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Changing oil in a new car?

chuck steakchuck steak Registered User regular
edited September 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
My folks are saying that the oil should be changed on a new car at 2500 km. Is this true or are they full of poo? My car is at about 4000 right now (Chevy Cobalt btw), should I take it to get an oil change tomorrow or is it not that urgent?

chuck steak on

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    oniianoniian Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    I haven't heard of 2.5k but 3k is fairly standard and 4k - 5k is what some synthetic oils claim to be their level of durability. I have a friend that believes that the quality of oil these days allows for the 4k - 5k lifespan, whether advertised or not (he has never given any evidence). I would change it when you get the chance just for the longevity of your car, but the wheels won't fall if you don't.

    Thinking about it, your system should be cleaner and the engine should be burning at lower levels of heat than an older car. Given that you should be fairly safe but that will change with time an neglect.

    oniian on
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    wasted pixelswasted pixels Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    That's very conservative. I've always been told to change the oil at 3k miles in a brand new car, and you're not quite there. Don't sweat it (unless you have free maintenance. ;) )

    wasted pixels on
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    localh77localh77 Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Just read your manual, and see what it says. I doubt it would be anything less than 3,000 miles, though. My car says to change it every 7,500 miles.

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    lifeincognitolifeincognito Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    I'd have to echo that 3k to 5k are the common standards for most cars. However, I do think your car has a manual that will tell you when Chevy wants the oil changed. Read up and see what it says that way a mechanic can't pull the wool over your eyes. Changing oil is good and while changing it more frequently than necessary isn't very bad it is an easy way to throw money down the drain.

    lifeincognito on
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    amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Actually, your folks are pretty on the money.

    Before this gets crazy... He said he had a brand new car.... Manufacturers like to put them together, slap in some economy grade oil, and run them for 20 or so miles before carting them to the dealership, between the heat this year and sitting on the lot, the oil will start to weaken a lot faster. You would be good to get it changed early on, but after that you would be safe to get it changed every 7000 miles on a cobalt, or every 5000 miles.

    Just so you don't think I'm talking out of my ass I interned a while at a body shop in school (equivilant to shop class, but we actually worked at a dealership for a couple of months) and I've rebuilt cars, and done most minor repairs. I also change my own oil most of the time.

    It's like $40 dollars to get a total job done on oil change, filter replacement, and air filter replacement, do it early so you're not calling in the warranty when you hit 30K miles. .....

    amateurhour on
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    chuck steakchuck steak Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Actually, your folks are pretty on the money.

    Before this gets crazy... He said he had a brand new car.... Manufacturers like to put them together, slap in some economy grade oil, and run them for 20 or so miles before carting them to the dealership, between the heat this year and sitting on the lot, the oil will start to weaken a lot faster. You would be good to get it changed early on, but after that you would be safe to get it changed every 7000 miles on a cobalt, or every 5000 miles.

    Just so you don't think I'm talking out of my ass I interned a while at a body shop in school (equivilant to shop class, but we actually worked at a dealership for a couple of months) and I've rebuilt cars, and done most minor repairs. I also change my own oil most of the time.

    It's like $40 dollars to get a total job done on oil change, filter replacement, and air filter replacement, do it early so you're not calling in the warranty when you hit 30K miles. .....

    Thanks, this is the answer I was looking for.

    The car has a gage that tells the oil life. Can this gage be trusted or should I just get it changed in 5000 to 7000 mile intervals?

    One last question. Is it better to go to one those drive in oil change places or a shop? Or does it not matter at all?

    chuck steak on
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    MidshipmanMidshipman Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    The car has a gage that tells the oil life. Can this gage be trusted or should I just get it changed in 5000 to 7000 mile intervals?

    One last question. Is it better to go to one those drive in oil change places or a shop? Or does it not matter at all?

    I can't imagine that the gage is any more accurate than the ink level indicator on most printers (which is to say, not accurate at all). There is no easy measure for oil life. The main motivation in changing oil is the build-up of contaminants, which isn't simple to detect by remote sensors given that there are many different types that could be cause for a change. If cars had a more rugged filtration and purification system for their oil, they could go years without needing an oil change.

    Other than how long it will take and what they are charging you, there isn't much difference between a drive through oil change and a mechanic shop. An oil change is an extremely simple procedure. If you have a bit of spare time, you might even want to change your oil yourself. Pretty much the only equipment that you need is a crescent wrench, a container to receive the old oil, and some rags. Some extra optional equipment:
    Depending on your ground clearance, you might need to use a jack to reach your oil pan drain.
    Depending on the location of your oil filter combined with your hand strength an oil filter wrench might be handy.
    A funnel could prevent messes if you don't have a steady hand at pouring oil.

    Midshipman on
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    Steve BennettSteve Bennett Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    New or rebuilt engines "wear-in" quickly at the start of their life. For this reason, it's often recommended to change oil sooner, rather than later. I'm sure a quick call to the service dept of the dealer you bought the car from will answer this question better than anyone here can, however, I think they will simply tell you to wait until the "change oil" indicator tells you to. It uses data on how the driver is driving to more accurately indicate when an oil change is due. It certainly beats an arbitrary 'kilometers driven' measurement, since it really depends on how hard you drive (slam redline a lot?), and also where you drive (cold climate?) and what the conditions are (dust storms?).

    The typical oil change interval has been 5000km (=3000miles), or 3 months, whichever comes first. THIS HAS CHANGED. SAE engineers have admitted that oil forumula and engine manufacturing technology has improved enough so that oil changes can be done less frequently. Although I don't remember what the newly recommended interval was, I believe it was something like 7,500miles (which is around 12,000km).

    (Tinfoil hat time)
    It seems the 3000miles thing was influenced by oil companies, which obviously benefit financially from increased sales. It was also a benefit of service shops, which get to take a peek at your vehicle more often, and make money from any service sales resultant from that.

    Steve Bennett on
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    DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    get a paper towel, pop the hood and pull the oil dipstick, clean off the end of it with the paper towel. insert dipstick, pull it out and take a oil level reading. wipe this oil off with your fingertips and make the "pay up" gesture. if the oil is all black and nasty and doesn't feel smooth then change the oil. wash your hands, used motor oil = bad.

    changing the oil early (say at 1K miles) the first time couldn't hurt, and is usually recommended for highly tuned engine (forced induction engines, or engines designed for high specific output). take used oil to the auto shop, there's always a barrel for you to dump it in (ask first).

    religiously changing the oil at 3K miles will only lengthen the life of your engine, it might be overkill but it might make 200K+ miles possible. you could always stagger it and change the oil every 3K and the oil filter every 6K.

    oil change shops are fine, if you're going to put fancy synthetic oil in a car that does not have a highly tuned engine, then you may want to just do that yourself. when changing your own oil it's a good idea to check other fluids (coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid). just eyeball the levels (they're typically in translucent containers) and top-up anything that's low.

    Djeet on
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    RuckusRuckus Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    When to change your oil depends a lot on how the car is driven as well.

    For instance, I used to live in a rural area, so the majority of my kilometers where on the highway. Back then, I'd change my oil ever 6000k with synthetic oil. Since I've moved to the city, I know my engine gets a bit more of a workout because of the more frequent stopping/starting, so I change the same synthetic oil every 4000k.

    Additionally, I always change my own oil, because I know my own vehicle. It also gives me a chance to keep an eye on things on the underside of my car, while I'm under there draining the oil/changing the filter I usually swing past the clutch, differential, transfer case, and my CV joints and driveshaft and check all those areas for wear/cracks/leaks (I've got to wait a few minutes for all the oil to drain out anyway).

    Ruckus on
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