QotW: What’s your oil change routine for your car(s)?

There’s the old joke about a wrenching noob that goes into an auto parts store to ask for a 710 cap. Well, in Japan they’ve gone and made an entire day out of it. Today, July 10, is officially Lubrication Oil Day as registered by Japan’s  National Petroleum Industry Cooperative Association. Specifically, it’s because the word “OIL” printed on the cap looks like “710” when turned upside down.

Oil an important part of engine maintenance, but there are as many ways to go about it as there are types of cars. Do you religiously stick to a premium brand or just pull whatever is cheapest off the Walmart shelf? Do you keep on a strict 3,000-mile schedule or go with the manufacturer’s recommendation? Do you always use an OEM filter or just hand the keys over to a JiffyLube mechanic?

What’s your oil change routine for your car(s)?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s the most ‘American’ JNC?“.

There were lots of good answers this week, starting chronologically with CycoPablo‘s pick of the “poor man’s Mustang” Toyota Celica Liftback. Another early model chosen by 555jay was especially fitting, as the Subaru BRAT was never sold in Japan. Similarly, エーイダン‘s nomination of the Toyota Tacoma XtraCab V6 was another America-only offering.

Taylor C.’s suggestion of the Toyota Avalon is a good one, often described as a Japanese Buick. Alan‘s selection of the behemoths known as Honda Gold Wing trikes was all too perfect. speedie‘s pick of the Honda Accord also made sense, as it was the first Japanese car to be built in America an imported back to Japan. In the same vein, both f31roger and Ian G. nominated the Mitsubishi Eclipse and its twins.

In the end, it was streetspirit’s appointment of the a different Mitsubishi that made us chuckle and won the week:

Defineatly the 3000-gt SL, especially in white with a tan interior it’s a beautifull continuation of the personal luxury coupes the US was known for in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.

– it’s zippy but not fast.
– the chrome wheels remind me of ‘boomer-spec’ corvettes.
– looks right at home next to a trans am or mustang.
– there even was an american version in the form of the stealth.
– they’re comfy and ready for long roadtrips.

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

JNC Decal smash

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14 Responses to QotW: What’s your oil change routine for your car(s)?

  1. Fashion Victim says:

    Nothing that special for me. I stopped being pedantic about oils. I bought 6 bottles of Shell Helix Ultra 5W-40 roughly 4 years ago. It was on sale and very cheap. I still have 3 bottles left, at this rate it would last me about 3 years, as I change oil yearly. My JNC does not see much miles, not more than 10000km a year, some years only 5000km.
    I change either every year, or between 5000km to 7000km, and try to do it in the middle or end of the year. Filters can range from Toyota, Eneos or PIAA. Currently on double filtration PIAA oil filter.

  2. Ginkei Garage Inc. says:

    I just keep it simple with my 135’000km 2014 BRZ.
    Every 10’000km or 12 months, whatever comes first. 5.5 litres 5W30 from Motul, OEM filter from Subaru, and there it goes, that’s a 30 min job mostly thanks to the easy access oil filter. Thinking of adding a Fumoto valve to speed up the drain process a bit, but that’s all it require. I still can’t believe people are OK to pay 400$ at a garage to have it done. And doing it yourself is also a great occasion to connect with your car.

  3. Taylor C. says:

    This week’s QotW might get me flamed a bit, but here goes. Advance Auto Parts is my friend, and with their oil change bundles and constant %15 off coupons, I tend to stock up on those, not really biased towards an specific brand. All the cars use synthetic oil in a wide range of viscosities.

    For the commuter cars (Mazda 6 and Nissan Cube), I change them every ~8000 miles, and depending on what’s included in the bundle, I try and make sure I get the good oil filter. So if it’s a FRAM, I’ll make sure it’s at least a Tough Guard, or a Mobil1 filter.

    With the non-commuter cars, I am quite less vigilant with their intervals, and leverage more towards miles instead of duration. I understand motor oil has a shelf life, moreso when it’s opened or in the engine. However, they’re all synthetics, so I tend to turn a blind eye towards changing the oil. I changed the 1998 M3/4/5 oil back in June with Shell Rotella diesel engine oil; the last time was back in 2019! I just changed the oil on the Prelude this weekend; the last time was back in May 2020, and about 7000 miles ago. The next longest duration was the 1995 300ZX, which had a three(?) year duration and maybe 3000 miles? It’s been so long that the Sharpie writings on the oil change reminder stickers faded over the years! Same with the Miata; I change the oil on that 207k mile engine last year, and I think the last time before that was at least three years back….

    Knock on wood on engine longevity….

  4. steve says:

    For the F150, I use Motorcraft spec oil and filters…I had the cam phasers warranty work done and that was after I used another brand of oil, perhaps there was a reason the ports/filter in the phaser got plugged.

    Audi gets 502.0 spec Mobil 1 and Mann filters
    Mazda Miata and both the GTX’s all get dino spec oil and K&N filters

    Never seen a Jiffy Lube in my life – I have heard so many stories…fixed some for others too.

  5. Alan says:

    I change the oil in my SA22C every time I fill the fuel tank – first gas, then premix, then Marvel Mystery Oil – the metering pump is disabled. It smells absolutely intoxicating, like a busy 2-stroke factory in Santa’s Village, peppermint walls and all.

  6. f31roger says:

    I do my engine oil changes every 3k. When I was 21 years old, I worked 3 jobs (main job was fulltime, but rotating 12 shifts) and one working at Precision Tune Auto Care on certain days.

    With my cars being somewhat fresh engines (2014 Sienna has 100K, Previa is about 40k on fully rebuilt engine and my M30 had 2018 rebuild – I’m a preventative maint person).

    Routine – Engine flush every other time, change oil and filter every 3k and if an leaks, find and and change out (rear main seal, oil pan gasket…etc).
    I use the oil that is recommended from the service manual and I add Seafoam to oil.

    RB25det will use Motul oil.

  7. Land Ark says:

    There! Are you happy? Yes, I’ve been procrastinating on changing the oil on the Celsior for a couple weeks. And yes, this was the final straw that finally got my butt in gear and out there to change it. It didn’t hurt that it wasn’t as oppressively hot and humid here today.
    To be fair, it’s a bit less than a year since my timing belt service which is when it was last changed, but only just. It had 77k kms when I bought it and it now has 84k.

    Generally speaking since I rotate what I drive throughout the year, I change oil annually which ends up being right around 3k miles total. Last year I think my GTO had less than 500 miles. My Legacy GT and its finicky turbo gets an annual oil change and an oil analysis each time – usually nearing 3k miles. And my Impala and its 140 miles in 2 years gets a bi-annual oil change.

  8. Jonathan P. says:

    I try to do mine every 5,000 miles.
    Super Tech oil’s done me good so far.
    Filters I’m not too picky about, I get toyota filters from the local ‘O Reilly’s for the Scion if they’re in stock.
    Nissan gets whatever as far as filters go, but if I do an personal oil change, it’s getting Super Tech oil.
    I sometimes put a little bit of ATF in the oil to clean up the insides a little bit.

    • Taylor C. says:

      ATF can be had inside the engine crank case? I have never heard of that before. Does it work?

      • Jonathan P. says:

        Grain of salt of course.
        Buddy of mine told me that ATF has detergents in it that help keep the walls cleaner. Explained it to me kinda like this, You ever seen the inside of a transmission when they’re taking it apart, it’s clean in there. Gotta be something with the fluid”.
        He also told me of a guy who drove a beater that rattled like a snake, put one or two quarts of ATF in it, the detergents in the fluid broke down the gunk in his head that was preventing proper lubrication and it quietened down after a week or so. I don’t put in a whole quart, just a dash or three.

  9. Jim Daniels says:

    Oil questions on line can start a never ending debate. This question is specific to routine and not what is “the best”.
    Just like people cars have different needs. Oils of today are different than oils from 1972 when most if not all motor oils had high zinc levels. Finding a high zinc oil in a local parts store can end up in placing an order or going on line to find what you are looking for or finding a zinc additive to supplement a modern oil. I have found synthetics tend to weep at all gasket when added to old cars no mater the viscosity.

    So as it appears that Castrol has stopped making Classic (high zinc oil) I have switched to Valvoline VR1 20-50w for my 240Z. The Z gets very few miles and I change the oil annually regardless of how few miles it sees. Valvoline VR1 40w for my Ski Natique with flat tappet cam is changed annually or every 50 hours. I use Wix or K&N oil filters. The Z is simple to change an Allen wrench to the pan and a filter wrench to the filter. The boat has a plug in the hull under the motor and you drop a hose that is attached to the oil pan out the bottom. Loosen the fitting and let it drain the filter is and easy filter wrench.

    My modern vehicles I use Toyota, Wix, or Honda filters. My 2010 Toyota Tundra Supercharged receives Mobil 1 0-20w. Just living where I do and I tow various trailers, I meet the severe duty oil change of 5000 miles. Although Toyota states 10,000 mile changes almost all vehicle usage meet the 5000 mile standard.The truck is a PITA to change. First you have to remove the skid plate to access the oil cooler that houses the filter and drain oil all over yourself with removal. The drain kit that comes with the filter does not work. Next a pan bolt to drain the oil pan. Then you get to act like a spider laying on your back to hold the skid plate in place while you start the bolts and spacers. Then add 8.5 qt of oil. Start motor and check for leaks.

    My wife’s 2016 Honda Pilot receives the same treatment. Turn the steering wheel to full left. Attempt to reach filter with filter wrench. Drain oil all over the plastic under belly parts that you can not fully wipe clean. Replace filter in the same PITA manner. Drop the pan bolt and drain the pan oil, refill with oil. Start motor and check for leaks.

    I usually drain my motor oil cold as the last time the motor oil was hot it drained to the pan. I know that experts say you should warm up the motor to operating temp prior to changing the oil so all the oil is drained to the pan. I say that happened the last time I shut the motor off. Then I always get that shocked look like I never thought of that. It is not fun changing hot oil.

    • Taylor C. says:

      Good read. I empathize on how some cars make it so messy when changing oil; belly pans getting soaked, putting on / removal heavy plates, etc. Surprised the companies haven’t made oil changes foolproof.

  10. Kevin H. says:

    My Pacifica minivan and 500 Abarth get their oil changed when the cars tell me to change the oil. New vehicle= no thinking.

    Now for the old ones:
    1st off, I learned a very important rule from working for an oil change shop and a couple of mechanic shops; the best oil to use in a car is, wait for it… engine oil. The weight rarely matters as long as the damn engine gets lubrication. (sorry for the enthusiasm, but the number of cars I’ve seen come in for oil changes that were a year to years over will make you lose all hope for humanity)

    That said, I use what the engineers designed the 1JZ-GTE and BP to be lubricated with. the weight of oil the engineers had in mind. I still use full synthetic because of its slower degradation.

    I check my oil by taste. If it is tasteless it is new. If it tastes like oily, day-old, weak, black coffee, with a slight tinny aftertaste it’s time to change. (JUST KIDDING. DO NOT TASTE OIL)

    But for real: Working at an oil change shop you get to unintentionally taste all kinds of automotive lubricants. You also get to shower in them if it flows just right on a cross-member. Gear oil is my f&*#ing fav!

    In all seriousness: I keep track of the mileage between my oil changes, look at the color/translucency of the oil on the dipstick, and check the level once in a while.

    I try and use a Toyota filter for the 1J and a Mazda filter for the Miata. If I am impatient I try and buy a Purolator or Wix filter. I’ve cut apart many filters in my time and they have impressed me the most.

    Also, I always change my oil hot. A little pain lets you know you’re alive 😉

    • Alan says:

      “Also, I always change my oil hot. A little pain lets you know you’re alive.”

      Love this, well said Mr. FCA/Stellantis daily driver.

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