How to save money by only changing your oil once a year

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  • Hoopty6 OGDEN, UT
    Jan. 18, 2013 8:35 a.m.

    So he is an Amsoil dealer. Figures. I wondered why he wanted everyone to contact him instead of just providing the pertinent info in the article itself. And why is DN providing the platform for this type of promotion?

  • Hoopty6 OGDEN, UT
    Jan. 16, 2013 12:36 p.m.

    Has anyone received a response from this guy?

    On another note, there is a lot of myth and random comments with no evidence here. There is one easy way to tell EXACTLY when you need to change your oil--a simple oil analysis test. Costs about $20 and will probably take a few of them to get dialed in just right, but once you have it figured out you will know exactly how long you can go with only periodic testing/analysis after that to make sure your routine is still working. It will cost a little more up front, but for a vehicle you plan on keeping it will pay for itself. Keep in mind when doing this that you need a high efficiency/high capacity oil filter that is capable of going the distance you are going.

    I hope to hear back from the author that I emailed too...

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Jan. 16, 2013 9:28 a.m.

    Take a drop of new motor oil, and place it on a piece of toilet paper. See how it spreads. Take a drop from the oil in the engine, and compare how it spreads with the new. Do this before it heats up.

    If the old drop spreads much quicker, then it's time for a change.

  • Alfred Ogden, UT
    Jan. 14, 2013 10:59 p.m.


    Took the F-150 to the shop because one plug kept fouling. The guy pulled the dipstick, wiped off some oil and rubbed it between his thumb and finger and said... "You need a complete overhaul." Apparently, he was feeling for fine carbon grit in the oil. Dirty oil, he said, wears the rings, letting oil past, fouling your plug.

    Traded it off on a 1997 Toyota Camry 12 years ago. Change the oil on the Camry when it starts getting a bit off color... about every six months. Don't drive very far... just around town and maybe once per year on a vacation. Runs like a top with 130,000. Should last another 100,000 at least.

  • LDSareChristians Anchorage, AK
    Jan. 14, 2013 10:04 p.m.

    TOO, well depending on how frequent your father topped off the oil, it might have been getting a complete oil change every few thousand. I had a car like that once. ;-)

    Alfred, I currently own a diesel, clean isn't a determining factor for oil replacement. It's black before the first 100 miles. BTW, it's a 1986 Vanagon Turbo-Diesel with 367,000 on it. Gets 30mpg so I keep it going. It's 160 miles round trip to my retirement home building site, so makes the trips affordable. Few years back got 34mpg on a trip with two 250 gallon polyurethane tanks on top and 3/4 ton load plywood inside (doing 40-45mph due to high profile).

  • Alfred Ogden, UT
    Jan. 14, 2013 9:39 p.m.

    Yeah, well... I didn't change the oil on my F-150 until it got sorta black. Vehicle lasted about 125,000 miles. Same with my Pontiac Catalina.

    Check the oil color regularly. If it loses it's brightness get it changed.

  • John Reading LITTLETON, CO
    Jan. 14, 2013 9:20 p.m.

    I let my Chevy Malibu Classic go over 4000 miles between oil changes, and got to put a new engine in for my efforts. Most motors can go longer than 3000 miles, but there are some notable exceptions.

  • L Central, Utah
    Jan. 14, 2013 8:54 p.m.

    @jt - Many dealers will also demand receipts for vehicle service before they will honor a warranty claim. One "story" around the office years ago said they wouldn't even accept his word, even though it was true, that he chainged his own oil at the 3000 mile interva;.

    We all know that a warranty is only as good as a dealer, but in many cases he could be making more money doing non-warranty work so that might be a motivation for some.

  • jttheawesome Scranton, PA
    Jan. 14, 2013 7:42 p.m.

    MY only question is, my 2011 Kia has only 15,000 miles on it, and it is under warranty until 60,000 or 5 years. The maximum allowable interval for oil changes is 7500 miles, in order to maintain the warranty. What do do?

  • Nan BW ELder, CO
    Jan. 14, 2013 5:42 p.m.

    Sorry, I'm going to continue having oil changes at about 5,000. We had an older vehicle that had the oil changed regularly (because I could do it in exchange for evaluating the experience), and that vehicle lasted longer than I hoped. I'd rather take the small amount of time and get it done, and know the oil hasn't solidified with debris. However, I will admit that my dad, age 91, thinks yearly is good enough for his vehicles, which aren't driven a lot of miles (200 a month?). He has always taken better care of his tractors than his road vehicles.

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    Jan. 14, 2013 5:26 p.m.

    Let's see, my brand new $40,000 Ford F-150 recommends changing the oil every 5,000 miles with synthetic blend motor oil. I can change it in my garage in about ten minutes and spend about $35. Hardly a waste of time or money.

    I think I'll trust their judgment. They are the ones who warranty my truck.

  • Wyominguy Buffalo, WY
    Jan. 14, 2013 5:10 p.m.

    Interesting article but to me its over generalized. Yes you can do as the author says, however what he is speaking about is one aspect of servicing a vehicle, the oil change. There are many other components that should be checked Often, things such as the driveline and associated gear boxes ( transfer case, differentials, U joints to name a few) . Additionally air filters should be checked as often in Spring and Winter they become a wonderful home for errant mice. Coolant levels should be checked as well as freeze point and acidity. Then the TIRES, as well as the SPARE. ( Im sort of smiling about tires as the authors magnificent Toyota will have the spare upside down and can't be checked without lowering it so they go flat often) Can you do this in 20 not...all Im saying is the author wrote a self serving article and people should look at it for what it is...self serving. ( BTW..on that Toyota, if its 4x4 the MGF wants the U Joints Lubed each service, try doing THAT is 20 minutes my friend) ( also don't forget to R&R the front cover plate and 6-8 bolts ..LOL)

  • TOO Sanpete, UT
    Jan. 14, 2013 4:30 p.m.

    Whoa Nellie
    No, he just uses regular oil. I always make fun of him because when he checks his oil, he seems to use the dirtiest, most nasty rag he can find on the garage floor. When it's low, he just tops it off and away he goes. No special oil at all...just regular.

  • SS MiddleofNowhere, Utah
    Jan. 14, 2013 3:51 p.m.

    For most cars you shouldn't wait longer than about 5,000 miles simply as a precaution. Can you go longer, sure, but the odds of having problems that could have been avoided go way up after that. My parents only ever changed their oil once a year and now they have a car that they nearly totaled by not changing the oil enough. The engine was clear full of metal slivers. My brother-in-law is a mechanic and is very sure to change the oil in his own vehicles every 3-4 thousand miles. Yes, you can go longer, but the risks for the majority of cars go way up after about 5,000. And it is a lot easier to change oil than to replace an engine or buy a new car. I'll take my chances with changing my oil in my truck that has 250,000 miles on it.

  • Whoa Nellie American Fork, UT
    Jan. 14, 2013 3:45 p.m.


    Does your dad use synthetic oil or something else that might not be sold in the neighborhood auto parts store?

  • TOO Sanpete, UT
    Jan. 14, 2013 3:29 p.m.

    My dad changed his oil for the 2nd time just two weeks ago on his Ford Ranger--he has put 200,000 miles on it.
    That sounds a little exagerrated to some, but it's true. My dad only changes oil once in a great while on ALL his vehicles, and they all have lasted well more than 300,000 miles before they are done. His Ranger now has 350,000 and still running, his Dodge Van has almost 400k and still running, and his Impala at almost 300k and still going strong.

  • Third try screen name Mapleton, UT
    Jan. 14, 2013 2:52 p.m.

    My last two cars have had a computer tell me when to change the oil based on starts, run time and engine temp. It tells me to change the oil after about 8,000 miles, give or take.
    I'm gonna follow the light on the dash, not Zak's theory...just in case there's a warranty question.

  • johnnylingo62 Gray, TN
    Jan. 14, 2013 2:23 p.m.

    maybe I'm a little slow, but where do I find Zak's email address?

  • jpjazz Sandy, UT
    Jan. 14, 2013 11:39 a.m.

    I just dropped an email to Zak, ready to make the change.

  • JohnInSLC Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 14, 2013 11:19 a.m.

    OK, Mr. Anderegg, time to name the synthetic-material filters available. I've learned which oils are true synthetic, but I need a little help with the filters.