hence why it needs replaced after so many miles. Even synthetic oils, which some feel can last longer, also breakdown and require changing. All oil manufacturer's want you to think that 3,000 miles is the maximum and then change it. Why? Because they sell oil, and the more frequent that you change your oil, the more they can sell. An easy visual relation is to put a spoonful of butter in a cold frying pan, turn the heat on the pan to low, the butter will melt but coats the pan, the longer you leave the pan on, the hotter the butter gets, and eventually even though the pan is coated, the butter will burn.

Your best bet is to make sure you at least stay within the manufacturer's suggestions since they are the ones providing the warranty on the car. Once the warranty expires, I would strongly suggest you stay in accordance to what you did prior.

5w30 vs. 10w30

The next issue that comes up a lot is what kind of oil should you use? Most vehicles indicate right on top of the oil cap what weight of oil they recommend as well as in your owner's manual. 5w30 and 10w30 are the most common, year round oils for the majority of vehicles today. Some cars have also gone with a 0w20 and a 5w20. However, if you have a diesel engine, the standard oil is 15w40. Let me give you the first fact. The 'W' in 5w20 or any other weighted oil does NOT stand for weight. It stands for winter. These multi-viscosity oils have temperature responsibilities and variables in order to function correctly. The hardest thing on an engine from a lubrication standpoint is the start up. First thing in the morning, all of the engine oil is sitting at the bottom of the oil pan, until the oil pump pushes the oil from the pan to the top of the motor. The thinner the oil, the faster it can get to the top of your motor to lubricate the upper parts of the engine. So, simple math would tell you that the number to the left of the w is the cold start or 'winter' weight. 5w30 gets to the top of the motor twice as fast as 10w30 during a cold start. 5 x 2=10. For the most part once the engine oil has warmed up to temperature, it operates at a 30w temperature. This can also be illustrated in most owner's manuals that show you the temperature range of the different oil weights based on the outside temperature.

Secondarily, anybody who tells you that you can't switch oil brands or oil types is simply wrong. Unless, you are under a manufacturer's warranty and that manufacturer must provide your oil changes for free, according to the Magnussen-Moss act, you can use whatever brand you prefer. Don't let them tell you otherwise. Chrysler tried that years ago and ended up paying a fortune out to consumers who were duped into thinking they did something wrong and voided their warranties.

My engine oil light

The last piece I'll mention is the change oil soon light or the oil life index. These lights or gauges help remind owners when their vehicle is due for an oil change. Although, they are helpful, unless they are reset and understood for their purpose can sometimes be misleading. With the exception of a few vehicles, such as BMW and alike, these lights can all be reset without having to go pay somebody to do it. More importantly, these lights may not be in sync with the proper interval. These change oil lights have no idea if you oil is good, new, or empty. These lights or gauges go strictly off of your odometer mileage. Here are two examples:

You changed your oil today, drove to the grocery store and then back home. Now the change oil light came on. Why? Answer: clearly the gauge wasn't reset at the time oil was changed.

You've driven 4,642 miles and the oil change light still says you have 45% left or hasn't come on saying change oil. Why? Answer: Most of these lights are set to come on at 5,000 or 7,500 some even higher. You have to set the light to go off the same intervals you are changing oil at.

Some of this may still sound confusing, if so, I apologize but can easily answer any questions you may have. Something as easy as this shouldn't be so complicated but it is for many due to information from dealers being different from mechanics, quick lube centers, and employees working on commission. I hope I was able to give you a few tips to help save you a few bucks.

Please click and read my other two related automotive posts:

http://kdf.hubpages.com/hub/Cabin-Air-FiltersKnowledge-Is-Power

http://kdf.hubpages.com/hub/Important-Information-About-The-Brakes-On-Your-Vehicle




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    • Pinkchic18 profile image

      Sarah Carlsley 5 years ago from Minnesota

      These are useful tips! I try to be on top of my oil changes so that my car can stay regularly maintained. Plus all the other things that need to be tuned is always helpful as well. Wonderful hub!

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Thanks pinkchic18 for your comments. I appreciate it.

    • The Finance Hub profile image

      The Finance Hub 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Good tips, especially the one about every 3000 to 5000 miles, I was so upset when I found out the stickers were asking me to change my oil too early. Seems like some companies want to take advantage in every way! Great hub and tips, voted up and useful, hope that you enjoy my hubs as well!

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Thanks Finance Hub!

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 5 years ago from London, UK

      Very useful and interesting read. I'm not good on these issues, but my Mechanic is so cool.

      Every 4 months, I buy oil and some "plugs" and leave the car with him, then pick it up later. I also top up the oil once within those 4 months, if it is low. Hope that's not a bad thing to do....

      Great Hub.

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Good deal Lady E, nothing wrong with topping off oil level if it's low in between oil changes. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      This is so sad.. but so true. It is a simple thing to do and I must say I sometimes forget to check the oil. These are great tips and I must do better!

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Yes tammy, lol don't wait until it's to late.

    • bizzymom profile image

      bizzymom 5 years ago from New York

      Thanks for the useful tips! I am fortunate that my husband handles all of the car stuff, but I am glad to be well informed!

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      good deal bizzy, thanks for stopping by.

    • one2get2no profile image

      Philip Cooper 5 years ago from Olney

      Great tips.....I always forget to check the miles between oil changes and several times had the red warning light blink at me. Thanks for the hub.

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Keep your eye on those lights one2get2no, sometimes it's to late by the time the red light comes on! : )

      Thanks for stopping by

    • alanfish91 profile image

      alanfish91 5 years ago from Greenfield, Massachusetts

      Great hub! I like people to be educated about maintaining their vehicles. It makes me sad when I see cars damaged due to poor maintenance. People should make sure that their automotive service provider is honest and trustworthy, no one deserves to be taken advantage of.

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      I agree with you alanfish91. Thanks for your input.

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 5 years ago from California

      I have been trying to "encourage" male friends to blog about car issues, I have even offered to write if they simply provide the details...(Seems like I have always hooked up with gearhead types that rebuild transmissions but don't know how to put together a sentence:-)

      So finally, I am glad to see that you have written a fab hub about car maintenance! Thank you! So helpful, especially with car repairs being so costly, DIY oil changes are actually an option - Rated up and useful!

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Thanks Chatkath, any other vehicle issues you need from me, let me know! I appreciate your following!

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      This truly is a great hub. I have often wondered about oil changes (and I am notoriously horrible about getting them!) However, you really made me see how important it really is. My current car has an oil life percentage. Right now it sits at 53%. I am not really sure what that means, but I will be more aware of my oil changes from now on. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jessi10 profile image

      Jessica Rangel 5 years ago from Lancaster, CA

      WOW, This hub is really helpful! I never knew most of the information that is on here. I usually have my brother, or boyfriend worry about these details when it comes to my car, but Now I'm thinking i'm going to educate myself a bit more on this subject!

      Thank you for writing this Hub!

    • imatellmuva profile image

      imatellmuva 5 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore

      KDF this is a very important...extremely important, exceptionally important hub!!

      Luckily my father always emphasized the importance of regular car maintenance, as well as understanding the car that you have.

      I was once the chick in your photo under the car...I'm a little older now, so i don't do that anymore...but I thank you for a great hub...will definitely bookmark and share!

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 5 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      I'm driving a 1988 VW Quantum wagon and I attribute part of its long life to the good information you have provided here. Not so many years ago the price you pay for a new car today would have purchased a house! The most important feature of your car is the Owner's Manual, and most are written in language that is understandable. It will tell you what the various sensors (warning lights) mean; what the right tire pressure should be; and when you should get maintenance on your vehicle, as well as hundreds of other "good-to-knows." Read it once in a while, and enjoy the next 24 years of your car's life possibilities.

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Great responses everybody! I'm glad you found the information helpful! I will certainly create some more useful tips shortly. Thanks for all your follows.

    • peoplepower73 profile image

      Mike Russo 5 years ago from Placentia California

      KDF, I have a 1990 Maximum with 226,000 miles on it. It runs like it is new. I'm the original owner and I have changed the oil every 3,000 miles religiously. The oil is so clean, it's hard to read on the dip stick. Thanks for the hub. You get my vote up. Thanks for SHARING

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Everyone benefits from more information and you provided more information in your hub. We all know you need to change the oil! My husband is religious about changing the oil even in his old cars (39 Ford and 65 Mustang). There was a time my daughter took her car to an oil change place (I won't name), when they were done she drove less than a mile and the engine seized up. Turns out they took the old oil out but forgot to put the new oil in! Anyway, voted up and useful and Sharing. P.S. Welcome to hubpages, you're off to a great start.

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Thanks guys. Those Maxima's are great cars peoplepower73. And tillsontitan, I feel your pain, regardless of what place it was, I have seen it all and could easily see that happening although these 'oil change places' are supposed to have policies and procedures in place to prevent that. Clearly, somebody dropped the ball, hope their insurance picked up your tab! thanks all

    • KStro18 profile image

      KStro18 5 years ago from PA

      Great hub and great information! Thanks!

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Thank you KStro18!!! : )

    • somethgblue profile image

      somethgblue 5 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

      The American military has light bulbs that last a lifetime or fifty years whatever comes first.

      I own a '91 Honda Civic that I bought seven years ago for 900.00 dollars, it has 193,000 miles on it yet I do not subscribe to the 3,000 mile theory and have only put 36,000 miles on it since I've owned it which is about 5,000 miles a year give or take.

      I keep it in good shape and do routine maintenance, but the theory to change oil is to me just a gimmick to sell oil. I change it about twice a year.

      Good hub and very useful thanks for sharing!

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Thanks somethgblue, It's a Honda, she can go forever! My Dad lives by Honda!

      Thanks for the input!

    • profile image

      BobG88 5 years ago

      Good article.

      Just a few more thoughts regarding oil-change frequency. Many (most) modern oils have a "stepped" additive schedule, where oils, instead of breaking down, actually improve over mileage ranges considerably in excess of the 3K number often quoted for "severe" driving conditions (i.e., change your oil too soon, and you won't reap the benefits modern oils offer).

      The web offers many excellent articles regarding oil-change frequency, that correctly point out even oil manufacturers agree millions of gallons of oil (and dollars) are wasted on too-frequent changes.

      This has been tested and well-documented over recent years - check out the state of CA 2-year test that confirms via actual vehicle tests and oil-analysis (and there are many other, similar tests).

      Don't go crazy with too-extended intervals; however, prudence dictates ranges that are definitely beyond that 3K range.

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Excellent points BobG88, it seems like you've done your research. I agree with what you've said on the additive schedule. Although the average person doesn't read into to much detail and really follows the direction of either the service center or the dealer at least our common ground is to benefit the consumer and that's what it's all about. Thanks so much for your reading and feedback. It appears that your response has elevated my first hub to a 90 or better.!!!!!!!! WHOOT WHOOT

    • mandymoreno81 profile image

      mandymoreno81 5 years ago

      I normally just take my car in for an oil change when the light comes on. I have heard though that at higher mileage you need oil changes more frequently and even different grade oil.

    • Jimijams profile image

      Jimijams 5 years ago

      Great article! I frequently get annoyed with people who start their vehicles and instantly start driving without allowing the engine to warm up a few minutes. Especially in cold weather. Of course I'm used to carbureted car's so that's all second nature to me anyway.

    • profile image

      Rizwan 5 years ago

      Hi,

      I just scanned your post regarding changing of radiator cap of the car. I am afraid that I have been late in learning about the marvellous tip that you had posted.

      I own a Suzuki Cultus 2007 Model 1000cc (Three cylinders) without EFI.

      The problem that i face now a days is reduction in the engine oil level. The car is running smoothly, neither any weird engine sound nor any smoke is found from silencer that could indicate the deteriorating condition of the engine. I am really worried on the issue, last time I got it changed around a month before but the level of engine oil is present at most 75 %, means 25 % of the oil just gone. I got the car checked for any imminent leakage too, but found nothing there.

      I am not a very well off person, therefore can't afford a detail examination of the car or replace the engine. A friend of mine suggested me to use thinker engine oil, to solve the problem but I am really not sure, if it could serve my purpose.

      I would be extremely grateful to you, if you extend your kind advice to me on the issue, keeping in view my financial constraints.

      Waiting eagerly for you expert opinion, please.

      Sincerely,

      Rizwan Ahmed.

    • nina64 profile image

      nina64 5 years ago from chicago, Illinois

      Great hub on a good subject matter. I surely appreciate these kinds of tips, especially with me being a female driver and driving on the streets of Chicago. As of right now my car has about 133,000 miles on it and I can say that my car has lasted this long due to maintaining it properly with timely oil changes. Again, wonderful hub. Voted up!!

    • poshcoffeeco profile image

      Steve Mitchell 5 years ago from Cambridgeshire

      Thanks for the explanation about viscosity, I had no idea about the difference between 5 and 10 grades.

    • profile image

      KDF 5 years ago

      Glad I could help guys. Thanks for reading nina64, poshcoffeeco, and jimijams. Rizwan- I don't recall mentioning anything about a radiator cap in my hub, but I think I have a grasp on what you're asking. You Suzuki is 'burning' oil, which is fairly common with cars as they get higher in mileage. My suggestion, based off what you've state is to go to a higher mileage oil. Again, any brand will do just fine that's a matter or preference. Any car that has over 75k-100k miles can use what is called Higher Mileage Engine oil. The main difference in these oils as opposed to standard conventional oils is that the higher mileage engine oils contain in their additive package seal swellers and usually reduce oil consumption by 50%. So, as you stated since your losing oil but it's not leaking, chances are it is burning off oil. Give that higher mileage engine oil a shot and check your oil levels in 1000 miles, I'll bet you'll find that the oil consumption has been reduced. Furthermore, if you are above 100k miles and it's a Suzuki try a heavier grade oil, my suggestion 10w40 High Mileage oil! Thanks

    • KDF profile image
      Author

      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Mandy-

      What you heard isn't really true. See my abouve post and you'll understand about the higher mileage oil intervals. It's just important to be aware of the oil levels whether you've got high mileage or low mileage. Higher mileage cars tend to leak or burn oil faster then when they were new, so keep you eye out on it. But, in no way do you need to change your oil more frequently, keep the same program you had that successfully brought the high mileage! Thanks

    • profile image

      girltalksshop 5 years ago

      Very useful and informative hub. : ) Thanks for letting us know. It's important, I think.

    • profile image

      Gregoreo54321 5 years ago

      Hey KDF,

      I recently bought a 1995 chevy s-10 2.2 liter 4 cyl a couple of days ago, and it has no stickers on the front windshield showing when the last time it had the oil changed or the owners manual, so i checked the dip-stick and it was below full, and a little above the add mark. How can I tell if the oil is old, and or needs to be changed?

      Thanks, Greg

    • KDF profile image
      Author

      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Hey Gregoreo54321-

      Great question! Let me break it down for you as well. One thing to take note of is the best time to actually check the oil level is when the oil level is at operating temperature, not when it's cold. Most oil once it heats up similar to air tends to expand a little, so if you check the oil when it's cold and it appears slightly above the add line but under the full mark, then check it again once the oil has warmed up you may find that the oil level is actually full. One other note always make sure that you get a dipstick reading for the oil level while the car is off and on level ground, not a hill or uneven surface.

      The direct answer to your question is there really isn't any way to tell how many miles or how old the oil is in a car without documentation. Oil can turn black after just 500 miles which doesn't mean the oil is bad. Some service centers 'mark' their oil filters and write on the filter the date it was installed. You can check the oil filter and see if it has any markings on it. If not, my suggestion is just change the oil and filter that was you'll have the documentation and stickers you need, but more importantly you'll know that you've got new oil and filters on your new truck. Thanks so much for the follow and the question

    • alezafree profile image

      Aleza 5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Oh man, I really need to have my oil changed. I am way overdue. This was a really interesting read. Thank you!

    • KDF profile image
      Author

      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      LOL alezafree- join the club you're not alone! Thanks for the follow and comments

    • alissaroberts profile image

      Alissa Roberts 5 years ago from Normandy, TN

      Very useful information which also reminds me that my car needs an oil change! It seems like I always wait until the last minute because frankly I am scared of being taking advantage of due to my lack of car knowledge. Thanks for sharing your tips - voted up and useful!

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Thanks alissa- Anything a mechanic or technician suggests or recommends make them put in writing. You don't have to comply right then and there, take it home, refer to somebody who knows a thing or two about it, and then make your decision.

    • urmilashukla23 profile image

      Urmila 5 years ago from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA

      Well written!Thanks for this great information! Useful and voted up!

    • KDF profile image
      Author

      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Thanks urmilashukia23, I appreciate it. I'm considering keeping up hubs like this since it's really my niche. Feel free to see my cabin air filter hub as well. I will continue writing these kinds of hubs since it appears to be very helpful and useful to my fellow hubbers! THANKS TO EVERYBODY FOR HELPING ME GET MY FIRST 100 RATED HUB!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Elayne87 profile image

      Elayne87 5 years ago from Memphis, Tennessee

      Well here I am to add to the already abundant comments that this hub was very useful. My dad usually did all the car maintenance for us. Recently he signed over a car to me that has 320,000 miles on it. That's right 320,000. But she is still running nicely. I contribute that to my Dad's keeping it straight and keeping the oil fresh. He travels every week so he is constantly on the road. My 2001 Toyota Camry is a beast, and I plan on keepin that oil fresh to keep my car fresh!

    • KDF profile image
      Author

      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Thanks for the read, follow, and post. Keep that beast running smooth!

    • skinsman82000 profile image

      skinsman82000 5 years ago from Frederick Maryland

      I knew about much of what you wrote about oil changes, but you added a few new wrinkles I never thought about before. Good hub!

    • CZCZCZ profile image

      CZCZCZ 5 years ago from Oregon

      Interesting hub and it makes me feel better cause I never go in on 3000 miles it was always so quick it seemed and so I would end up being around 4000-5000 miles. Great hub thanks for sharing the information.

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Thanks for the readings and follows skinsman82000 and CZCZCZ. I appreciate it, glad I could help.

    • Lionesque profile image

      Lionesque 5 years ago from Providence, RI

      So 5W30 gets to the top of the engine twice as fast as 10W30? Please clarify then, why is the oil once heated up to running temperature considered 30W? Wouldn't it be thinner, and take less time to get to the top of the engine, not more? Please clarify. And thanks for the article it is great information!

    • mbwalz profile image

      MaryBeth Walz 5 years ago from Maine

      OK, I have to vote this up because the photo is so ridiculously funny! I've driven a Mitsubishi and generally get my oil changed at inspection time - and that's it. I drive my cars over 10 years! Works for me, plus it's funny to see the service guys' faces when I tell them that!

    • KDF profile image
      Author

      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Lionesque-No problem. 5w30 (which is thinner) has a better cold start flow. You're car's oil sits in the bottom of the oil pan when it's off. In colder climates or temperatures or 1st thing in the morning when you start your 'cold' engine, the flow rate of 5w30 is twice as fast as 10w30 allowing for it's flow to move throughout and up the motor. Colder temperatures and cold starts would allow for the thinner viscosity to function better. If you're in warmer climates you may find that 10w30 is better. When it's all said and done, there is little but some difference between to viscosity's. If you're still unsure, simply read your oil cap or owner's manual it clearly gives you the suggested oil to use.

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      LOL, thanks for the read and comments on the picture mbwalz. It is comical and an attention getter! Congrats on your Mitsubishi!

    • Turtlewoman profile image

      Kim Lam 5 years ago from California

      Love this article. Now I can truly relax knowing that it's ok to go over 3K miles. One time I freaked out because I realized my mechanic forgot to put that reminder sticker on! I couldn't remember what the meter read when I had my oil change, so I had to call him and ask lol.

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Thanks for the read turtlewoman. Yes, it's not the end of the world if you go beyond 3k miles, it's going to be okay and knowing is half the battle. However, I'm not saying it's okay to go 30k miles between them either. LOL

    • Hated By Liberals profile image

      Hated By Liberals 5 years ago from Eastern U.S.

      Great hub KDF - your lead in photo made me think for a minute that I could use an oil change, but at my age, the notion passed after a moment. One thing I found out at a seminar some years ago at Ford is that oils have actually three purposes. The obvious one is that it lubricates. But in addition it also cleans, if it has some detergency additives, and that is why it comes out dirty. Also it cools, which is why it absorbs heat and changes viscosity with temperature changes. Synthetic oils are better at absorbing heat from engines and other friction generated machinery. But petroleum oils that are parafinnic in their base oil molecule form with a good additive package are cost effective also if used in applications where temperature or high weight loads are NOT the primary consideration. FYI, I have been using oil filters in my vehicles that have a 'check valve' that prevents oil from draining out of the filter back to the oil pan. This oil held in the filter actually gets pumped to the points of essential lubrication as the starter is cranked, and so gets there quicker, and does not allow bearings and cams to starve for oil until the engine cranks and the oil pump produces peak pressure.

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Good stuff hated by liberals! I sense the humor with the photo. I too, need that oil change! Also, the check valve is fairly common in most filters now, and sometimes call anti-drain valves. Those are important too and so another tip that could've been added to reflect that is when people change oil the capacity only indicated pan volume, but you need to increase that volume anywhere from 1/4 qt and up to accomondate for that new oil filter. There's been many times that when taking off the old oil filter, nice hot burning temperature oil comes out of that filter. LOL

      Thanks for the read and information@!

    • RetailRich profile image

      RetailRich 5 years ago

      Good article. I've never had anyone explain this in such easy to understand detail. Thanks

    • KDF profile image
      Author

      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Thank retailrich, that's really why I enjoy doing what I do, I prefer to give explanations to my customers, and now my readers in a way that we can all understand, not in some bogus artificial way in which nobody understands what the heck your talking about. So I may know some big words in the automotive industry, who cares, just fix my car!!!! LOL Thanks for the read!

    • samadaslam profile image

      Samad Aslam Khan 5 years ago

      Frankly I came to this article due to the image KDF willingly posted. But really nice tips shared here in detail. KDF you know well how to grab attention even if the user is not willing to read... LOL!!!

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      LOL, it's all about marketing samadaslam! Thanks for reading it, glad I caught your attention.

    • alphagirl profile image

      alphagirl 5 years ago from USA

      So very helpful. The photo of the woman is funny too. I change the oil every 3000. Istop and go all the time. This was great info. Thanks for sharing.

    • KDF profile image
      Author

      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Thanks for reading alphagirl, and yes I love the picture too! She's hired! LOL

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      You called and Sunshine is here:) I am anal about oil changes. When the car is due, it's in the shop. I always expect the list of extra recommendations that come along with the oil change! Haha! Very useful hub! My mechanics never looked like the one in your photo! Haha!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      If you are on Facebook, look me up!:)

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Ahhhhhhhhh, there's my sunshine---LOL

      My mechanics never looked like that either : )

    • KDF profile image
      Author

      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Should be no problem imfrancis, and you'll save a little money as well. All oil change facilities also take your used oil for no charge, so as far as where to put the old oil, there ya go. Thanks for the follow and the read

    • KeithTax profile image

      Keith Schroeder 5 years ago from Wisconsin

      You hit a huge money saver on the head. For years I started changing engine oil when the owner's manual recommends without a reduction fuel economy or engine trouble. My cars all have body problems before engine problems (300,000 miles or more.) Following instructions is a money saver.

    • alahiker28 profile image

      Vicki Parker 5 years ago from the Deep South

      Excellent and informative. Voted up.

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Thanks so much keithtax and alahiker28. I appreciate your comments and for reading my hubs. Glad I could help!

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      khmohsin 5 years ago from London,UK

      great Hub, really informative! ;)

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      Kieran Gracie 5 years ago

      I have always thought that engine oil is much cheaper than a new engine, so regular oil changes make good sense. I take issue with you, KDF, about 3,000 miles though. Modern oils are capable of much higher mileages, I think. Most manufacturers these days recommend 9,000 or more - I heard recently that Renault are saying 30,000 miles which, if true, is truly amazing.

      Having said that, I have a rather cynical view that many modern cars are designed with the fleet users in mind. These, of course, sell off their cars after the first year, so it is entirely possible that the long-term effects of long-interval oil changes are not exactly a priority.

      My policy is to check the engine oil level when the engine is up to operating temperature but has been switched off for a minute or so (to let most oil drain back to the sump) and to look at its color. If all is well I will change the oil at the manufacturer's recommended interval (9,000 miles in the case of my Nissan X-Trail) or once a year. So far - touch wood! - I have managed several hundred thous without any problems.

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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Thanks khmohsin

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      accretian 5 years ago

      would running 0w30 on an engine that calls for 10w30 all year round be a bad idea or no? I live in BC Canada...

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      accretian-

      I wouldn't say it's a bad idea, many vehicles show 10w30 and can also accept 5w30 or 0w30. I'm curious as to why you want to use 0w30. It won't make or break the vehicle, however, if your vehicle has lots of miles on it or seal leakage or gaskets leaks anywhere, 0w30 may be prone to leak faster due to its cold operation temperature. Thanks for the question and the read.!

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      Kieran Gracie 5 years ago

      Forgot to say - great opening picture!

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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Yeah- she works for me!

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      accretian 5 years ago

      I guess i just want to have an oil that flows better during cold start up especially when its wintertime... So are you saying that it is always better to stick with the manufacturer recommended viscosity on the oil cap?

      Here's a scenario from a honda civic.. the 8th generation 1.8L honda civic calls for 5w20 on the oil cap.. the current 9th generation 1.8L honda civic calls for 0w20 on the oil cap.. im pretty sure that both of the engines are the same.. people are saying that its due to CAFE standard that's why honda made it 0w20? Most 2012 honda/toyota are already calling for 0w20 on their oil cap....

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      I here ya accretian. With Honda's (and some newer Ford+Toyotas) they have all gone to a 0w20 oil recommondation. This in part is due to such tightly woven engine building and to enhance fuel economy believe it or not. You'll see in the Honda scenario you described, Honda does allow for 5w20 if 0w20 is not available and either of those would do fine. You should be fine running a 5w30 year round, not necessary to run 0w20 or 5w20 in a car that suggests 10w30.

      Newer Hondas, Ford, Toyotas,and now Chryslers, and others have suggested 0w20 to support the CAFE or Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards. The initial fuel mileage increase was a dismal 0.0234% of an increase so they still have a long way to go. If your car says 10w30, the option I would use to help winter temperature is 5w30.

      Honda engines 5w30/5w20/0w20 whichever it suggests.

      Hope this helps and thanks for the question and reading.

    • profile image

      accretian 5 years ago

      Thanks! :D

      So you are saying that 5w30 for winter for a 10w30 engine should be good enough and no need to run 0w30? I have run 0w30 on our 4.0L engine for our minivan this winter and not sure if we actually got better gas mileage but surprisingly we were getting 400km+ on a tank before we fill up.. before we don't normally hit 400km when we fill up.. maybe its my brain that is messing around with me.. but getting more KM on one tank is always better with gas prices going up these past few days :(

      I'm not saying to run 20 weight on a car that recommends 30 weight.. im just wondering if running 0w on a car all year round that calls 5w or 10w whichever weight it is..

      Also, i got another question.. do you prefer doing basic service(oilchange+filter) at the dealership or do you do it outside or do it on your own?

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Yeah 5w30 year round will be fine. I agree with you on the gas mileage, every little bit helps, including those last few drops from the pump nozzle! : ) I do all my own oil changes, but if for some reason I had to do different, I don't like to make appointments, or wait, so I tend to goto my mechanic friend's local garage (shop) and do it. I don't ever just change oil and filter, I always inspect and top off fluids, tire pressure, and change necessary filters (air, cabin, fuel, etc) while I'm there. I, personally have done them inside, outside, garage, on a lift, in a pit, you name it, I've done it!

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      accretian 5 years ago

      Thanks! :D I guess i can just take it to a shop where i know someone and do the oil change/filter over there..

      Normally how many km do you normally do tranny, power steering and other fluid service? Is doing a full flush on the transmission a good idea or drop pan/change filter and refill is better?

      Top up fluids like engine coolant and what else?

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      All depends on year make model and manfacturers recommondations. Dropping the pan isn't needed unless the gasket is leaking or it's an older car that suggests changing the filter. Most vehicles now have screens and the transmission fluid should be flushed every 100k miles, but some even longer. Each car has different intervals.

      All fluids power steering, washer fluid, radiator fluid, battery water, and check brake fluid level(don't add brake fluid). See article https://hubpages.com/autos/Important-Information-A...

    • profile image

      accretian 5 years ago

      Thanks for the reply! :D

      100k miles? Wow that's pretty long! Maybe i should wait til my van hits 100k km before i go an do a tranny service then.. So its still gonna be another 20k km+ at least.. .Saves me money right now!

      So KDF do you always follow the oil cap recommendation when buying oils or you just always use 5w in all your car even if some of them calls for 10w?

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Pretty much stay on point with the cap. 100k miles, you'll have the do the km conversion!

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      accretian 5 years ago

      OK! thanks for the advice! i guess ill just stick with the oil cap then and just put a pretty good synthetic oil and run it for 10k km oil change intervals...

      100k miles is 160k km if im not mistaken.. 160k km is pretty long imo! if i can do it every 50.. ill just have it done.. so that my tranny would hopefully last longer and have no problems!

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Great! Thanks for following! Good communication!

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      Pamspages 5 years ago from Virginia

      Enjoyed the hub KDF. I love doing my own oil changes to my 99 Miata, so much so that I can't wait for that 3k to roll around! :) I take the Honda CRV to a mechanic though. Not so much fun to work on! Take care!

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      Eddie Carrara 5 years ago from New Hampshire

      Good hub KDF, very well written and informative. I still use a sticker on my windshield for a back up reminder,lol. Voted up and useful.

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      Thanks Pamspages, glad you are a do it yourselfer. That miata isn't exactly an easy chore. That little oil filter is in a tight spot! lol

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      I appreciate that Eddie. Thanks for the read. The sticker is a good thing and plenty useful. Thanks

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 5 years ago from Central Illinois

      LOL, thanks pamspages!

    • cbpoet profile image

      cbpoet 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      KDF, Thanks for distinguishing the facts from the myths. I found your information on the oil weights especially useful.

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 4 years ago from Central Illinois

      Thanks cbpoet, the information is out there for your benefit since oil companies and quick lube centers tend to overlook information that consumers really want. Thanks for the read and comment

    • Family Black profile image

      Family Black 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      I've been annoyed about the 3,000 mile recommendation ever since I read my Hyundai manual! Great information. Karen

    • Oscarlites profile image

      Oscar Jones 4 years ago from Alabama

      I enjoyed your article.. thanks!

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      Janet 4 years ago

      I just recently got my oil changed and the engine oil level still says it is low, it is a BMW 525xi. I read your post, does it need to be reset?

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 4 years ago from Central Illinois

      Thanks family black, I feel your pain. Stick to your manual and enjoy the 100,000 mile warranty

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 4 years ago from Central Illinois

      Thanks family black, I feel your pain. Stick to your manual and enjoy the 100,000 mile warranty

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 4 years ago from Central Illinois

      Thank you Oscarlites!

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 4 years ago from Central Illinois

      Well, it's possible. Simply check the dipstick on your vehicle with the car off and see if you're in the full range, if low take it back and have them 'top it off' for free. The other issue you may be asking refers to the dash lights that are red, yellow, green. Most BMW's require a special 'pacman' lookaike reset tool that some lube centers don't carry. The dealer likes to charge for the simply task but the key is having the tool. Who changed the oil? Give me a little more information Janet and I'll help you out.

    • profile image

      Janet 4 years ago

      It was a car wash/ quick lube center with a guy who said he had never changed the oil on a BMW before! It is a 2007 525xi, my screen just has something that keeps popping up that's says the oil is below minimum level but the car is not leaking and he put in 6.5 quarts.

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 4 years ago from Central Illinois

      Hmm, in that case if that warning light comes on and stays on the oil IS low. However, if it just comes on when you start the car and then goes away, that's part of the cars normal startup. Best suggestion for now is my original one, check the dipstick with the car off and make sure the level is at the full line. Capacity seems right at 6.5qts but I would still check the level or have someone look at it for you. If it is full and the light is still on, something may be disconnected, like the oil sending unit. For a nice car such as yours, an automotive service center may be a worthwhile choice.

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 4 years ago from Central Illinois

      Hmm, in that case if that warning light comes on and stays on the oil IS low. However, if it just comes on when you start the car and then goes away, that's part of the cars normal startup. Best suggestion for now is my original one, check the dipstick with the car off and make sure the level is at the full line. Capacity seems right at 6.5qts but I would still check the level or have someone look at it for you. If it is full and the light is still on, something may be disconnected, like the oil sending unit. For a nice car such as yours, an automotive service center may be a worthwhile choice.

    • Dancing Water profile image

      Dancing Water 4 years ago

      It pays to have the oil changed when it is time. Otherwise, we are abusing our vehicles. Thank you for pointing that out! Great hub! Thanks!

    • Erik Parker profile image

      Eric Parker 4 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas

      I have a Toyota, and they recommend changes every 5,000 miles. Of course, there's nothing you can do if the engine blows up because you didn't change the oil often enough... 3,000 miles seems like a better idea to me.

    • Kent Clarke profile image

      Kent Clarke 4 years ago from Aventura FL

      very useful info indeed. Great hub, thank you.

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 4 years ago from Central Illinois

      Thank you Kent, cool name too!

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      g37752 4 years ago

      where do you find such an appropriate picture for your article?

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 4 years ago from Central Illinois

      Lol g37752, it's all about attention-grabbing!

      When you find good help, you keep it!

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 4 years ago from Central Illinois

      Lol g37752, it's all about attention-grabbing!

      When you find good help, you keep it!

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      Kelly 4 years ago

      Thank you very much! You have no idea how nice it is to hear someone be upfront and honest. I have read all your post and you should write a book! I would buy it! Every new driver and experienced driver should have these facts. Its much like the human body, if you take care of it, (Primary Interventions) then you shouldn't need to have secondary/tertiary interventions! I have enjoyed reading your articles and thank you for the added knowledge!

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 4 years ago from Central Illinois

      Thank you for the kind words, Kelly. I'm glad I could help and appreciate that you've read my hubs. I wouldn't mind writing a book but just don't have the time between 2 full-time jobs and raising two kids but I'm open to all offers of people that want to help me write one. Heck, I'm even willing to share any profits! LOL

      Thanks Again

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      Mary 4 years ago

      I have a 2006 Kia. Had an oil change at one place (car making noises-thought that was why) The place is just a basic tire/oil place. Told me the noise was because I was leaking steering fluid. Told me to keep topping it off until I brought it to someone. Today I took my car to a dealership service for the steering fluid leak. Said I had a leak in my oil pan. Paid them for a new oil pan. Didn't tell me they changed my oil, that I had changed 2 days ago! Always had synthetic! They just went ahead and put in regular! And I have to wait until the middle of next week for them to get parts to fix the steering fluid leak. The guy at the first place said I was fine. So now I feel I was ripped off by the dealership. Caught me off guard and they got me. I came for one thing and they sold me something else. Do I have any recourse? Any hints for a woman to protect herself? Also could this one time of regular oil affect anything negatively? (besides my angst)

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 4 years ago from Central Illinois

      Mary-

      Sorry for taking so long to get back to you. I was out of town. As for the putting in of conventional oil instead of synthetic, it's okay! No problems doing that and will not cause any issues. You're welcome to go back to synthetic on your next oil change if you choose. People will say that you cannot go back and forth, but the fact is that YES you can. The further provide support to this, that is also why they have DuraBlend oils on the market (part conventional/part synthetic). They had to change the oil once they replaced the oil pan. Did you authorize either verbally or by signing something about an oil pan replacement? If not, then upon returning when you have the power steering fixed, ask, inquire. Did you have oil spots on your driveway or in the garage? If the pan itself was leaking was it damaged or was this an oil pan gasket leak? (Much difference in price). I would also try to negotiate on the labor price. Both jobs power steering and oil pan require labor hourse that you end up paying for, since you've had to make two separate trips instead of having all repairs done at once, can the labor be reduced on their part for you in order to make you happy?

      You're okay on the oil type and may still be able to have your overall bill lower then what it shows up front, ask to speak to the service manager, talk with him, explain you're feelings and situation and see what happens. Tell him exactly what you've stated here. Let me know! Good Luck

      On your second question about

    • eroller profile image

      Liheng 4 years ago from Shanghai

      Very useful information, helpful for my wallet.

    • Woodrow Goldin profile image

      Woodrow Goldin 3 years ago

      A lot of mechanics will confirm what you say about how cars don't really need oil changes every 3000 miles, they can usually go longer. Those companies that sell oil are tricky, but if I sold toothpaste I know I'd want people to think they need to brush their teeth 3 times a day!

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 3 years ago from Central Illinois

      Thanks Woodrow. I agree with you. I also see the toothpaste relationship. Changing oil every 3,000 miles isn't going to do anything negative to the vehicle so for those who still do that, they aren't wasting their money. I myself, have converted to the Mobil1 brand 5,000 mile oil for all of our newer cars 2005 and up and everything right now seems to be doing well.

    • profile image

      Jennifer Suchey 3 years ago

      Okay, so as a woman, I really have no desire to read about changing oil in a car. My husband makes sure it gets done . . . which sometimes means telling me to go have it done. ;) Your hub is no different, so don't be thinking you lured me into reading it cause I didn't. However, I have to say that the photo you used to attract readers, aka: primarily male readers I presume, just cracks me up! It got MY attention and I'm not a guy. Kudos to you for knowing how to get people to at least open your hub if not read it. At the very least you made me laugh!

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 3 years ago from Central Illinois

      Thanks Jennifer. I'm glad I was able to make you laugh. I have received many comments on the photo and wish all of my hubs could lure the attention of all. Actually, my hub was for everybody but as you state, the picture most likely grabbed the attention of more male than female readers.

      Nothing wrong with a good laugh, thanks for your comments : )

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      Christian alba muñoz 3 years ago

      I have a hyundai sonata the car has 2 years with me and only 8,900 miles so that makes me a normal driver so i wanna know what do yo think i should do about my oil I've only changed it twice its that good or should i change it more often????

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 3 years ago from Central Illinois

      Christian-

      Great question. It appears that you've done what I would consider appropriate intervals of oil changes with your low mileage Hyundai. Since it's clear that you don't drive it a lot (4,450) per year, I would make sure that you change the oil every 5k miles or annually whichever comes first.

      Although you don't put a lot of miles on it, the time that the oil sits in the bottom of the pan (when it's not running), remains cold is another reason to change it each year minimally. This way you can be certain clean oil and good additive packages are lubricating the engine when it's being utilized. Thanks for comments and reading my post

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      USCmom 2 years ago

      Hi! My teenage daughter has a 97 Honda civic. I had the oil changed back in may 2014. It has high mileage (don't know the exact amount as of right now) since the oil change she has had to put a quart of oil in it every month. Yesterday the engine locked down due to no oil. She burns about 70 miles a day. There was no oil leaks. It's a five speed. Could her car be burning that much oil?

    • KDF profile image
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      KDF 2 years ago from Central Illinois

      USCmom-

      Thanks for writing in. Sorry to about the car. Specifically, do you mean the engine locked up? Who determined there was no oil? If the oil was changed in May and only burns a quart of oil each month, based on your statement, there was oil in the crankcase..Higher mileage vehicles do tend to burn some oil which is normal especially with high rpm driving it's not uncommon especially with worn rings and other internal parts usually shown by exhaust smoke. It's possible, but I would seek mechanic.

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