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I have a Citroen Spacetourer van with the BlueHDI 150 engine, bought new two years ago (in 2017). The prescribed oil change interval is the same as regular maintenance interval, which is every 2 years or every 40.000 km, whichever comes first. I've just got the van back from the first round of regular maintenance and oil change.

It's the long interval that bothers me - all cars I've ever had had much shorter oil change intervals - like 10 to 15 thousand kilometers but never longer than a year apart. I've been told countless times that the time interval is as important as the clocked kilometers and never to exceed the year because the oil fouls with time as well.

Do I need to worry about the long oil change interval? I'd appreciate an answer from someone who understands the reasoning behind this or works with HDI engines but I welcome well founded general answers as well.


Some details, although I don't know which are important for oil change intervals and which not:

The van is about two metric tons empty and usually drives with only people on board. Sometimes, for about 2 to 4 thousand kilometers per oil change I tow a transport trailer or a camper trailer, both between 1 and 1,5 metric tons.

I drive moderately, neither aggressively nor economically. My consumption is 6,5 l/ 100 km on average (some 36 mpg) and I don't see much tire or brake disk wear to signify excessive energy dissipation by the van.

The van's on board computer told me to go to the maintenance a bit early, at about 38.500 km. I couldn't find any explanation in the handbook, though, so i can't say whether the engine control unit monitors cold starts etc and calls for maintenance accordingly. I forgot to ask about it at the dealership.

The dealership told me that the replacement oil with required properties is available from one manufacturer only (Total) and that I'm strongly advised not to use any non-recommended oil for prolonged periods of time.

In the first 40 thousand there seems to be no oil gone, the level remained perfectly in the middle of required range for the whole time.

I want to keep the van for 200 to 300 thousand km and 10 to 15 years, then sell it for whatever price it sells (i.e. not aiming at a good sale after I'm done using it).

I almost always deactivate the stop-start system (I don't do it only when I forget to) mainly to avoid weird accidents and almost-accidents it always tries to cause and to avoid excessive wear on the starter and bearings, I haven't given much thought to the question how this affects the health of the oil.

I don't want to change the oil myself just in case as I'm not equipped to do it and can't dispose of the used oil in a civilized manner. Nearest dealership is 100 km away and they are usually fully booked for two to three weeks. This makes the longer interval convenient.

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    Respect the schedule and the oil specifications... – Solar Mike Jul 4 at 14:50
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Do use the correct oil specification, as specified by the manufacturer. These extended oil change intervals typically depend on the oil spec being correct. As an example of another approach, Toyota is not so picky on the oil specifications, but has only 15 000 km oil change interval.

I think the reasoning behind long oil change intervals is that engine is one of the most durable components in a car. It's more likely to have everything else fail that it's to have an engine fail, if the driver is sane enough to monitor the oil level.

If the long interval is convenient for you, then the simplest option would be to just use that.

It won't hurt to change the oil more often, but you have to consider the economics of that. Is the rare oil spec available only from Total so expensive that it costs you too much to change the oil twice as often?

Anyway, Citroens aren't known for maintaining their resale value as well as some other brands, so whatever difference you see in the sale price will be minimal, as 200 000 - 300 000 km driven Citroens are cheap. I'd however say that you will very likely see non-engine-related problems within 300 000 km if you plan to keep the car as long as that. Typically, modern engines are durable if they are well-designed, but lots of electrical issues etc. can appear. Are you willing to live with these? If not, you may find yourself getting rid of the car earlier, and in that case the difference between resale value can be higher between a car with manufacturer's service intervals and between a car where oil has been changed twice as often.

The way to figure out the solution would be to calculate total cost of extra oil changes in the ownership period, and compare that to the variation you see in sales prices of used Citroens. Where I live, cars are driven for over 20 years commonly, and used car prices are high (and thus the variation in these is high too). I'm still not sure I would change the oil twice as often as specified for Citroen. For Volkswagen (or another VAG brand), I could perhaps consider extra oil changes because they maintain their value better, at least where I live. So, the chances of getting your money back in the other end with a Volkswagen would be higher. But, that's starting to go to the brand-specific opinion category so not more on that.

  • Thank you for your very well reasoned answer. The important bit for me is that engines are among the more durable parts (I mostly fear failures in the complex exhaust system where the engine oil plays no part). As to the resale value, that was one of my reasons to buy Citroen and not VW, as it was much cheaper to buy partly because it doesn't come with VW's resale value, so I don't need to worry about that. As for other problems that may come, this profile will be sure to list all of them in coming years:) – Pavel Jul 5 at 6:44

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