I've read in various places that you should perform your first oil change on a new car at 1,000 miles or so. But the exact miles are available in the owner's manual.

The owner's manual only states to change the oil every 5,000 miles. Should I go ahead and change it at 1,000 miles, then every 5,000 miles after that? Or should I wait until 5,000 miles for my first oil change?

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    But when was that advice written? It might have been true once, but manufacturing is more precise these days and tolerances smaller. There is less debris worn away from high spots and so on than in the past. Commented Nov 30, 2019 at 17:50

2 Answers 2


The 1000 mile oil change is a holdover from days of yore. It falls into the "my grandfather /father (add appropriate generation) said you should always"... Add what ever urban myth was part of the lesson. Part of the reasoning was due to the Moly-Lube that was part of the engine assembly process. The theory was that the assembly lube was thick enough to clog the oil filter as the hot oil washed it off the bearing surfaces. So after 1000 miles the filter would cease to filter the oil. The improved assembly process and improved chemistry have made this no longer necessary. If it was a concern, the dealer would require it since they warranty the engine for 60,000 or up to 100,000 miles.

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    Not only that, but cars were shipped with "running in" oil, which is thin, and will cause bearing wear if used under load as the engine becomes less "tight". It is however good for mileage. Today's cars have much higher tolerances and looser rings for economy.
    – mckenzm
    Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 9:18
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    This reminds me of the practice of warming up a car engine in cold weather before putting it in drive. I did some research on this last year and discovered that this practice became obsolete in the 1980s. Today, it turns out, the best way to warm up the engine is to actually drive the car. Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 11:38
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    @Michael_B These days, "warming up" the car is primarily for passenger comfort rather than the engine. Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 15:12
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    @zaen A friend works at a place where the freeway on-ramp is barely 100' from where they park. One very cold night, they did their usual coldstart and gun the car down the ramp up to 70 mph. Bang! Oil pressure zero. They sheared off their oil pump shaft. By the way, carbs have been 100.00% gone since 1996 in the US as it is impossible to have a carbureted car that is OBD II. And also impossible to hit mid-1990s emission numbers with a carb (without smog devices that would cost way more than EFI). Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 17:47
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    @Michael_B Warming up the windscreen can be pretty important though. I have not done this in the past and found it completely frosting up as I was driving. Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 19:39

Do what it says in the owner's manual.

FWIW the manual said the first oil change from new on my current car was at 18,000 miles, not 1,000. I queried that with the dealer and the reply was "yes, that's correct." Nothing bad has happened after 100,000 miles (and it still only burns half a liter of oil in the 18,000 miles between changes, just like it did from new), so I guess the dealer was right.

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    @GabeWisneski I run a Skoda Octavia (essentially a VW). Using the extended service program with long life synthetic oil, the EMS flags a service after 16-17k miles. It's not a fixed interval, perhaps dependant on engine revolutions rather than miles. Synthetic oil does not age as quickly as mineral oil. Commented Nov 30, 2019 at 19:35
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    @Damon Wow, is your oil magnetic at this point?
    – bishop
    Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 2:49
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    @Damon please get your car serviced. It could be very dangerous for yourself she other road users.
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 2:49
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    @Tim: A car that passes the rather pedantic mandatory technical inspection not just with zero faults, but with zero remarks is no threat to others. Not sure where you get this idea from. On the other hand, doing service can greatly increase the risk for yourself and others, depending on how malicious your service shop is. VAG in particular has some very bad apples in the basket around here.
    – Damon
    Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 13:43
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    @Tim: No, I am saying that it has undergone TÜV inspection (not service) as required by the law. Which means, having zero faults and zero remarks, it is by definition (as stated by an authorative institution) safe for use, and no danger to anyone. On the other hand, I've seen service/repair which definitively made a car unsafe for use, and a possibly lethal threat (such as unplugging a previously fixated cable tree for no apparent reason, and letting it dangle near the axis... presumably in the hope of having a recurring customer very soon).
    – Damon
    Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 13:50

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