Why change synthetic oil every 3,000 miles?

C-ya

Original poster
Member
Aug 24, 2012
1,098
The topic asks it all. I see people post on here all the time about changing their oil every 3K, saying they use(d) synthetic oil. What's the point? Hell, I don't even change conventional oil every 3K!! On my '98 GMC C1500 w/ the 4.3, I changed it every 4k-ish with dino oil. (I say "ish" because I never wrote the mileage down, just tried to remember.) I sold it with 242K on the clock when I bought the TB. Now that I have an OLM, I'll use it this first change and switch to synthetic and then maybe go 2 rounds of the OLM with the synthetic in.

Is it that you don't trust the synthetic to do what synthetics are supposed to do? Then why use it? If you are changing every 3K, buy dino oil and use that extra money for dinner with the wife or a case of good beer.

Just something I've always wanted to ask. Thanks for indulging me.
 

NewfieEnvoy

Member
Jan 25, 2012
525
I think its a bit of old school paranoia. I switched to synthetic and will be changing every 10K. Just did my second syn change and the oil is as clean as the day I put it in. Just a slight color change. I've never done an oil analysis and not sure I ever will. I trust the syn oil and worry more about the level than the quality. If shes full of oil then I'm good to go :biggrin:
 

CaptainXL

Member
Dec 4, 2011
2,445
All depends on how you drive and in what environment which the OLM takes into account. But changing oil every 3k is definitely old school practice when engines only lasted 100k and plugs, points and cap/rotor needed to be changed every 20k.

For instance if I am towing over the summer the OLM might tell me to change the oil as soon as 7500 miles. According to the owners manual you still should change the oil at least once a year even if the OLM light isn't on by that time.
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
3K is a big lie, repeated incessantly by the quickie-lube snake oil marketers. People who buy into it are gullible sheep. Not educated auto enthusiasts or adequately concerned about the environment. IMHO, that is.
 

navigator

Member
Dec 3, 2011
504
the roadie said:
3K is a big lie, repeated incessantly by the quickie-lube snake oil marketers. People who buy into it are gullible sheep. Not educated auto enthusiasts or adequately concerned about the environment. IMHO, that is.

I think the dealers got in on it also for awhile so they could do more service work.
I had a 4cyl 03 S10 and it recommended 3000 miles for hard driving and 7500 miles for light duty.
I just changed it every 7500 with synthetic and have done the same thing with the TB.
I know it is overkill but I wan't to crawl under it at least 2X per year and that works out about right.
My TB doesn't have the OLM.

For all my previous cars on dino oil, I always changed them every 5k and never had an oil related engine problem.

If you are really concerned send off to Blackstone or some other lab and have them do an oil analysis.
Last I checked it was less than the cost of one oil change.
 

JB100

Member
Oct 31, 2012
20
I was under the impression that all TB's have the OLM. I know mine does. A nifty little oilcan with a wrech symbol next to it.
 

navigator

Member
Dec 3, 2011
504
JB100 said:
I was under the impression that all TB's have the OLM. I know mine does. A nifty little oilcan with a wrech symbol next to it.
Mine has the light but it never comes one. I have seen a few other members that had what we think are fleet lease models report the OLM does not come on.
I've put about 100k on mine and it has never come on and I've never reset it.
 

davenay67

Member
Jan 16, 2012
217
Interesting about the OLM. Which models have the OLM that is a percentage-countdown style, displayed as an LED in the dash..??

I agree with Roadie. Aside from wasting money, 3K oil changes with synthetic are a waste of precious resources.
 

ScarabEpic22

Member
Nov 20, 2011
728
Simple answer to the original question: Dont.

I tell my friends that regular dino oil is good for 5k and synthetic is good for 5-7k easily, I change the M1 in my SS between 5-7k depending on when I have time. I know there are some SS guys who do it every 3k and IMHO thats just pissing $$ away. Im paranoid about maintenance, but 3k oil changes on M1 is a waste.
 

CaptainXL

Member
Dec 4, 2011
2,445
ScarabEpic22 said:
Simple answer to the original question: Dont.

I tell my friends that regular dino oil is good for 5k and synthetic is good for 5-7k easily, I change the M1 in my SS between 5-7k depending on when I have time. I know there are some SS guys who do it every 3k and IMHO thats just pissing $$ away. Im paranoid about maintenance, but 3k oil changes on M1 is a waste.

Yes, yes. But we still have an additional dynamic involved. You still want to change your oil at least once every year even if you are driving only 3k a year. That's not wasting any money. We got members here that have 2002-2003 models and they have 80k or less on them. That's some low mileage.

My wife's 2011 Buick Regal had it's first oil change 11 months ago and the OLM says there is 60% life left. So next month will be a year and I will be bringing it to the dealer for a $25 oil change.
 

STLtrailbSS

Member
Dec 4, 2011
1,617
every 5,200 on royal purple full syn
 

jrSS

Member
Dec 4, 2011
3,950
CaptainXL said:
Why 5200? Why not every 7500 or 12, 000 which i am sure Royal Purple is good for.:smile:

My guess wuld be that when his oil life monitor hits 50%
 

MAY03LT

Member
Nov 18, 2011
3,420
Delmarva
Independent shops are also guilty of recommending 3K synthetic intervals.:frown:
 

Canadian Mike

Member
Dec 3, 2011
738
davenay67 said:
Interesting about the OLM. Which models have the OLM that is a percentage-countdown style, displayed as an LED in the dash..??

According to the Owners Manual ['04 Envoy], the percentage-countdown is show via the DIC.


GM Oil Life System


Press the fuel information button until ENGINE OIL LIFE
appears in the display. The GM Oil Life System shows
an estimate of the oil’s remaining useful life. It will show
100% when the system is reset after an oil change.
It will alert you to change your oil on a schedule
consistent with your driving conditions.


Always reset the engine oil life monitor after an oil
change. To reset the monitor, press and hold the select
button while ENGINE OIL LIFE is displayed.


The oil change monitor does not measure how much oil
you have in your engine. So, be sure to check your
oil level often. For more information, see Engine Oil on
page 5-16.
 

STLtrailbSS

Member
Dec 4, 2011
1,617
CaptainXL said:
Why 5200? Why not every 7500 or 12, 000 which i am sure Royal Purple is good for.:smile:

Sounded good with my driving style. It looked decent last time i changed I need to send it off for samples next time.
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
C-ya said:
Now that I have an OLM, I'll use it this first change and switch to synthetic and then maybe go 2 rounds of the OLM with the synthetic in.

Oh that's a bad idea. I don't care how good anybody's oil is, I'm not leaving it in there for 20K+ miles! I run synthetic and replace when the OLM light kicks on, which is anywhere between 10k and 14k miles. Could I maybe go longer? Maybe, but the filter should be changed anyway and the oil looks well used by then (not black but a typical dark brown).
 

jrSS

Member
Dec 4, 2011
3,950
Opinions are like ass holes ....everyones got one. Change it as often as u feel comfortable changing it. I do mine around every 6k.
 

STLtrailbSS

Member
Dec 4, 2011
1,617
See i go in Jeremy Clarkson mode when I pick up my brother and his friends giving the truck the top gear review and disabling stbailitrak and power slide while screaming Poweerrrr and telling them "this is a proper sports truck". These are the thing I do with my SS so I give it a fresh drink every 5200
[video=youtube;RzBCwIM0ZuQ]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzBCwIM0ZuQ[/video]
 

mikeinDE

Member
Jan 4, 2012
855
Sorry for what may be a stupid question-----I am running Mobil 1 synthetic, and I only drive about 5-6k miles a year, so should I go by a timeframe rather than mileage when it comes to changing mine? Cuz if I went by mileage, I would be changing mine about once every 3 years. i.e. is it bad to be running syn oil or any oil for that matter for a long period of time like that?
 

CaptainXL

Member
Dec 4, 2011
2,445
mikeinDE said:
Sorry for what may be a stupid question-----I am running Mobil 1 synthetic, and I only drive about 5-6k miles a year, so should I go by a timeframe rather than mileage when it comes to changing mine? Cuz if I went by mileage, I would be changing mine about once every 3 years. i.e. is it bad to be running syn oil or any oil for that matter for a long period of time like that?

I would change it every year in your case. Not only does GM recommend it, it's easy to remember to change it every fall or spring or whatever instead of trying to remember how many miles or years ago your last oil change was.

Do you have a warranty? If so GM might need proof you changed the oil at least once a year if anything were to go wrong.

Not sure about the stability and additive properties of the oil and if it can hold up. That would be a good question for Mobile 1.
 

mikeinDE

Member
Jan 4, 2012
855
CaptainXL said:
I would change it every year in your case. Not only does GM recommend it, it's easy to remember to change it every fall or spring or whatever instead of trying to remember how many miles or years ago your last oil change was.

Do you have a warranty? If so GM might need proof you changed the oil at least once a year if anything were to go wrong.

Not sure about the stability and additive properties of the oil and if it can hold up. That would be a good question for Mobile 1.


I think my warranty expired a couple months ago. I've had my truck for 5 years this past July and I didn't get any extended warranty, So I think I am past all the coverage.

I go to the stealership every 6 months currently, but if I can save even one trip a year, that's money in my pocket instead of theirs. (Yes i go to the stealership :frown:)
 

AV8ER

Member
Apr 19, 2012
260
Mines got Dino oil and it gets changed when the Change oil light comes on. No fancy DIC in mine to check percentage. Last change was about 7500 mi with quite a bit of it being highway miles. Thats how its been changed since day one and its still running great! If anyone cares that was with quaker state conventional.
 

Matt

Member
Dec 2, 2011
4,024
jrSS said:
Opinions are like ass holes ....everyones got one.

And they all stink! :rotfl:
 

DFWWIZ

Member
Dec 5, 2011
516
The life of oil is based on alot of things-heat/ cold, dust, humidity, short/long trips, speed, idle times, how many times you floored it etc. The OLM is based on complex set of algorithyms in the memory of the ECM. So you know GM would not allow it to be stretched to the very end of the oil's usefulness-its a conservative measurement to be sure. 3K is passe!!
 

dfc739

Member
Jul 29, 2012
170
Des Moines, IA
Canadian Mike said:
According to the Owners Manual ['04 Envoy], the percentage-countdown is show via the DIC.


GM Oil Life System


Press the fuel information button until ENGINE OIL LIFE
appears in the display. The GM Oil Life System shows
an estimate of the oil’s remaining useful life. It will show
100% when the system is reset after an oil change.
It will alert you to change your oil on a schedule
consistent with your driving conditions.


Always reset the engine oil life monitor after an oil
change. To reset the monitor, press and hold the select
button while ENGINE OIL LIFE is displayed.


The oil change monitor does not measure how much oil
you have in your engine. So, be sure to check your
oil level often. For more information, see Engine Oil on
page 5-16.


I had to come in and offer up some information I was given. It's purely opinion, but based on the source I believe it. My uncle is a GM mechanic and has been for over three decades. When I asked him about oil changes his response was that the Engine Oil Life Monitor does work very well... to a point. However, our engines are DOHC and have variable valve timing. He suggests changing the oil filter every 3000 miles due to that fancy Camshaft Position Actuator Solenoid. Otherwise the screens on the CPAS act like the oil filter element, plugging them up and causing all kinds of problems. And I think everyone on here can relate about how well using our CPAS screens as oil filters works. :hissyfit:

So, I like to change my filter every time my Engine Oil Life meter reaches 50% and changing the oil also at 0%. That makes changing filters every 3500 miles and oil every 7000 miles (I don't really wait for it to hit 0%- never have and never will). I've been doing this for the last 20,000 miles and every time I pull out my CPAS it's sparkling clean with no visible debris on the screens (I don't clean it either, just check it).
 

DFWWIZ

Member
Dec 5, 2011
516
dfc739 said:
I had to come in and offer up some information I was given. It's purely opinion, but based on the source I believe it. My uncle is a GM mechanic and has been for over three decades. When I asked him about oil changes his response was that the Engine Oil Life Monitor does work very well... to a point. However, our engines are DOHC and have variable valve timing. He suggests changing the oil filter every 3000 miles due to that fancy Camshaft Position Actuator Solenoid. Otherwise the screens on the CPAS act like the oil filter element, plugging them up and causing all kinds of problems. And I think everyone on here can relate about how well using our CPAS screens as oil filters works. :hissyfit:

So, I like to change my filter every time my Engine Oil Life meter reaches 50% and changing the oil also at 0%. That makes changing filters every 3500 miles and oil every 7000 miles (I don't really wait for it to hit 0%- never have and never will). I've been doing this for the last 20,000 miles and every time I pull out my CPAS it's sparkling clean with no visible debris on the screens (I don't clean it either, just check it).

You just answered the question in your own words which contradicts changing it earlier than what the OLM dictates...its sparkling clean. So why would you want to change it too early? Its overkill and in this time of economic disaster, that isn't being conservatively reponsible IMHO. You can argue that you are preventing future engine dmage/failure but you won't know that unless it does fail. So its purely speculative. To each his own but when I hear people complain about money issues and the economy being bad, it strikes a nerve with in me. Not saying that you are one to do that...just making a point. :undecided:
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
Just use a good filter IMO. I've had no issues with my CPAS and my truck has 165k and counting. Granted I've never pulled the thing to check it either but if it ain't broke don't attempt to look at it or I might just break it :rotfl:

DFWWIZ, He said his CPAS is sparkling clean, not the oil itself :tongue:
 

DFWWIZ

Member
Dec 5, 2011
516
Sparky said:
Just use a good filter IMO. I've had no issues with my CPAS and my truck has 165k and counting. Granted I've never pulled the thing to check it either but if it ain't broke don't attempt to look at it or I might just break it :rotfl:

DFWWIZ, He said his CPAS is sparkling clean, not the oil itself :tongue:

I realize HE said the CPAS was clean. But in reference to others saying the oil is still clean and hardly discolored I made my comment in general to all of them.
 

dfc739

Member
Jul 29, 2012
170
Des Moines, IA
DFWWIZ said:
You just answered the question in your own words which contradicts changing it earlier than what the OLM dictates...its sparkling clean. So why would you want to change it too early? Its overkill and in this time of economic disaster, that isn't being conservatively reponsible IMHO. You can argue that you are preventing future engine dmage/failure but you won't know that unless it does fail. So its purely speculative. To each his own but when I hear people complain about money issues and the economy being bad, it strikes a nerve with in me. Not saying that you are one to do that...just making a point. :undecided:

Peace of mind, plain and simple. I'd much rather change my oil with 10% on the life meter than run the engine oil longer than I should. I like to change the oil with ~5-10% left on the Oil Life Meter because life gets busy and I'm getting old enough that I can be forgetful. :crazy: Now, that said, the original question was "Why change synthetic oil every 3000 miles?" and my answer was: you don't need to. Change the filter every 3000-3500 and the oil almost when the oil life meter runs out. Changing the filter requires a very minimal extra amount of oil and most filters are less than $10.
 

CaptainXL

Member
Dec 4, 2011
2,445
Sparky said:
Just use a good filter IMO. I've had no issues with my CPAS and my truck has 165k and counting. Granted I've never pulled the thing to check it either but if it ain't broke don't attempt to look at it or I might just break it :rotfl:

DFWWIZ, He said his CPAS is sparkling clean, not the oil itself :tongue:

Im pretty sure you have clogged screens on the CPAS with 165K. You should as least clean it. Consider it preventative maintenance. You don't want your phaser to get stuck from lack of exercise.
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
CaptainXL said:
Im pretty sure you have clogged screens on the CPAS with 165K. You should as least clean it. Consider it preventative maintenance. You don't want your phaser to get stuck from lack of exercise.

I'll pull it and check it this coming weekend when I change my transfer case fluid. The VVT seems to work OK last I hammered the throttle, so it doesn't appear to have any symptoms of being plugged up.
 

jaguarjoe

Member
Nov 22, 2012
73
A while back, someone did a test on Mobil One. Every 5k, he would ask for a donor to chip in $$ to test the oil's quality. He got to 25k and everything was still pretty good. This might still be on the web. I run my F150 on 0W-20 Mobil One along with a good filter and change them twice a year. Still runs like new at 170k.

FWIW-

There were only 3 synthetic oil makers in the "beginning", Mobil one and 2 others. Castrol was upset because they were missing out on this market and petitioned the courts to change the definition of "synthetic". Of course Mobil didn't like that, but Castrol prevailed. Now the shelves at Walmart are cluttered with "synthetic" oil. Not all sythetics are created equal.

Changing oil every 3k just creates more pollution and is a waste of $$.
 

Rudeawakening

Member
Jan 25, 2012
147
So, from some of the posts, the oil will last 6k and up but the oil filter has to be changed around every 3k? Right now I have conventional oil at about 3500 miles and was looking to get it changed this weekend. However, in light of this information, would it be ok to run conventional to 5k as well as the filter? After I get it changed, I want to switch to synthetic and change the oil and filter every 6k. Most of my driving is highway. Does that sound reasonable or am I still over paraniod?:confused: The less I have to change it the more $$ I save, but I dont want to save $$ at the expense of my engine. Also whats a good synthetic oil and filter combo to use?
 

C-ya

Original poster
Member
Aug 24, 2012
1,098
I ran my '98 GMC with a 4.3 for 4K on dino oil. I bought it with 140K on it and sold it with 242K. This truck (TB) has the OLM, so I'll go by that this first change and see how many I get with it. I have 3,700 miles on this oil change, and the OLM is showing 40+% (can't remember exactly what it is), but most of my driving is short distance stuff, less than 20 miles at a time. I have conventional oil in now. I'm going to do a semi-synth switch for the next change, and then full synth for the next. Nowadays, mfr's are recommending 5K+ mile oil changes (my in-laws have a Focus and a Highlander, and both of those are over 5K) with conventional oil. My plan/goal is to do 10K on full synth with a filter change mid-way through.

I'll probably run Mobil1 and a Delco filter. I may splurge and do Amsoil, just haven't decided yet.
 

DFWWIZ

Member
Dec 5, 2011
516
Rudeawakening said:
So, from some of the posts, the oil will last 6k and up but the oil filter has to be changed around every 3k? Right now I have conventional oil at about 3500 miles and was looking to get it changed this weekend. However, in light of this information, would it be ok to run conventional to 5k as well as the filter? After I get it changed, I want to switch to synthetic and change the oil and filter every 6k. Most of my driving is highway. Does that sound reasonable or am I still over paraniod?:confused: The less I have to change it the more $$ I save, but I dont want to save $$ at the expense of my engine. Also whats a good synthetic oil and filter combo to use?

Most oil changes any more will be good for 5K miles and the filter too. Mobil 1 or any sinthetic will go even longer. The OLM table is based on a complex set of algorithyms that takes into account the way you drive it. So when it says its time its probably pretty close. If you run past the time its still going to be alright considering the engineers have conservative minds.
 

Rudeawakening

Member
Jan 25, 2012
147
My OLM says i got about 70% left on it. So you guys just go by that, change it when it gets down to like 10%? or if its been 6 months to a year since the last change?
 

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