I have a manual 2000 Ford Focus, with only 64k miles on the clock. This question is more general than a specific car and year, I am really asking about > 10 years, with sub 100k miles

Generally, I change the oil every 6 months or 3k miles - whichever comes first (usually the 6 months). The other fluids are changed every year.

Is this method a waste of money, as the car has such low milage? What are the best practices for an older car, with low milage?

  • 3
    Do you have the owner's manual (or have you downloaded it)? Most service intervals cite mileage or time-elapsed, whichever comes first. Maybe your car is running well because you treat it right...?
    – Bob Cross
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 19:58
  • I am thinking more of a generic question, for an old but low mileage car as opposed to a model specific question. I've always followed the owners manual, as one should, and gone beyond that a bit... Whenever I get bored, I change the oil
    – Nick
    Commented Mar 8, 2014 at 0:08
  • I agree with @BobCross ... sounds like you are treating your car right. IMHO, your change interval is good, as long as it isn't burning the lining out of your pocket by spending all that dough ;-) Commented Mar 8, 2014 at 0:45

2 Answers 2


Sounds perfect. I would add an inspection of your tires every 6 months. You don't have to replace them every 6 months. It's just that if they're older than 3 years and they're of the "budget" variety, they may get brittle. Just have a quick look for cracks on the sidewall and feel for flat spots or bulges.

Something many people overlook is the effect of the car not heating up sufficiently because you're only doing short distances. This means that condensation in your exhaust may cause rusting and your pistons may experience a build-up of carbon. All this means for you is that you need to take a long drive once a month or so and rev the car high for a bit. Nothing major, just get it to just under red line once or twice. This should generate enough heat to burn off the carbon and will also get rid of the condensation in the exhaust. Though the latter is only really a problem in winter.


If you are driving in dusty conditions or constant stop/start as in a city doing average miles per year (10,000) I would (and do) change oils in motor/gearbox annualy + replace oil filter.Never hurts to check diff. oil levels either.If auto have bands adjusted/filter cleaned and oil replaced.Deisels need servicing twice as often (particularly filters)oil & air.Doing this yourself (except auto trans) is cheap when compared to repair costs.An ounce of prevention etc...

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