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I recently bought a 2016 Toyota Corolla and the service schedule the dealer has provided has the first oil change at 16,000 km. Given that I did oil changes on my previous vehicle at 5,000 km, I find this rather hard to believe.

Can I really go 16,000 km before the first oil change, and if so, what about new cars has changed to allow them to go so long between oil changes?

  • Which service interval is this for? The operators manual will give you a normal and severe schedule. Most people actually operate their vehicle under a severe schedule. 16kkm is about 10k miles. I cannot tell you if it's right or not, but thought I'd throw this out there. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Sep 24 '16 at 18:03
  • The maintenance schedule booklet that comes with the car only provides one schedule for oil changes, it doesn't have a severe schedule for oil changes. It has a mention of more frequent changes of the transmission oil for cases where the car idles a lot like deliveries etc, but I'm a normal driver using it for a ~10km commute and other personal use. – Zinzire Sep 24 '16 at 23:57
  • I have a 2011 Honda Accord and I've always used 0W-20 Full Synthetic oil (Penzoil, Castrol, Moble 1, etc...) and my dashboard has a oil life percentage. I used to hit 10% at about 5,000-6,000 miles; silly me was using Fram oil filters. I ended up switching to Mobile 1 brand filters around the 5th oil change and now I don't hit 10% until about 9,000 miles. My car just hit 90K and is still purring. For the record, I change my filter every time I change my oil. I wholeheartedly believe that your Corolla should be able to easily last the 16,000 km (10,000 miles) – MonkeyZeus Sep 26 '16 at 18:06
  • In addition to my other comment, I try to change my oil at 8,000-9,000 miles for piece of mind. – MonkeyZeus Sep 26 '16 at 18:08
  • My mini cooper has the first maintenance interval at 20k km. I have around 6k km on it atm. Its a 2017 model. – Granny Mar 19 '18 at 9:00
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To answer the question about what changed with vehicles requiring longer oil change intervals, the answer is that there are a number of factors. Internal tolerances have improved, oil quality standards have improved, and friction-reducing techniques have been developed making the 3,000 mile oil change rule of thumb an anachronism.

Even in the most stressful driving conditions an experiment involving NYC taxis found no difference between oil change intervals of 3,000 and 6,000 miles

If that is not enough reason to follow the recommended schedule, another reason is that Toyota's engineers have selected a particular oil blend which is present in your car for the first oil change interval. This oil aids in improving engine break-in and reliability. Changing this too soon will remove the recommended oil from the engine and throw away this benefit which you paid Toyota engineers to develop for you in your car.

Finally, when questioning the recommendations of your service manual, keep in perspective the enormous R&D costs Toyota and its engineers have put into the Corolla. It may seem counter-intuitive to you, but this cost is typically actually greater than even exotic luxury cars, which is possible because of the very high volume of Corolla sales.

Short answer: listen to your service manual; changing the oil more often will not provide any benefit and has a small negative consequence of time, money and environmental pollution--these costs add up over a large number of vehicle owners.

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16,000 KM is – roughly speaking – 10,000 miles which is in line with oil change intervals for newish cars using synthetic oil. As @Paulster2 implied oil should be changed more frequently when the car/engine is subject to severe service. The catch here is the definition of severe service, for most of us what the industry calls severe service is what we would call normal – short trips, stop-and-go traffic, cold or hot weather driving, towing trailers or carrying rooftop loads, slow (not highway) speeds, dusty/muddy conditions.

Under those conditions the oil and filter change interval should be reduced. Relatively speaking oil and filters are inexpensive, and there is no harm in changing the oil too often. So when in doubt error on the side of the severe service intervals.

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Toyota recommends changing the oil every 8000 km if used for various application . The problem is that there is a service 1, 2 and 3. service 1 is basically an oil change without the oil change, but same price, which is completely stupid in my opinion. If you are going to pay $40-$50 for a service 1, for the same price get an oil change which at least you pay for something. To summarize, change your oil every 8000 km or 6 months. Forget about the useless service 1.

  • " an oil change without the oil change" ? ? – agentp Jan 11 '17 at 22:15
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Something people forget to do is read their manual. Once upon a time oil change intervals were a recommendation of your local mechanic based on typical engine tolerances. Over time, engineers have built engines, sensors and computers that will tell you more about your car than someone poking around under your hood can.

Checking the manual, you’ll find very little about mileage. Mileage stress affects engines differently depending on how you drive, so it’s no use going by the odometer. For example, 20,000 km for someone who brings their car up to 70 km/h between the lights is going to stress the engine and thin out the oil faster than someone who cruises 20,000 km on the highway at 95 km/h all day long.

Most manuals will usually state “change the oil when the car’s computer/dash light indicates not exceeding 12 month’s between service” in other words, once a year or when the light comes on, whatever comes first. Manuals will also tell you at what oil health the vehicle can operate at safely. Modern combustion engines run safely at 15% oil health, high pressure engines can run at health as little as 10%. Again, check your manual for this.

You have to remember that, because of the system built around selling cars, dealerships sell at a very low profit margin (foreign imports especially). Most of the money is made through the service center. In the case of modern engines it’s selling oil changes at 70+ bucks twice a year (sometimes more) that cost them five bucks in parts and ten in manpower. I’ve seen friends walk out of dealerships with brand spanking new cars with a service calendar marked for every three months at about $160 per service. That’s an insane $640 every year. That’s not counting issues they may find during the visit (my ex was once conned into a $1,000 fluid flush for a car that was less than a year old).

I also suggest you always take the car back to the dealership when you get the oil changed. They will always use the recommended weight and volume by the manufacturer . They also have the proper OEM filters always in stock. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen people develop issues because a two bit mechanic used a “better” oil in their car. Now that you’re probably only taking your machine back once a year, saving that 10 bucks by using Jiffy Lube is negligible. Just remember to rip off that useless service sticker telling you to bring the car back in 6 months.

My answer may be two years too late, but you’re still better off if you check your manual and keep that advice for every car you buy from now on. It’ll save you money, time and the headache of waiting for your car every so often.

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The owner's manual suggests to change oil (synthetic) at 10000 miles (16000 km) or 1 Year in normal (highway) driving conditions.

So I am doing that but for peace of mind I think change every 6 months (10000 km).

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In the schedule given by the manufacturer there should be, in addition to distance, a time component for oil changes. I am not sure if it applies to synthetic oils though.

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