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Car Lite oil changes?

Old 02-24-16, 07:18 PM
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Pobble.808
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Car Lite oil changes?

This morning I noticed that our car has not had an oil change since December 2014 (our mechanic used to send us reminders, but he retired). This was kind of alarming, but then I checked the odometer and realized that we have only put 1,500 miles on it since then. I understand that mileage and time are both factors when it comes to oil degradation, and the manufacturer recommends oil changes every 7,500 miles / 6 months. So I guess we're seriously overdue by now, despite the low mileage. I am fine with babying the car, since I'm hoping that it will be the last one I ever own.

On the other hand, we're going to be away from home for about 6 months starting in early May and the car will not be driven that period, so my question is, would it be better to change the oil now or wait until we come back in November?

FWIW the car is a 1999 Toyota Corolla, currently has 46,800 miles on it. We bought it almost new in 2000, with approx 5,000 miles on it at that time. Most of our driving is of the in-town, stop-and-go variety, with occasional freeway trips but even those are rarely more than 10 or 15 miles each way.

Any wisdom that the LCF community has to offer on this matter will be much appreciated.
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Old 02-24-16, 07:40 PM
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If you currently have synthetic oil in it you're probably okay to not change it if you expect to do some occasional driving in the car between now and when you leave in May. However, just before leaving you should have the oil changed. Based on your description of the driving you do in the car, if you're not currently running synthetic oil you should probably switch to it and change the oil once a year if you're only averaging 1,500 miles per year. If the oil currently in your engine is dark and/or dirty (check via the dipstick) you should have the oil and filter changed before you leave. Dirty, polluted oil sitting in your crankcase for months on end can degrade your engine. How much? That may be up for debate. Overall though, if you're averaging 1,500 miles per year, use synthetic oil and change it once a year. Even after a year, if the oil looks relatively clean (as per the dipstick) you may just want to change the filter. Then again, I'm not a professional mechanic so you may want to talk to a professional, preferably not someone who thinks you could become a customer (they'll just tell you to change the oil sooner than you really need to).
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Old 02-25-16, 05:25 AM
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You're good; if the oil looks like it needs to be changed, change it. Very dark brown/black oil with high viscosity relative to the label viscosity is oil that needs changed. Were I in your shoes, I'd probably change it once every 5 years...I stick with the oil schedule for my vw but just because it still gets free regular maintenance at the dealer. I've just had or been around too many cars over the course of my short life that had poor oil upkeep and it never seemed to matter. My wife's 3L Ranger gets new oil every 10-15k or so and it's going on 140,000 miles - the manual says it needs 6k intervals; had a buddy in the Marines who had, in about 50k miles, never changed the oil in his Ford Escort which ran great until he sold it years later. My dad changes the oil in his Chevy 350 when he thinks it looks like it needs it, that thing has over 100k on a top end rebuild. Another Marine buddy's dad has an rear main leak in his old F-250 and essentially never changes the oil, he just adds to it when it's low.
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Old 02-26-16, 10:35 AM
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Thanks to both of you for this helpful info. The oil on the dipstick does not look dark or dirty. The car is due for its annual state inspection in April so I'm thinking that that would be a good time to do the oil change too. And synthetic does sound like a good idea.

cheers,
Pobble
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Old 02-26-16, 10:48 AM
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Cars sit on dealer lots for more than 6 months and they don't change the oil... so much for manufacture recommendations. Black oil doesn't necessarily mean it needs changing either, it's normal. Once a year on my low mileage car is all I do. Stilling running great after 11 years.
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Old 02-26-16, 10:58 AM
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I agree with the others; change now to synthetic. Cheap insurance.
You have a slow charger to maintain the battery for 6 months of no driving/starting?
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Old 02-26-16, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by 1nterceptor View Post
I agree with the others; change now to synthetic. Cheap insurance.
You have a slow charger to maintain the battery for 6 months of no driving/starting?
Car will be in an apartment parking lot, so slow charger is not an option. A neighbor is willing to start the car regularly. But I'm thinking that I'll just disconnect the battery cables. Or is this a bad idea?
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Old 02-26-16, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Pobble.808 View Post
Car will be in an apartment parking lot, so slow charger is not an option. A neighbor is willing to start the car regularly. But I'm thinking that I'll just disconnect the battery cables. Or is this a bad idea?
I think the general school of thought among the mechanic types is that you must bring an engine to full operating temperature for a time to avoid moisture collecting in your crankcase and contaminating the oil. As far as disconnecting the battery I don't think your cars computer would like that. If it has one.
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Old 02-26-16, 08:44 PM
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Change the oil now. The damage is unburnt hydrocarbons from gas combustion that makes the oil acidic.
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Old 02-26-16, 08:55 PM
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Change the oil and use synthetic oil... Then just change the oil once every time it gets to 6,000Miles of actual engine use/driven...
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Old 02-26-16, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Pobble.808 View Post
Car will be in an apartment parking lot, so slow charger is not an option. A neighbor is willing to start the car regularly. But I'm thinking that I'll just disconnect the battery cables. Or is this a bad idea?
If you really want to maintain the battery but aren't close to an outlet.
1.5 Watt Solar Battery Charger
A friend of mine uses these on a couple old tractors after not getting the life out of battery's he thought he should.
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Old 02-27-16, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Pobble.808 View Post
FWIW the car is a 1999 Toyota Corolla, currently has 46,800 miles on it. We bought it almost new in 2000, with approx 5,000 miles on it at that time. Most of our driving is of the in-town, stop-and-go variety, with occasional freeway trips but even those are rarely more than 10 or 15 miles each way.
I suppose I shouldn't point this out but... here goes... do you really need this car? I've let cars sit in my driveway while I rode a bike... I always ended up driving them somewhere just because I wanted to charge up the battery... After a while seemed like a waste... plus I had to devote a lot of mental energy to their upkeep.

I can understand the occasional use of a car... rental cars work well around here. Too bad our society makes it so difficult to share automobile ownership, too. You could have 5 or 6 car light drivers owning one vehicle.
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Old 02-27-16, 10:43 AM
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Again, thanks to all of you for the helpful comments. As far as I know the car does not have a computer -- it's a 1999 model, suffice it to say the sound system consists of a radio and a cassette tape player I will try to check on that.

Gerv, your question is a reasonable one. Answer: I don't need the car, but Madame Pobble believes that she does for reasons that I understand. And since I'm hoping that she'll be my last spouse...
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Old 02-27-16, 06:28 PM
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My plow truck gets about 2-300 miles a year on it (and about the same in reverse). I run full synthetic and change oil once a year, every other if it's a mild winter with little use. I usually change the filter with it. Chevy 350 that was a new crate motor about 12 years ago.
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Old 02-27-16, 08:48 PM
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You might want to try this question on one of the dozens of forums that exist for car owners and car fanciers. Only one subforum on bikeforums.com would permit a discussion about auto mechanics--and ironically, that is the carfree forum!
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Old 02-27-16, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Pobble.808 View Post
Again, thanks to all of you for the helpful comments. As far as I know the car does not have a computer -- it's a 1999 model, suffice it to say the sound system consists of a radio and a cassette tape player I will try to check on that.

Gerv, your question is a reasonable one. Answer: I don't need the car, but Madame Pobble believes that she does for reasons that I understand. And since I'm hoping that she'll be my last spouse...
There's two ways to make that happen.
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Old 03-24-16, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
You might want to try this question on one of the dozens of forums that exist for car owners and car fanciers. Only one subforum on bikeforums.com would permit a discussion about auto mechanics--and ironically, that is the carfree forum!
Dude, I've got your back if you get any push-back on this, because you're right, of course. <smh>
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Old 03-24-16, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Pobble.808 View Post
Gerv, your question is a reasonable one. Answer: I don't need the car, but Madame Pobble believes that she does for reasons that I understand. And since I'm hoping that she'll be my last spouse...
Does she drive the car? If so, then the long term storage issues are moot.... if she does not drive the car either... then the other posters question remains unanswered.. inadequately answered anyway... "reasons you understand"... love it... they call that "coy" where I come from... I call it annoying... are you happy now? The thread has taken that turn to the dark side that you probably imagined would happen... good job.
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Old 03-24-16, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
You might want to try this question on one of the dozens of forums that exist for car owners and car fanciers. Only one subforum on bikeforums.com would permit a discussion about auto mechanics--and ironically, that is the carfree forum!
+1

The OP only drove 1500 miles since December so it's now time to start thinking about going carfree.
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Old 03-25-16, 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by dksix View Post
If you really want to maintain the battery but aren't close to an outlet.
1.5 Watt Solar Battery Charger
A friend of mine uses these on a couple old tractors after not getting the life out of battery's he thought he should.
This! If you're in a carport, put it in the back window. Might have a time figuring out where to run the wires, but totally worth it.
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