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Discussion Starter #1
I checked my oil level this morning and noticed it was low, I'm coming up on 6000-6100 miles so I'm debating whether to add and go to 7000 or to just change it altogether. What intervals do you guys use for your oil changes and also do you guys notice this car burns through oil kind of fast?
 

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I don't need any make-up on a 7,500 mile interval; I put 5qts in with the filter when I change it, which puts me right in the middle of the stick, and it doesn't go below during the entire interval.

Then again consumption is somewhat variable on a per-engine basis. If you're at midpoint when starting you're consuming about a half-quart in 6,000 miles, which is well within the "normal" range of expectations.

I'd probably just change it myself, especially if you meet any of the "severe" service parameters.
 

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The Gen 3 user manual for oil capacity is either incorrect or my car has a big belly. Mazda says the oil capacity is 4.8 quarts with filter, but that just about brings the oil to the low mark or below low on the dipstick. Whenever i do oil changes i now put 5.2 to 5.4 quarts with filter which brings the oil level to few hairs below the top notch on the stick.
 

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I don't do a lot of mileage, so it's 6 months for me. Around 6,000 Km or 3,800 miles. I'm in Canada, so I follow the severe schedule.

Last time I changed the oil (first oil change on this car), the dealer have put a hair over the max line on the dipstick and it's hasn't moved 5 months later.


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Discussion Starter #5
I don't need any make-up on a 7,500 mile interval; I put 5qts in with the filter when I change it, which puts me right in the middle of the stick, and it doesn't go below during the entire interval.

Then again consumption is somewhat variable on a per-engine basis. If you're at midpoint when starting you're consuming about a half-quart in 6,000 miles, which is well within the "normal" range of expectations.

I'd probably just change it myself, especially if you meet any of the "severe" service parameters.

Yeah I decided on just doing the full change tonight. Better safe than sorry when it comes to maintenance!
 

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I do 80% highway miles, doing 150 mile round trip 5 days a week so I do 7500 mile oil intervals.

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If I was planning to change the oil in 1,000 - 1,500 miles anyway, I probably wouldn’t want to add a quart right now, either.
 

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Since our car is used primarily for short cold trips I consider it severe service and just change it every six months (usually less than 4K miles). I find it does take over 5 quarts to get the full level on the stick.
 

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I noticed some oil consumption earlier on in the cars life but it sealed up and hasn't burned a drop of oil ever since. With 0w20 obviously you can expect more consumption.

As for intervals, change your oil more often, like every 4000 miles if you drive a lot in the city or do short distance driving. As a precaution I change my oil at around this mark because the oil smells pretty bad by then. I'd say the smell of the oil is a better indication than colour.
 

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There is NO reason to change your oil at 4K miles IF you are using a FULL Synthetic Motor Oil. Waste of time and money.
Weeeelllllll generally true, but not always true.

There are quite-abusive driving patterns (e.g. nearly all short-trip, not-warmed-up, coupled with infrequent use) where 4k may not be unreasonable at all.

So if supported by a UOA, I think it's entirely reasonable. If I was going to run short cycles like this, however, I'd certainly pay once for a UOA to see if I'm wasting money or not, since over time you're talking about a fairly-material amount of expense and figuring out whether it's wise or not is a good idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I do 80% highway miles, doing 150 mile round trip 5 days a week so I do 7500 mile oil intervals.

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Yeah my split is more like 60% highway/40% streets so I try to stay between 6500-7000 mile intervals.
 

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If I was planning to change the oil in 1,000 - 1,500 miles anyway, I probably wouldn’t want to add a quart right now, either.
Exactly my reasoning, I ended up changing it on Friday night!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Weeeelllllll generally true, but not always true.

There are quite-abusive driving patterns (e.g. nearly all short-trip, not-warmed-up, coupled with infrequent use) where 4k may not be unreasonable at all.

So if supported by a UOA, I think it's entirely reasonable. If I was going to run short cycles like this, however, I'd certainly pay once for a UOA to see if I'm wasting money or not, since over time you're talking about a fairly-material amount of expense and figuring out whether it's wise or not is a good idea.
I think I should do an UOA, how do you go about getting this done?
 

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I think I should do an UOA, how do you go about getting this done?
You can get the kits from Blackstone (there are also other labs who do this as well; one that's fairly well-known in the boating community and a LOT of surveyors and such use is Motor Check out of West Palm Beach FL.)

My personal preference is not to use one affiliated with a firm that also sells oil. There's one that I know of that's rather sneaky about it in that they have multiple "names" they operate under; do a bit of research as to who's actually doing the analysis (e.g. who sold you you the kit and where does the sample go is a good start.)

I've used both Blackstone and Motor Check in the past and have been happy with both. Both have sample containers available and instructions for getting a good sample (generally if you're changing the oil you want it from the middle of the stream of the drained oil, not the first or last; if not then you need some sort of means of aspirating some from the crankcase); they usually want about 3oz. You mail it to them and a day or two after they get it you get a report back, usually by email.
 

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Weeeelllllll generally true, but not always true.

There are quite-abusive driving patterns (e.g. nearly all short-trip, not-warmed-up, coupled with infrequent use) where 4k may not be unreasonable at all.

So if supported by a UOA, I think it's entirely reasonable. If I was going to run short cycles like this, however, I'd certainly pay once for a UOA to see if I'm wasting money or not, since over time you're talking about a fairly-material amount of expense and figuring out whether it's wise or not is a good idea.
You're not "wasting money" by changing oil more often...
You can get the kits from Blackstone (there are also other labs who do this as well; one that's fairly well-known in the boating community and a LOT of surveyors and such use is Motor Check out of West Palm Beach FL.)

My personal preference is not to use one affiliated with a firm that also sells oil. There's one that I know of that's rather sneaky about it in that they have multiple "names" they operate under; do a bit of research as to who's actually doing the analysis (e.g. who sold you you the kit and where does the sample go is a good start.)

I've used both Blackstone and Motor Check in the past and have been happy with both. Both have sample containers available and instructions for getting a good sample (generally if you're changing the oil you want it from the middle of the stream of the drained oil, not the first or last; if not then you need some sort of means of aspirating some from the crankcase); they usually want about 3oz. You mail it to them and a day or two after they get it you get a report back, usually by email.
I don't see how making sure your engine has clean oil more often is a waste of money whatsoever. If you're so concerned about saving money, maybe don't bother with the oil analysis kit?

Based on how my oil looks and smells after 4000 miles, I don't think it's outrageous to change at all. In fact I think it's just about the perfect time to do so with this engine.

Some engines such as BMW or Mercedes have the oil filter housing at the top of the engine which prompts some owners to change out the oil filter in the middle of the interval, before the oil begins to get dirty. They claim that even after 1500 miles the oil filter doesn't look clean. Given the size of the mazda oil filters I don't think this is a bad idea at all, but there is going to be some mess. I'm wondering if there are any bigger filters avail for this engine.

Interesting to note, that the oil filter on my BMW came out much cleaner after using some diesel oil for one interval. I was surprised how dirty the crankcase was with merely 70K miles. Could be a good idea to try using some Royal Purple, as it cleans out the crankcase very well.
 

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Weeeelllllll generally true, but not always true....I'd certainly pay once for a UOA to see if I'm wasting money or not
I don't see how making sure your engine has clean oil more often is a waste of money whatsoever. ...
Interesting to note, that the oil filter on my BMW came out much cleaner after using some diesel oil for one interval.
Motor oil basically has 2 main components; the oil itself and an additive package. The additive package is what we need to be concerned about as the motor oil itself does not break down, regardless if it is synthetic, conventional, or a blend.

The part of the additive package we see and judge upon is the dispersants; it is what keeps the contamination within the oil for deposit into the oil filter. This gives you the visual clue of how dirty the oil is; for standard driving conditions if you can see through it (to the dipstick) you most likely are in good shape.

The main additive we are concerned about is the detergents, which does the actual cleaning. This is not a static chemical that does not change; it is a reactive product that chemically changes as time goes on due to oxidation and other processes, becoming more acidic and aggressive; and does it's best job cleaning at the end of the oil change cycle- as per usual, too much activeness is not a good thing as acid eats metal.

Your experience with the diesel oil is not surprising; the main changes in the additive package between spark (gasoline- "S" oils) and compression(diesel "C" oils) are concentrated on the cleaning and dispersion of contaminants. The operating environment is different so the detergents does not "activate" as desired.
Some engines such as BMW or Mercedes have the oil filter housing at the top of the engine which prompts some owners to change out the oil filter in the middle of the interval, before the oil begins to get dirty. They claim that even after 1500 miles the oil filter doesn't look clean. Given the size of the mazda oil filters I don't think this is a bad idea at all, but there is going to be some mess. I'm wondering if there are any bigger filters avail for this engine.
No harm in changing the filter more often; and a larger filter is not a bad idea either; as long as the other specs are retained. The largest commonly available filter I am aware of that will the 20mm stud and gasket base used on the SkyActive is a Fram 3985, which was common place during the AMC-Chrysler years up until 1990. It offers a 1/2 qt capacity but it is quite a bit wider.
 

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DO NOT use non-SkyActiv oil filters on these engines! You're asking for a lube-related engine failure.

Unlike most oil systems which have only an oil pressure regulator at the pump SkyActiv engines have an oil control valve and pressure sensor connected to the ECU and the ECU knows what the filter is supposed to flow like. You may just get a check engine light and code out of a filter not designed for SkyActiv, but you may also get an engine failure.

Don't do it.

Second, IMHO Fram makes garbage. They've been cut open by a number of people over the years and examined, including for the total pleated area of the filter element, bypass design and similar characteristics. I've never been impressed with anything they make.
 

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The Sky-Active engines, like Toyota’s ‘Dynamic Force’ engines, are moving to a system that uses less fuel while pumping oil. It’s not functionally particularly different than oiling systems have been for a very long time, from a high level view. It just uses less fuel.

As I understand it, rather than having a spring-loaded bypass valve that limits system oil pressure, the ECU simply dials down pump output volume in order to keep system pressure below the set limit. With the spring-controlled bypass system, the amount of engine power required to pump full volume through the pump all the time is used. With the ECU-controlled system, less engine power is used because flow through the pump is limited rather than being dumped post-pump.

The net effect is exactly the same, though: Oil flow beyond that which achieves maximum system pressure is not delivered to the engine. In the one case it is dumped back to the sump right after the oil pump, and in the other case the pump is dialed down to just hold right at the flow required to achieve design pressure.

THE OIL FILTER HAS NO MORE IMPACT ON THIS SYSTEM THAN IT HAD ON THE SPRING-CONTROLLED SYSTEMS FOR THE PAST SEVERAL DECADES.
 

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I think I should do an UOA, how do you go about getting this done?
Call a lab (or use their website) or a local oil distributor and order a kit, then catch some oil into the bottle they send you as it’s draining from the drain plug. Send that to them and they’ll send you a report. That’s it! :)

If I want low cost data, I’ll use LabOne (local to me). Many Caterpillar dealers also have small labs on-site. All the major oil companies have an arrangement with one or another of the labs around the country, so you can contact any of the big oil distributors in your area and they’ll almost certainly have kits available. I used Chevron’s LubeWatch program for several years. An internet search for something like “oil analysis labs” will give you many hits on labs you can contact directly.

You might want a lab that runs an actual test for fuel content, and that tests for it via GC (gas chromatography). Many labs don’t test for fuel this way, and some don’t test for fuel at all, even though they give you a fuel content number (Blackstone is one of those who don’t test for fuel at all, though they give you a number).

OTOH, maybe you’re familiar enough with your equipment that you can operate just fine without that piece of data being as accurate.

I’m not a fan of Blackstone because they charge far too much for the data they give, and some of their data isn’t very good (like fuel content). I’ve never used them for the fleet nor any of my other equipment because of this. They do provide more commentary than nearly all other options, and that’s appealing to many, particularly individuals with little or no UOA experience. Their commentary is sometimes very wrong, and other times much like reading a horoscope, but sometimes it’s useful.

You pays your money and you takes your choice...
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