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Old 01-17-2009, 07:14 PM   #1
xsicdn
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Oil change frequency question

I have a new 2008 Altima with a 2.5L engine, no turbo. The Service and Maintenance Guide shows 2 optional maintenance plans. The first plan calls for oil changes every 6000Km (3700mi). This plan is for frequent short stop & go trips, dusty conditions, or trailer towing. The second plan is for oil changes every 12000Km (7500mi); it is supposed to be used for all other driving conditions. I drive 90% of the time at speeds in excess of 50mph to/from work along a highway for 25mi.

I usually do my own oil changes, but I let the dealer do the first 6000Km oil change because I had to bring it in for another problem anyway. My initial plan was to do another change at 12000Km with synthetic oil, and then every 12000Km from then on with synthetic. I have never let a car go 12000Km on an oil change so I wasn't really comfortable with that; I decided that every 10000Km would be more in my comfort zone and exceeds the manufacturer's recommendation.

This week my car turned over the 10000Km mark. The weather here has been brutally cold, and I wasn't keen on crawling under my car, so I took it to the local Nissan dealer's quick-lube bay. Well, they were flabbergasted that I didn't want their deluxe $163 12000Km maintenance package. Three different people came to talk to me about it. They tried to scare me by saying that I was voiding my warranty by following schedule 2 in the Nissan maintenance guide. I just shook my head.

One thing they tried to convince me was that synthetic oil should be changed more frequently than conventional oil because "it burns off quicker". I had been under the impression that the synthetic oil did not break down as fast and therefore could be used for longer change periods.

Is this true? Does synthetic oil burn off more quickly. If so, wouldn't just topping-up solve that rather than a full oil change? I know I was being BS'ed by the dealer about voiding the warranty, but now I'm wondering if even my 10000Km oil change plan is the right thing to do.
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Old 01-17-2009, 07:38 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xsicdn
Is this true? Does synthetic oil burn off more quickly. If so, wouldn't just topping-up solve that rather than a full oil change? I know I was being BS'ed by the dealer about voiding the warranty, but now I'm wondering if even my 10000Km oil change plan is the right thing to do.
Sounds like they just want to scare you in to paying them much more money than you need to. I believe Synthetic oil tends to be thinner than mineral oils, but has the same properties in it so should still be okay...
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Old 01-17-2009, 08:16 PM   #3
xsicdn
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Originally Posted by Cliffy
I believe Synthetic oil tends to be thinner than mineral oils, but has the same properties in it so should still be okay...

Doesn't the viscosity rating indicate how thick/thin the oil is? Are you saying that synthetic 5W30 is thinner than conventional 5W30? Unfortunately, the owner's manual says nothing about conventional vs. synthetic oil; it just says 5W30 year round.
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Old 01-17-2009, 10:04 PM   #4
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They're trying to rip you off. If anything synthetic oils last longer. Maybe not the 15,000 miles Mobil was trying to say at one time. But I do believe they last longer. Ofcourse, this doesn't mean the oil filter will last longer. When the filter get too plugged up it goes into bypass mode and will no longer filter your oil.

Now, getting on topic because I kinda strayed there, you really should be following maintenence schedule 1. This schedule is for "Heavy duty" driving. Schedule 2, is for "Normal duty" driving. Now, we all know we think what we do is considered normal duty driving. But guess what? There is no such thing as normal duty driving. Dirt gets in the oil no matter where you are and some other reasons I forgot since I went to school.

Now, with that being said, It's my (Conspiracy) theory that they put that schedule 2 in there for people to interpret into the way they THINK they drive (normal) and then leads to engine failure down the road (usually JUST after the new car warranty is up. Go figure). I suggest you change your oil according to schedule 1. As far as synthetic, as long as you buy a name brand oil (Mobil, Penzoil, Quaker State) along with a brand name oil filter (Mobil, STP, Fram) you should have no problems with the OIL lasting up to 7,000 miles. BUT you will still have to change your filter every 3,000 (Or 3700 or whatever.).
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Old 01-21-2009, 05:06 AM   #5
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I have a '99 Ford Escort that just turned 200,000 miles. I have used various different synthetic oils, but always a "Pure 1" filter. I usually change the oil and filter at 8-10,000 miles and have gone as much as 20,000 miles. Most of my miles are highway. There is no buildup of gunk at all the motor, and does not burn a drop of oil. Synthetic oil can take a lot of abuse. I am not recommending you follow the intervals I use, but you could use plan 2 with no problems.
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Old 01-21-2009, 08:59 AM   #6
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Yea, you have a pretty solid understanding of this stuff, don't let them try and scare you into their gimmics. I change synthetic in my car every 4000 miles because I drive hard and have a turbo, plus it's not that expensive to do since I also turn my own wrenches.

GL with the car.
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Old 01-22-2009, 04:15 AM   #7
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OK thanks all.

I'm going to go with the 10,000Km (6200mi) synthetic oil plan and always do it myself. I'll check the level at 5000km and top-up if required. If it feels gritty, I'll change just the filter. Everything will be written in the maintenance booklet, and all receipts kept. I think that will cover my big asset.

I don't think they'll be seeing me again at that Nissan dealership.

Last edited by xsicdn : 01-22-2009 at 04:19 AM.
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Old 01-22-2009, 01:43 PM   #8
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I got amazed with those oil change intervals you are talking about. In my case, with a diesel engine, the maker recomends changing oil every 15000km (about 9400mi). For Alfa Romeos with petrol engines, the change should be done every 20000km (12000mi).

And have a look at the next paragraph, which I tranlated from the spanish site of VW:

An oil change interval is the period between oil changes of engine or transmission. On models with Volkswagen gasoline engine, for example, the service interval for the recommended oil change is after a maximum of 30,000 km or after two years. For vehicles with four cylinder [TDI] engines the oil change is not needed until 50,000 km had been covered, depending on the way the vehicle was driven. These intervals with economic benefits for the customer are possible through new and improved engines, combined with specially developed oil.

(You will find the original text in spanish in the following link: http://es.volkswagen.com/vwcms/maste...lle.index.html

Well, people here uses to follow maker's plans and, despite of this, you don't use to see wrecked engines around (always supposing you are not racing).
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Old 01-27-2009, 07:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newyorker
Yea, you have a pretty solid understanding of this stuff, don't let them try and scare you into their gimmics. I change synthetic in my car every 4000 miles because I drive hard and have a turbo, plus it's not that expensive to do since I also turn my own wrenches.

GL with the car.

I don't need luck, as I stated I have 200,000 MILES on motor and it does not burn a drop of oil or have any gunk buildup . If I had a turbo and drove hard, I would change my oil a little more frequently. Use a GOOD filter. Read the specs on how well they filter. Don't just pick one because of the name.
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Old 01-27-2009, 07:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Endorf
I don't need luck, as I stated I have 200,000 MILES on motor and it does not burn a drop of oil or have any gunk buildup . If I had a turbo and drove hard, I would change my oil a little more frequently. Use a GOOD filter. Read the specs on how well they filter. Don't just pick one because of the name.
Umm, actually I wasn't even talking to you.
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Old 02-03-2009, 02:04 AM   #11
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Sorry about that. May the fleas of a thousand camels infest my armpits.
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Old 02-03-2009, 06:54 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Endorf
Sorry about that. May the fleas of a thousand camels infest my armpits.



And may that happen far far far away from me.
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