Where I work we have 5 1000KW diesel generators. Each of them has about 100 gallons of lubricating oil. Because of the criticality of the generators to our operation (hospital) we test the oil at least yearly. This is dino oil that is kept at about 100F continually with heaters because the generators assume load within 8 seconds of startup. Changes are done solely on the condition of the oil. We end up changing the oil like every two years or so, and the interval doesn't vary much.
Some newer vehicles have an oil condition monitor that estimates the condition of the oil based upon temperatures, and driving cycles. This makes alot more sense than guessing at 3000 miles or 10,000 or whatever, especially when the driving cycles vary alot.
For those of us that do not vary our driving cycles alot, like regular commuting, getting a handle on how your vehicle "wears out" oil and the condition of your engine through oil analysis is a really good idea. As most of us are likely conservatie on drain intervals, a lab analysis would most probably give the green light to leave it in there longer than you otherwise would expect. Even modern dino oils are really good nowadays, better than synthetics of years past. Do an analysis a few times to plan out the change interval, then just do it at like 5 year intervals thereafter as a check.
Geez I wish I would follow my own advice it sounds like such a good idea, I just get so lazy. I change oil myself and it usually costs about $8 per change, so the payoff might be in 3 or 4 years or so.
One other thing I've learned from lubrication trade journals. Stick with the same brand, type and if possible weight of oil. Do not just put whatever is on sale in there. The additives sometimes are not compatible and while it won't immediately destroy your engine, changing additive packages can significantly accelerate engine wear.
I use AMSOIL Series 2000 0w-30 in both my vehicles.
I do an oil change once per year. I have done an oil analysis on my vehicles periodically to verify that the oil is still good. FYI, you cannot smell an oil and think it is good or not...you must get it lab tested.
I drive 15-20K in each of my vehicles per year. The vehicle that I use around town alot "squeaks by" on the lab anaylsis but is still good at the end of the year....
Do you guys get your oil lab tested every time? And if so, wouldn't it be a LOT cheaper to just change the oil? I mean, we're trying to save money, right? And the lab fee is more then $20, right?
It's about a economic wash for me... But I get the added bonus of getting an engine checkup and conserve finite oil resources THAT plus, I know what my oil change interval should be - and don't need to rely on someone hundreds of miles away to diagnose an engine they've never seen before based on oil they've never seen before
Standard analysis is $22.50 a standard test from blackstone, and they send a free sample collection kit
My OCI is ~10K-12K miles.... And the cost is ~$10-$12 for oil + filter....
FYI, you cannot smell an oil and think it is good or not...you must get it lab tested.
Hey, you can! But only if you nose can pick up things like the difference between 18ppm copper and 9ppm copper etc.
Time is the best teacher. Unfortunately it kills all its students.