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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok...I feel really stupid asking this, but I can't seem to get a straight answer out of anyone about what the "normal" oil change interval is. I get 3000-10000 miles depending on who I ask at the dealership. I'm pretty sure I heard/read 7500 from some reliable sources, but my 09 Escape V6 AWD just turned 4500 and the "change oil soon" reminder started popping up. WTF? Can the dealer set the service interval shorter to get more cash out of me? I don't buy all that "in [whichever city you happen to live], normal driving is really more like exreme driving". That's just B.S. that EVERY place that wants to sell you an oil change uses. Is the "normal" Ford interval for these cars 7500 miles? If so, can I reset my reminder myself to 7500?

???
 

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7500 miles normal, 5000 miles under severe service. http://www.motorcraftservice.com/pubs/c ... rdmg2e.pdf

Some "everyday" driving conditions do qualify as severe, but check for yourself instead of listening to the "advice" of a dealership. However, the wording of the owner's manual (page 76) sounds like the newer Escapes have an oil life monitor. If so, just go by that. Oil life monitors are fairly accurate with a big safety margin. The dealership is able to set it to turn on sooner, but you can reset the oil life to 100% yourself. The whole procedure is outlined on page 76.
 

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My 2010 manual states 7,500 miles. I checked the in dash diagnostics at 3,400 miles and it read 55% of oil life left. According to my calculations it is tracking the interval at 7,500 (3400 miles is 45 % of 7,500, hence 55 % left). I got 3 years free oil service when I bought it so I will be going to the dealer for a while. Even after that and I have to pay for changes I will still go to the dealer just to have the manual stamped, my receipt in hand and logged into the Ford system. With the catastrophe I went through with VW on oil changes and a dead engine, I will have the dealer do EVERYTHING. Something goes wrong I have the back-up of saying the dealer did everything according to Ford. Yes it will cost more but when I sell the vehicle years from now I will have all my paperwork lined up.
 

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I would recommend a 5K mile intervel. While the synthetic oil in today's vehicles can withstand higher temperatures and last longer than any dino based lubrication, it's the oil filter that concerns me.

That filter once full of contamination will use the oil bypass system and circulate unfiltered oil back through the engine to maintain proper oil circulation. This has the potential to increase wear and shorten component life if large enough particles make it back into the oil system on a regular basis. Now, I understand that machine tollerances on engines built today are tighter and cleaner than ever before which leads to less contamination but that paper filter is your only line of defense for the oil and anything greater than 5000 miles seems risky.

Caveat: This is my personal opinion.
 

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You should get it changed as soon as you can. Every new car should have the first oil change after 1000 miles. An engine takes a while to break in, so you will have metal shavings and other debris that you do not want floating around. After the first oil change you will be safe with every 5,000 miles.
 

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6 months OR 7500 mi. I change based on time -- since I never put that many miles on in 6 mos. When new, I change more frequently. 1000 mi (add you favorite dino or MC 5w20, in another 3000 (do the same), then in another 4000 I usually switch to synthetic.
 

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kkreit01 said:
6 months OR 7500 mi. I change based on time -- since I never put that many miles on in 6 mos. When new, I change more frequently. 1000 mi (add you favorite dino or MC 5w20, in another 3000 (do the same), then in another 4000 I usually switch to synthetic.
Many small town dealers will still recommend 3 mo/3000 (since they want the $29 more often).

(sorry -- I meant to EDIT -- not Quote myself)
 

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I use Motorcraft Synthetic 5W20, every 3 months or 3,000 miles, whichever is first.

Just my .02.
 

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Oil filters will easily do 7500 miles. If you're worried about it, cut them open afterwards. Semi-syn and better oils will also do one year intervals, though six months is a good interval if you do more than 50% or so where the car never warms up (short trips or extensive idling). 3000 mile intervals are a thing of the past, aside from some in very harsh climates (especially dusty ones) and those with very short commutes. In fact, there is an SAE study showing that frequent oil changes produced more wear on the engine - my guess is that the oil filter became more efficient with the longer intervals and filtered out more particulates.

The 2009 manual states that the change oil indicator will come on at "approximately" (or some word like that) 7500 miles, which suggests to me that it is not simply a mileage counter. I think most of the modern oil life monitors are based on the research published by GM, which started in the early 80s and has been proven in production cars since the late 80s. If you want to learn more about the system, search for "Shirley Schwartz" at bobistheoilguy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
the reason I ask is something that someone just touched on. According to the "oil life" monitor which I'd look at every once in a while, I could extrapolate that 100% would be at 7500 miles. However, at just over 4500, the "change oil soon" message starged appearing and I can't get back to the oil life display anymore. That's why I was thinking maybe the dealer can set it to a lower number despite what the recommendation is. Looks like on page 76 of the manual you CAN set it to different intervals. Also, I was specifically told that all newer Ford (as well as other brands) motors are "pre-broken in" at the factory and do not require any strict break-in...they're also manufactured to higher tollerances which also makes break-in less necessary. I kept it under 5k RPMs for the first 3k miles just in case. I live in L.A. and have changed the oil as infrequently as every 12k miles (and that was ono old used cars) without problems using synthetic oil.

Long-term. I'm unlikely to keep the car past 100k miles. My M.O. seems to be buy a new car as soon as the current car is paid of....so I'm looking at 5 years/100k miles...and I got the extended 5 year/100k miles warranty. Is the oil life monitor mileage based or does it have some new-fangled sensor that knows when your oil is going bad?
 

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I'm thinking that it works like GM's system, which takes into account a multitude of factors - number of start cycles, time to warm up (time spent in open loop), injector cycles (gas mileage), speed, RPMs, and then there is a mileage and time ceiling. From what I read, it is mostly based on TBN (total base number) of oils available at the time the car is developed; thus, the safety margin can only increase as oils improve. Ford may have programmed too low of a mileage limit, as they seem to use one interval for all their cars, so the oil life monitor hits the 7500 mile ceiling every time. If my guess is right, if you really beat on the car, you should see the light come on sooner than 7500 miles even if you reset it to 100% to begin with.

I've heard the "already broken in" thing for over ten years now, and I don't believe it. The break-in period is less necessary than it used to be, yes, but you should still drive it lightly and vary the RPMs for at least the first 1000 miles, then get an oil change with an oil high in moly. After 5000 miles it's business as usual for sure.
 

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This is really a good debate. My initial plan was to do the first change at 5k then proceed to 7,500 after that. I drove the car extremely grandma-like up until now (3k). My friend who just got a new BMW has to go 1000 miles nice and easy for the break-in, then get an oil change, then he can drive it normally. Sure a different engine and company but that idea seems to make sense in that there is a break-in and that break in probably contributes to a bit more "stuff" than normal in the oil. New metal to metal contact inside the engine probably needs to be flushed out sooner (just thinking in my mind) than post break in. My salesperson actually said to bring it in at 5k then do 7,500 after that so it sounds like a plan. I just can't sit comfortably thinking that a break in can go 7,500 miles without a change initially. I will ask them to save the fillter so I can open it up and check it just for fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I think I just figured it out - it may be only 4500 miles since I bought the car, it's it's also coming up on 6 months. That's probably why I'm getting the indicator. I bought the car in mid-June so that's likely why it's telling me to change the oil.

guess I'll make an appointment and have them fix that annoying rattling in the roof (I think it's coming from the dome light) and maybe the "hoot" issue.
 

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topman118 said:
You should get it changed as soon as you can. Every new car should have the first oil change after 1000 miles. An engine takes a while to break in, so you will have metal shavings and other debris that you do not want floating around. After the first oil change you will be safe with every 5,000 miles.
I wouldn't.

No Ford documentation has told you to change it early. The documentation has told you the intervals depending on your environment conditions, stick with it.

In the past, some manufactures put in "special" oil to help with the break-in period, they explicitly wanted that oil to be kept in the engine until the specified mileage was reached. I have no idea if this is still true today or not.
 

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Honda still does it as far as I know. That special oil is usually just a high-moly oil, or a synthetic with assembly lube added to it. You can put an equivalent "special" oil back in if you choose to do an early first oil change.
 

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I got a flyer in the mail yesterday from the dealer for a free oil change / first service check. Our Escape was purchased in August so it's only been 3 months so far. I am going to the dealer Friday for my first oil change at 27xx miles since it's free and it'll be nice to get a once over after 3 months. Also, The oil life meter (just checked) was reading only 31%... I must fall into the severe duty cycle.

I'll ask to see the filter and have it cut open (if the technician has the time) and maybe put my mind at ease about this > 5000 mile stuff. I come from the 3000 mile brigade and it's proved very handy as I keep each vehicle for about 10 years and rack up 200K + miles on them.
 

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I recommend sending a sample to have it analyzed. Normally on a newer engine, there will be more wear materials due to break-in. The thing I like about the analysis is the TBN number. That is how much "additives" are left in the oil. This number can be used to roughly figure how many miles you can go on an oil change. My newly purchased 06 Escape will be getting a oil change at 4k and then I will send the sample in. I have a case of Citgo Semi-syn that I'm using and I don't really know how "good" this oil is so I'm draining early to get a read on the additives left in the oil. Once this case is used up, then I'm switching to Motorcraft Semi syn which is one of the best semi syn's.
 

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skibender said:
The thing I like about the analysis is the TBN number. That is how much "additives" are left in the oil.
Sort of. It's a measure of the alkalinity of the oil, which is there to counter the contamination of acids from the combustion process. There are other additives such as detergents and anti-foaming agents which are not measured by the TBN.
 

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Good point. But by using the TBN number, it's a fairly good indicator if you could extend your change interval or not - correct? I realize that different brands have different additives, cleaning agents, etc. In my case, I've never used the Citgo semi-syn and I want to protect my engine as best as possible so I plan on sending in a sample just to see how the oil performed.
 
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