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Aster's avatar

Is it ridiculous to change a car's oil every one thousand miles or useful?

Asked by Aster (15300 points ) March 9th, 2014

I just love the video on youtube where this older lady is driving around in her 1957 black and white Chevy she bought in late 1957. She lives in a condo alone. She feels changing the oil every one thousand miles has helped make it trouble free all these years. You can tell she had it detailed. It’s gorgeous. So? Silly or smart?

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4 Answers

stanleybmanly's avatar

It’s an interesting question. The Chevy you mentioned is from an era when there was enough “slop” in engine tolerances that 50— 60,000 miles was about all you could do before a ring job was necessary. I think it would be a better idea to use full synthetic oil and change it every 3000 miles. It would be cheaper and probably do a better job preventing wear. But who knows how many miles she puts on that old engine? It might be burning so much oil that she’s forced to “change it every thousand miles I spent many an hour in my youth tinkering with the 283 cubic inch V8 engines that were introduced in the 57 Chevy.

JLeslie's avatar

I barely remember the old rules. I think it was every 3,000 miles or every 6 months, whichever comes first. I might be wrong.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Contrary to myths, cars in those days, or at least the engines were produced with the goal of pushing their owners to trade them in every 3 years for new cars. Unfortunately, it was left to the Germans and Japanese to out-engineer Detroit and force even U.S. standards upwards,
@JLeslie As far as I’m concerned that 3000 mile oil change rule still holds. Religiously changing your oil is the single most important thing you can do to extend the life of your engine. The 6 month thing is about water condensing in the oil pan due to temperature changes, diluting the motor oil.

kritiper's avatar

Fairly ridiculous, but it depends. If you only drive to the corner for coffee, then back home, it’s good. If the car gets good and warm for a long time, you could prolong the change for some time. It’s not that the oil breaks down, it’s the amount of condensation that gets into the engine every time it heats up and cools off. The corrosion inhibitors in the oil break down and that is what is bad. With an engine that gets hot for long periods, the moisture in the oil gets evaporated and the corrosion is greatly diminished. Oil doesn’t really get “dirty” like it gets lots of dirt in it: it turns black from the carbon from the little amount of blow-by combustion gases that get past the piston rings. And carbon is an excellent lubricant.
The advice to change your oil every 3 months or 3,000 miles is very sound but far more important if you don’t drive it much.

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