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I drive a 1997 Honda Accord maybe 6,000 miles each year. In past years, I've driven about 12,000 miles per year and changed the oil about every 3,000-4,000 miles, or about every three months.

When should I get my oil changed now that I'm driving less? Should it be by mileage (~six months) or do I need it changed earlier than that?

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Accordng to this Honda Maintenance Calculator, you should be changing it every 3 months. At least, if you live in Canada.

If you're interested in reducing the change interval, consider going to a full synthetic oil which, depending on formulation (and marketing) would probably be good for 6 months to a year between changes.

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If you don't drive a vehicle frequently enough and long enough, moisture will get into the oil. Following the manufacturers spec for mileage and time is usually a good idea, every X miles or Y months, whichever you hit first.

First thing I do with my summer car when it comes out of the garage for the season is an oil change, regardless of the mileage on the oil (which usually isn't much).

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    I'd like more info on the moisture getting in. What factors are involved? How does it get in? Are there any other reasons behind oil changes every x months? – Morgan T. Jun 23 '12 at 13:00
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    @MorganTiley This would be best posted as a question so everyone would see it. – Move More Comments Link To Top Jun 25 '12 at 20:26
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I don't know if we use different grades of oil, but most UK spec cars I have dealt with have had an oil change interval of 6 months, not 3, and some have been longer than that - more and more newer cars tend to be going towards 12months or 10-15000 miles

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I have a 1997 Accord and I still have the original owner's manual. According to the Maintenance Schedule in the manual:

  • Under normal conditions and occasional severe conditions, you should change the oil every 7500 miles or 12 months (whichever comes first).

  • Under frequent severe conditions or if you live in Canada, you should change the oil every 3750 miles or 6 months (whichever comes first). See the linked image for a list of things that constitute "severe conditions".

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