What About Extended Oil Drain Intervals?

The following article about extended oil drain intervals was published in the AMSOIL Action News / Dealer Magazine in January 1997, 25 years ago. It speaks of ILSAC GF-3 taking effect in 3 years. (2000) We are now in the year 2022. ILSAC GF-6 became the standard in 2020.

AMSOIL has more than twenty years experience supporting 25,000-mile or one-year drain intervals. AMSOIL has shown that with top-quality synthetic motor oils and proper filtration maintenance, extended oil drain intervals are safe, cost-effective, convenient and environmentally superior to short drain intervals. The concept of extended oil drain intervals is not new or controversial to AMSOIL.

However, it is both to others in the industry, and they clearly see extended drains as a pocketbook issue. For example, the automotive service industry is not in favor of extended oil drain intervals, as Jim Sapp, Convenient Automotive Services Institute (CASI) president makes plain in his comments to The National Oil & Lube News (Nov. 1996).

“We know that by the year 2000, oil companies will be offering a new generation of motor oil called [ILSAC] GF-3 which is expected to have extended drain capabilities. But nothing I have read or seen has convinced me that engines and motor oils will evolve to the point where the extreme heat and pressure of internal combustion engines do not break down oil additives in a relatively short time.

“For most Americans, vehicles are their second most expensive” investment, an investment worth protecting and maintaining. Frequent oil changes provide that ‘insurance’ at a very low cost over the course of the investment.

“We need to educate our customers. We need to let them know the consequences of overlooking oil changes. My hat is off to Jiffy Lube in this regard. For years Jiffy has preached the 3000-mile or three-month oil change interval. And fortunately for us, many motorists take it as gospel. But we need to do more as an industry.

” … it is not inevitable that intervals will expand to the point where we can no longer stay in business.”

CASI is clearly running scared. It has recently created a committee to address the issue of extended oil drain intervals and one of the first pieces of business the committee has taken up is contacting the automakers about the issue. However, the automakers may not be their natural ally. The automakers have expressed interest in promoting extended oil drain intervals. For example, Mike McMillan, of General Motors, told the Action News that focus groups and consumer research studies show customers want longer motor oil drain intervals for the sake of convenience. GM already has been successful extending the service lives of most other fluids, such as coolant and transmission fluid.

GM also is interested in extended oil drain intervals for environmental reasons. Twice the government has tried to declare used oil a hazardous waste, so disposal is an issue.

Finally, said McMillan, oils capable of extended oil drain intervals would benefit cars used in lease programs. Lease customers have no incentive to perform routine maintenance such as oil changes during the standard two year lease.

The oil technology for extended oil drain intervals is available. Europe is already using 9000-mile (15,000-km) drain intervals and their service is no less severe than ours. In fact, with the Autobahn, it may be more severe.

Jim Steiger, chairman of the lubricants and fuels committee of the American Automobile Manufacturers Association agrees. North American automakers would like to see oil drain intervals extended for the convenience of the customer. OEMs would like to see something in line with the 100,000-mile tuneup, he told the Action News.

Richard Ekfelt, executive director of the Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association (ILMA) told the Action News that the ILMA, the national trade association representing oil blenders and compounders who are not owned or controlled by companies that explore for or refine crude oil to produce lubricant basestocks, is in the process of establishing its position on extended drains. ILMA is in favor of extended drains if important factors are taken into account, including vehicle service, automaker recommendations, lubricant and filter quality and used oil analysis.

When can we expect to see longer drain interval recommendations? Perhaps with the release of ILSAC GF-3 in 2000. Although the specification itself will not contain language about drain intervals, it may contain language concerning improved oil performance. Each automaker will specify oil drain intervals individually. Any increase in drain interval will probably be incremental and, as now, drain interval recommendations will depend on severity of service.

Meanwhile, AMSOIL will continue to recommend and support extended oil drain intervals … and wait for the rest of the world to catch up. (End of Article)

Reproduced With The Permission Of AMSOIL INC. All Rights Reserved.

SLS Note: The Bold and Italicized text near the beginning of this article were done by SLS Associates to emphasize Mr. Sapp’s comments.

Consider the fact that we are now in the year 2022. ILSAC GF-6 went into effect in 2020. Oils are considerably better than they were in 1997. So, has the industry accepted extended drains yet? That depends on you definition of “extended.” Most manufacturers recommendations are now in the 7,000 to 10,000 mile range. Is that extended? Compared to the 3,000 mile change interval that was still being pushed in the late 90’s I guess it is extended. Why so conservative? Probably because the vehicle manufacturer can’t control the quality of the lubricants people use. Just take a look at the PQIA website and some of the oils that are sold.

Most consumers don’t stop and think about what they are purchasing, especially oil. As long as it meets the standards it’s OK, right? Think about it. First, the standards are the “Minimum” standards needed to pass a given test. All an oil needs to do is meet those minimum standards when being tested. Oil companies are in the business of making money. They have to produce a product that meets those minimum standards at the lowest cost so they can show a profit and satisfy the stockholders. Imagine how much extra profit they could make by getting their base oil or additives for $0.02 / gallon less.

Take a look at the Performance Tests on AMSOIL and how their products and competing products stood up to industry standard tests. Then check out the Study of SAE 5w30 Synthetic Motor Oils in the Performance Archive section. Who’s products are meeting the standards and who’s are leading the industry.

*All trademarked names and images are the property of their respective owners and may be registered marks in some countries. No affiliation or endorsement claim, express or implied, is made by their use. All products advertised here are developed by AMSOIL for the use in the application shown.

For more information or pricing on the quality line of AMSOIL Products contact SLS Associates. Whether you are a Consumer, Retailer, or Commercial Business, we will answer your questions, explain any options and you take it from there. If you choose to try AMSOIL products we will give you our best price and you make the decision. No pressure. It’s your choice.

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