Sorry for the off topic post, but the Toyota and Lexus newsgroups are
dead. Since there are plenty of knowledgeable and opinionated people
here I am throwing this out for your comments.
Five months ago I bought a certified 2013 Lexus RX350 with 16K miles
from the dealer. The first service call is complimentary and that
includes an oil change. My dashboard service light came on around 5K
miles so I called the dealer to schedule the oil change. They told me
this vehicle uses synthetic motor oil and recommended oil change
intervals are 10K miles. I looked in the service manual and sure
enough that's true.
In my Toyotas I would change the oil at 5K miles using conventional
oil. It makes me somewhat nervous to go 10K miles between changes but
I guess synthetic is that much better and doesn't get dirty or break
down. I've reached the 10K mile point and am going in today for the
The next oil change will be done by myself. Does anyone else use
synthetic motor oil and how long do you go between changing it? What
brand do you use?
I drive Acura MDX and oil change interval varies depending on driving
condition and weather. Yes, dash shows oil life by percentage and
when it nears zero it triggers service reminder as an alpha numeric code.
Today's oil lasts long time. If you want to change oil yourself, you'll
have to know how to tell the computer on board, oil is changed. In the
case of Acura, if you don't it'll not remind next oil change. In
addition, spark plugs last LONG time too. I use Iridium plugs and it can
last life time of the car. Seems like oil life decreases faster when
you do high speed, high temp. long highway driving. My oil life is
sitting at 30% at present. Last oil change was last November. I change
wife's car oil and I do it only once a year since new, no problem at
all. I notice some new cars don't even have dip stick any more. On BMW
that is an optional add-on. My son uses synthetic oil on his WRX STi.
He changes it once a year. I notice he uses Red line from day 1. My car
uses 5W-20 Honda brand oil at the dealer all the time.
I stick with what the mfr recommends as far as what oil to use. I don't
know about newer cars, but for mine I just go by time and mileage. My
experience is to check the dip stick when oil is fresh, rub the oil
between fingers, smell it, put a drop on a white paper towel. Not
every time, but just for curiosity, I have kept a pill bottle with some
of the new oil and compare it as time goes on, then pour some from the
filter and compare next time t's changed.
10K should be fine for synthetic. On Toyotas, the service light is
strictly by mileage. It comes on every 5000 miles. On the vehicles with
synthetic oil the 5000, 15000, etc., is for tire rotation only, while
the 10,000, 20,000, etc is for an oii change.
On conventional oil Toyotas (we have three) I do every 5K. Probably a
bit too often but it's easy to remember and that's the recommended
interval for "severe service," while the interval for "normal service"
is 7500 miles.
Recreational oil changers still do every 3000 miles though there's no
benefit to doing so.
Being one of those people who actually reads the manuals, I was amused
by the recommendations for the Yaris. To sum it up, change the oil and
rotate the tires every 5000 miles. The last Yaris ihad you got to
break the monotony by changing the coolant every two years.
On Thursday, August 27, 2015 at 1:11:00 PM UTC-6, sms wrote:
I took my van to my dealer for a routine oil change at 5000 KM.
When I checked the oil a month later and lo and behold the bastards hadn't changed the oil at all. It was quite dark and
usually after a change is is very light colored.
With these modern engines and modern oils the oil hardly changes color between changes...but this was a give-away that they were crooked. Needless to say it couldn't be proven so I changed
to another shop and no problem now.
I have heard of this rip-off before but they don't allow you
in their shops anymore so we don't know what they do in there.
Decades ago in another country a cousin of mine was getting oil filters
for his car from a friend who worked at an auto shop and was getting new
filters for service jobs but leaving the old filter in place.
Our current vehicle recommends replacing the filter on every *other*
oil change. Needless to say, we won't be pinching those pennies!
A quick photo of the old filter (from which you can note it's actual
orientation) might reassure you in the future.
It is so wasteful changing oil and filter too often.
Today's oil is rather chemical soup with all kinda additives,
filter materials improved over time too. New vehicles particularly
don't need change like olden days.
The *car* decides the appropriate maintenance schedule. Replacing
the filter "every other oil change" saves very little in terms of
parts, labor *or* oil! (the oil remaining in the filter will NOT be
changed if the filter isn't... all of perhaps a whole *cup* of oil).
We've expressed concern that the "oil life (indicator)" is rapidly
falling -- "80%" at ~600 miles (a month of driving). Best case, that
"80%" is really "89%" suggesting a change interval of ~6,000 miles.
Worst case, it's *actually* 80% suggesting an interval of ~3,000 miles.
(We'll be more observant to note exactly when it displays "70%")
OTOH, our average driving speed (according to the vehicle) has been
*16* MPH for those 600 miles in outdoor temperatures of 105+. No
doubt considerably harder on a new engine than "highway driving".
[It would be interesting if the vehicle tracked -- and reported -- the
average trip length, number of "starts", etc. I'll have to check to
see what's accessible along those lines...]
Some new vehicles can store and display all kinda info. There are too
many information. Oil life percentage indicator change rate varies as
well. In winter numbers go down faster than summer. After highway
cruising it goes down faster. I don't do stop and go type driving much.
Freeway and ring road is only couple blocks from home so as soon as I
leave home heading downtown it is freeway driving doing ~70mph. When I
go out to our cabin we're on ring road doing ~80mph. It keeps the engine
clean and engine lasts longer.
I've not yet looked into the OBD software -- instead, just trying
to get a feel for what the *driver* sees.
Exactly. *Our* style of driving is "short hops" -- often JUST "many blocks"
between stops. E.g., "grocery day" consists of perhaps 6 stops over a
course of 4 or 5 miles. Hence the reason our average speed is so low. The
car spends all of its time "getting started" instead of *running*. Couple
that with any bias the software may *deliberately* introduce for "first
service" and we expect the maintenance interval to be short. But, if
it turns out ot be just 3K miles, we'll be very concerned with the
I know exactly what happens for my oil changes. I pull into the
driveway, put a pan under the engine, and remove the drain plug. While
it's draining, I get out 4 quarts of oil and a filter. When the oil is
drained, I remove the filter, being careful not to drop it into the pan
of old oil. Screw a new filter on, replace the plug, and refill the
engine. Start it up to check for leaks, then turn it off and recheck the
oil level adding a little more if needed. Reset the check engine light,
record the mileage in the maintenance book, and I'm good to go. It takes
almost a half hour if I get distracted.
Oh yeah, and while I'm on the ground removing the plug, I check to make
sure there are no dead skunks caught in the suspension and so forth.
If you fill the filter with oil before screwing it on, you won't have to add,
later. I've found that you can get a *lot* of oil into a DRY filter -- even
if the filter is mounted "opening down" (e.g., like on Subaru's). The
filter pleats capture and hold the oil (even if you can't *completely* fill
the filter due to risk of it running out while you are screwing it on.
"Wetting" the O-ring on the filter with a bit of fresh oil also helps
improve the seal to the block.
I've a box of surgical gloves that I *never* remember to wear (just one
hand) until after I've finished. On those times when I do, it makes it
a lot easier to clean up (put the used filter *in* the glove after
taking the glove off so it doesn't leak oil unexpectedly).
I add all the other ancillary "checks" at the same time:
- power steering fluid (on cars that have PS pumps)
- brake fluid
- windshield washer fluid
- coolant level
- specific gravity of each battery cell
- check CV boots
- run my finger along the rotors to check if they're getting "grooved"
- lubricate door/hood/trunk locks
- cursory examination of the vehicle's undercarriage
Afterwards, I give a cursory examination of the waste oil -- looking for
other fluids (none!), metal chips, etc.
It's still a 30 minute job. And, you KNOW the oil got changed, the drain
plug *did* get reinstalled, etc.
I skipped that step in my description, thanks. The Yaris and F150 both
have filters that mount right side up. Then there are innie and outie
filters. I prefer Swix or Napa Gold because when they punch the base
plate and thread it the threads are on the inside of the filter they are
easier to get started. Hard to explain without a picture.
Two of the bikes have the filters mounted sideways. The other bike is
old school and has a replaceable element, not a cartridge.
I sort of mentally included them in the dead skunk check. After all,
while you're waiting for the oil to drain, you might as well inventory
the engine compartment, make sure nobody stole the alternator, etc.
I've got the feeling 95% of today's drivers have never actually laid
their eyes on the engine of their vehicle. Only factory trained experts
are allowed to pop the hood latch.
Yup. One reason I dislike the oil change places is they barely give
the oil time to leave the pan before they've got the drain plug
back installed and are squirting oil from a multi-choice nozzle
into the vehicle (how much of the oil selected by the *previous*
customer is present in that hose??)
While looking at cars, recently, I'd routinely pop the hood to
check to see what sort of maintenance hassles I would likely
encounter. If I couldn't *find* something (e.g., the first vehicle
I looked at had electric power steering -- "Where's the power
steering reservoir?"), I'd ask the salesman.
Talk about dumb-as-a-post... none of them knew the least bit
about what's under the hood. They were more interested in
how many *seats* it had or how fancy the sound system, etc.
[You'd think these guys would express an interest in the
PRODUCT they are selling! Esp as they probably spend a large
fraction of their day sitting around waiting for customers!]
I had a 2007 Yaris that suffered death by snowplow in 2011. I liked it
so I didn't bother shopping around and just went back for another one.
The salesman was trying to show me the features of the car and not doing
a good job. Finally I just said 'I've been driving an essentially
identical car for the last three years. Let's just go back to your
office and get this done.' That was fun too. I told him I was paying
cash but he just couldn't help going off on his pre-programmed financing
I think what was under the hood was safe from that guy. I had to show
him how to open the hatchback and that's strictly turn the key and push.
<shrug> Growing up, it was just something you *did* to keep *your*
car on the road. What teenager can afford "service visits"??
Ha! Sounds like Boston in the late 70's (78?). Parking on the street
is a hazzard!
When we bought our recent vehicle, it was almost insulting to
hear how caught up they'd get on "what can you afford", "how will
you be paying", "will you have a trade-in", etc.
"We can buy any car on the lot, CASH. Now, do you want to *sell*
us a car? Or, do you want to keep to your script??"
Prior to visiting each dealership, I'd research the vehicle(s) we wanted
to consider, download their owner's manuals, etc. I don't want to
rely on "them" to misinform me!
If you know how much oil the vehicle takes with a filter change you
never need to add oil either. My truck holds 5 US quarts (4.73
Liters, or 1 imperial gallon)) with the standard filter, and 4.5
liters with the shorty filter.
I just pour in the proper amount of oil, and start the engine.
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