Low mileage drivers: keep sticking with months vs miles/km for maintenance schedule?

Discussion in 'Gen 4 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by UltraJetRefill, Jan 7, 2021.

  1. UltraJetRefill

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    I just received a notice that my car is due for maintenance. In the past six months, I've put on 3000 miles (5000 km). I average ~6000 miles (10 000 km) per year, and have been following the time-based maintenance schedule since I bought it new. I'm just wondering if this is still the smart thing to do, or am I just throwing $ away.

    It's actually my first new car, so I'd like to ensure that it lasts as long as possible. So, I may have answered my own question. ;) Just curious as to what others think, and have done. I'm fine with doing my own oil and filter changes, so that's not an issue (except for trying to shimmy my fat @$$ underneath the Prius... :ROFLMAO:).
     
  2. krmcg

    krmcg Lowered Blizzard Pearl Beauty

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    I have gone to annual oil changes on my two low-usage Toyota hybrids. Each gets fewer than 6,000 miles a year.
     
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  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    agreed, once a year oil change. it depends on the service. for now, i would go by miles

    when it is much older, time becomes more important on certain services. not engine oil though.
     
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  4. FuelMiser

    FuelMiser Senior Member

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    The "maintenance due" message simply means you've traveled 5,000 miles since you last reset it. It's really up to you to keep a maintenance log to determine what or when anything is due. Personally, I give more credit to miles driven (10,000 for oil) than time (12 months) in deciding when I need to change the oil. This is based on sending used oil samples to Blackstone Labs and having them tell me that there is plenty of additive protection left in my oil. If it takes me 18 months to reach 10,000 miles, then so be it. This also assumes you do not perform "frequent short trips" where the oil does not reach normal operating temperature...otherwise known as "special operating conditions"
     
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  5. UltraJetRefill

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    Oops, I should have been clearer on the 'notification' description. I meant a snail mail notice from the dealer. I've never received the 'maintenance due' from the car.

    I agree with using Blackstone. I've used them with four previous cars. The only problem with the current Prius is that all of the oil changes have been completed by the dealer. I thought of handing them one of the Blackstone jars and asking them to grab a sample when it's draining, but I wouldn't fully trust the results unless I did the change myself.

    Speaking of Blackstone, when you send yours in, do you include the percentage of actual ICE usage in their 'mileage' box? Or, just the odometer mileage?
     
  6. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Cloud Watcher

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    I follow date schedule dutifully, miles always lags behind. For example the coolant change at 10 year mark, even though we only have 89000~ kms (schedule says 10 yrs or 160K kms). Ditto for oil changes:,every 6 months (3rd gen CDN schedule).

    But I’m DIY’ing, so doesn’t cost much. And I need something to do, lol.
     
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  7. dbstoo

    dbstoo Active Member

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    My car has traveled very few miles this year. Only a couple hundred miles per month and the ICE has only run a few times when I wanted to burn off some old gas. I'd guess the ICE has only run for an hour this year. I have synthetic in it, so I'm waiting till my next 1000 mile trip to have the oil freshened. Maybe next summer.

    Dan
     
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  8. FuelMiser

    FuelMiser Senior Member

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    Just the odometer reading.
     
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  9. thomassster

    thomassster Member

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    There’s quite a bit of variables. One big variable is oil filter. I have seen the YouTube videos of people opening up FRAM oil filters and I would definitely be scared to use the cheapest grade one. I’m pretty sure it’ll provide you filtering up to a certain point, but I would never go 10,000 miles with it. I believe the OEM is a mid level quality filter, which I wouldn’t want to go too close to the 10,000 miles. I rather be safe going near 10k miles or 1 year if I was using premium oil and filter.
     
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  10. kithmo

    kithmo Couch Potato

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    If it wasn't for warranty requirements of 10k miles or annually, I would go on mileage, with an annual visual check, as I do less than 3k miles a year.
    As it is I have an annual dealer service and I can't even tell if they've changed the oil as it still looks new before I take it in.
    It seems a waste of good oil as this modern synthetic stuff is good for 10-20k miles, especially as the ICE only does about half the mileage of the car.
     
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  11. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Cloud Watcher

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    Honda has a much more advanced in-dash maintenance reminder. It apparent monitors various factors: miles for sure, but others as well. Not sure what, but I’d suspect factors that would vary the need for maintenance, say short trips where coolant gets only partially warmed, average revs, and so on. It does vary the miles to maintenance, not just counting distance travelled.

    Also, it’s more than just a simple alert; it counts down percent to next maintenance, and once it’s below 15% remaining a code is displayed, which you can look up in owners manual, decipher exactly what needs doing.

    The latter is priceless with shady dealerships pushing the extras.
     
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  12. Greg1970

    Greg1970 New Member

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    Hi. would you please advise more about your oil tests at Blackstone? How viscosity rates drops vs new oil in your case? This is very interesting especially these recent years when many people reduced their mobility due to pandemic.Thank you
     
  13. MIkeDr

    MIkeDr Active Member

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    We’re driving less than 2k miles per year. Right now since it’s on Toyota’s dime still I’m servicing the vehicle every 6 months. As soon as I have to start paying for it, will go to every year.
     
  14. Doug McC

    Doug McC Junior Member

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    The Car Care Nut (a Toyota tech on YouTube) strongly advises the time interval for low mileage driving. That is what we are planning (we will even do the 1000 mile break in oil change even though it isn’t required). We figure it is worth the extra cost and will insure the used oil gets recycled.
     
  15. FuelMiser

    FuelMiser Senior Member

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    There's really nothing more to say. When you send an oil sample to Blackstone, they perform their tests and report the raw numbers (PPM for various contaminants in the oil, etc.) followed by a paragraph called Comments giving some guidance/interpretation of those results. In my case, based on actual samples I have sent on my car, taken after the time limit is up (1 yr) but with less than the allowed miles (10K) they say there's plenty of life left in the oil and that I can extend the miles between changes even if it goes beyond the time recommendation. There's no clearer way to explain it. Viscosity is simply one of the properties of the oil they check, and it has not degraded to the point where it is "used up." Hence my conclusion: time can be extended to reach the miles limit without issue.
     
  16. Doug McC

    Doug McC Junior Member

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    You have me curious enough to check out their site and I was wondering about a couple of things: If I started with a new car and wanted to compare my current oil conditions to fresh oil, would I need to send a fresh oil sample along with my current used oil (in short pay for analysis of 2 samples)? In essence, starting with a new engine how would I know what my basis for determining what the condition of my oil was?
    Second, do they analyze for condition of anti wear additives? I don’t know enough to determine if they do or not from their site.
     
  17. FuelMiser

    FuelMiser Senior Member

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    No, you do not need to send a sample of fresh oil. You specify what oil you filled with (Brand and Spec) and they know where it starts.
    I would say no. They check the viscosity, presence of fuel, antifreeze and water, plus all the metals.
     
  18. Ozark Man

    Ozark Man Member

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    Oil is cheap compared to replacing an engine so I would rather go by the 6 month low mileage oil changes and not to gamble.
     
  19. Doug McC

    Doug McC Junior Member

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    Thanks
     
  20. Doug McC

    Doug McC Junior Member

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    I've been watching a lot of threads on the subject of oil and as a result have learned enough to know I needed to learn a lot more and ask a lot more questions. On the subject of oils and coolants I stumbled across a resource that you might also find helpful: Petroleum Quality Institute of America (PQIA), PQIA.org. It has mentioned on this site before so I know a several who have been commenting on this thread know of it. Hope it helps. I know I learned a lot.