My truck has a built in feature that puts a message up on the dash
readout when it's time to change oil. The owners manual says that the
message is based on a lot of things, including length of trips,
temperature, and driving habits, and to change oil when I get the
message, or at 7000 miles, whichever is sooner. The message typically
pops up at around 6000-7500 miles.
The factory dealer's service department still puts on the 3000 mile
Same with my Durango. Oil change light has been coming on around 7000 miles for
the past three years. This last time, it came on at 3000. Driving patterns
haven't changed - mostly highway. Wonder if one of the factors is total mileage
on the vehicle? Doing it at 3000 gets expensive and unnecessary when you use a
I do at 3,000. Been around 6 years since I read the manual but IIRC
it give 3,000 for 'severe service'. Since most of my driving is only
4 miles to town and 4 back that certainly is sever service as it never
gets properly warmed up.
Never have had to fix any car exhausts but to keep SWMBO happy I chnge
cars often. Now my truck....I need to replace the whole thing again.
Everything aft of the muffler stub is gone...as in dropped off
somewhere on the road. This is the second time for it and I bought it
used. Currently at 150,000
Most cars come with stainless exhausts now - and those that don't -
put them on at first replacement. My first Aerostar exhaust went at
about 30 months - the replacement stainless lasted untill the guy I
sold it to scrapped it at 300,000km, about 15 years or so later.
I just got a rumble in my 2001 Impala at 126K & went to see when the
last time I had replaced the exhaust system. Never. [I did get a
muffler 5 years ago]
So I crawl under to see what I'm up against. I need the $6 chunk
of pipe that adapted from the muffler to the exhaust. [and a rubber
donut, and a hanger]
That's another one of those un-noticed advantages of our 'overpriced'
How many 'routine maintenance' jobs are no longer necessary- oil
intervals, spark plug intervals, points, condensers, tires, batteries,
exhaust systems. . .. .?
Used to do spring and fall full tune-ups to keep mine solid.
You forgot carb choke adjustment.
That all ended in '91 when I bought an '88 Celebrity with 2.8.
Never picked up my timing light or dwell meter again.
World of difference after electronics and fuel injection.
Nobody much talks about, but I guess metallurgy is the biggest
contributor to engine longevity, not newer oils.
Not needing valve jobs and no cylinder blow-by makes me think that.
You could keep the old ones tuned and change the oil every 2000 miles,
but valves and rings/walls would go bad before 100k miles.
At least that was my experience.
The metalurgy has not advanced very much at all over the last 30
years - and in some cases has gone backwards. The newer oils, in many
cases, are no "better" than the old oils - in some ways, even worse
(less EP additives, for instance), but the engines last longer because
of the removal of lead and all the required dispersant additives from
the fuel, and the much better fuel control of EFI. A lot less acid
buildup in the oil, and a lot less fuel dilution of the oil, which
translates to a lot less oxidation of the oil - less carbon buildup in
the oil, less corrosion of bearings and rings, less varnish build-up
As for tolerances, the bearing clearances, in absolute terms, have
also not changed - but the consistancy and surface finish have
improved a lot. Both on bearings/journals, cyls/rings, and combustion
chambers. This means a LOT less wear -
Untill the additive package in the oil is exhausted, allowing the oil
to oxidize and the bearings etc to etch -and the rings to stick, and
sludge to block the oil galleries, and all the other nasty stuff that
Chrysler, Honda, and Toyota had to deal with over the last decade with
the "coking" problems that have been in the news.
The ONLY thing that causes those problems is failure to maintain oil
quality - either inferior oil in the first place, leaving the oil in
too long, or both.
Theinfamous 2.6 liter Mitsubishi "hemi" in chrysler products a number
of years ago did not have oil burning or engine rattling (timing chain
) problems if the oil was changed often enough. The Chrysler 2.7 V6
did not have coking problems and pre-mature failure issues if the oil
was changed "often enough" Likewize with Toyota and Honda.
If you drove the car under what the manual identifies as "severe
conditions" (90% of urban north american drivers do) and went by the
"normal" schedule, you had grief - almost guaranteed.
Friends working in all 3 dealerships report that the've never seen an
"overmaintained" vehicle in for any of those issues. NEVER.
"Overmaintained" meaning a minimum of 2 oil changes a year and a
maximum of 6000km per oil change.
You can pretty much cont on being able to drive 200,000km on a new
car with nothing more than tires, brakes, oil changes,a serpentine
belt and one set of spark plugs - if you put the miles on fast enough.
Possibly a couple of wheel bearings or CV joints, and a timing belt if
it has one. Even the hoses often last that long.
But if that car has not had preventative maintenance, anyone buying it
at that point can be in for a whole world of hurt.
Without antifreeze service, the rad is most likely finished. The fuel
pump is on borrowed time if the fuel filter has never been changed -
the transmission is ready to die if the fluid has never been changed -
it will likely need all the front end joints and rubbers replaced, and
if the oil has not been changed on an "adequate" schedule the chain
tensioners (if it has a timing chain) are "done" and the valve lash
adjusters and variable valve timing apparatus are likely ready to call
it a day any time as well.
If the plugs were not changed on time it might need a new catalytic
converter to pass the E-Test too.
No, aluminized steel is eighties technology. Original exhaust on the
'96 Mystique was stainless. Exhaust on my 2002 PT Cruiser is
stainless. Exhaust on my daughter's Civic is stainless. Virtually
every downpipe in the last 20 years is stainless.
Every exhaust I've replaced on my vehicles in the last 20+ years has
been replaced with stainless
There ARE stainless steel exhaust systems available. I have personal
experience with their application for at least 15 years now. In my
29 years experience as a fleet mechanic, supervisor, and manager,
I have observed no tendency for stainless exhaust systems to crack
at any greater frequency than non-stainless systems. An appropriate type
of stainless steel is an excellent material for exhaust systems.
Better to be stuck up in a tree than tied to one.
Larry Wasserman - Baltimore Maryland - lwasserm(a)sdf. lonestar.org
I too...for me that's half a year of driving.
I had to join the "Lifetime Oil Change" program at my mechanic, which I think
was $189, because the Honda Element is the first car I've ever had where I
can't change my own oil. (The filter is inaccessible without ramps or being
6'8".) They're happy to do it every four months but I think that's absurd.
They'll lose a bundle on me as I keep cars 15-17 years.
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