Manufacturer Oil Service Intervals: Fact or Fiction?

Manufacturer Oil Service Intervals: Fact or Fiction?

Why do those little oil service stickers left on your windshield by our service techs always state a mileage or date before the manufacturer’s recommended service? While we enjoy seeing you in the shop and enjoy catching up with all of our customers, we have to admit that the reason we call you back into the shop early is not only because we missed our chats. We maintain your vehicle at a level not seen in other shops.

One of the biggest changes within the last decade in the auto service industry is extending maintenance intervals. It used to be the norm to see intervals of 3 months or 5,000km for oil changes. Now? The manufacturer’s recommendation is 10,000km or more for regular oil service.  Auto service providers such as Motor Werke and even some dealerships still use “old” thinking.

Are we simply stuck in our ways?

Stubborn? Maybe but not in this situation!

So, why do manufacturers recommend such long intervals?

Car manufacturers, in a marketing move to be able to advertise that their products are the cheapest to own and operate, all went head to head and extended their vehicle’s maintenance schedules to the max!

Car manufacturers state that their vehicles are better designed, engineered, and built in comparison to yesteryear. They tell us that we don’t need the same number of oil changes, fluid flushes, or inspections.

More profit for the manufacturer. Happy customers with less maintenance costs.

But what happened to that saying, “they don’t make ’em like they used to!”. Talk with most car enthusiasts, and the conversation quickly turns to how cars were not only better built in the late 20th century but we used to take care of our vehicles a helluva lot better too with, you guessed it, regular maintenance.

The recommendations of the manufacturer may get your vehicle past the point of warranty on the proposed schedule, but is it really the correct path? And what happens after the warranty period is over?  The scheduled maintenance you’ve been following got you this far, but wouldn’t you like to have a well-maintained vehicle for several more years post-warranty?

oil interval

What to do? Listen to the manufacturer or your service advisor?

If your vehicle owner’s manual lists a regular and severe maintenance schedule and you are hell bent following its rules – use the “severe” schedule.

“Regular” means warm, beautiful, fairweather climates like in California. We drive in Canada. We not only drive in Canada but here in the Okanagan, we drive the twisties, we climb hills, and we take road trips where temperatures could drastically fluctuate in the mountains.

When it comes to automated oil life reminders, read the fine print in your owner’s manual. Most list a maximum distance your vehicle can travel between oil changes, regardless of whether or not the reminder light/message has warned you. Ignore these warning signs and you may void your engine’s warranty.

Let’s talk quickly about synthetic oils. They really don’t extend these intervals despite what the corner jiffy service shop tells you. These oils do have certain benefits regarding start-ups and protecting internal components, but they actually get just as dirty and just as quickly as regular oil. So, if you’re following an extended schedule from a manufacturer that assumed the driver would be using synthetic oil, you could be damaging your investment.

For the everyday driver, who travels the Okanagan roads with hills, potholes, and stop and go traffic, visiting us for a thorough inspection is pretty cheap insurance to avoid a big bill down the road for things that may have gone unnoticed between oil services. These regular checks of your vehicle’s fluids, tire pressure, undercarriage, or for anything loose, broken and worn, are important and should be performed a couple of times per year whether with an oil service or on their own.

Our European experts never suggest anything we wouldn’t do for our own cars. It’s our passion. And we would rather you know your options of keeping your vehicle safely on the road, minimizing potential problems, than keep you in the dark.

Whenever you bring your vehicle in for maintenance or repair, we inspect the entire vehicle, top-up fluids, and detail your vehicle. Your car manufacturer didn’t recommend that, now did they? It’s complimentary and allows us to share our passion for European cars with you, our valued customers.