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I believe the original manual, as well as others, recommend X miles or once a year oil change. Whichever comes first.

Sure oil is relatively cheap, and I probably could've changed my oil in Spider by the time I've typed this, but is this yearly oil change mandatory for regularly used cars that may average 1200 miles a year?

I'm sure the crankcase gets acidic and even water in it from combustion, but it's tough dumping expensive oil that looks brand new - not that I'm being stingy - as the cost of oil is cheap next to a rebuild.

But what's the consensus here? Are you all dumping clean oil every Jan 1? Likely I will be doing it soon enough but I feel like I don't totally understand the scientific rationale. Again, it's more or a logic issue about oil. What happens to unused oil in a crankcase versus in - say - a plastic jug?

Sure I could just change it, but like what's the scientific rationale? Perhaps this is a better question for Bob is the Oil Guy, but that place is fun but a little nutso.
 

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Yes, yearly oil changes, no exceptions

Yes

Yearly oil changes, no if ands or buts. Water condenses into the engine when the engine is shut down. There it combines with combustion blowby to make acids. This is bad enough in itself, but what's really bad is that the acids attack and destroy the additives in the oil.

You said

"What happens to unused oil in a crankcase versus in - say - a plastic jug?"

Same thing that happens to an apple that someone has taken a small bite out of, versus an apple that has 100% intact skin.

Once the skin is broken, the apple rapidly rots.

If sending the used oil to the recyclers really brings tears to your eyes, then run it through a strainer and give it to somebody who has an oil burning vehicle.

Bye
 

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I change mine every year and I probably drive less than a thousand miles in that time. But my oil looks pretty skanky after that ...These are Alfa's right?

I don't use synthetic oil, so it's cheap, and I try to do it right after I've had my coffee on a gorgeous Saturday morning. Gets me outside and I reconnect with the car.

I put a large sheet of clean cardboard under the car and lay on it for a while. It's relaxing under there, and I take the time to look to see what all has busted loose in the past year.

I get the cardboard from the Dania store up the road. It catches the drips too.
 

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Yearly oil changes, no if ands or buts. Water condenses into the engine when the engine is shut down. There it combines with combustion blowby to make acids. This is bad enough in itself, but what's really bad is that the acids attack and destroy the additives in the oil.
That is certainly the case if the car is driven frequently for short trips but I would question whether it applies to a car that is driven hard less frequently.
 

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OCDUFF: From what you wrote, it sounds like you answered your own question. Oil is cheap insurance. An open oil can, or engine sump, attracts a lot of trash. Read the label on a bottle of brake fluid. It attracts moisture. You mention water & acid. Are you just hoping someone will confirm what you already know ? But, why would you suggest January 1 ? Are you in the deep South ? Change it just before your first outing.
 

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Is an Alfa oil change something the local grease monkeys can handle if I provide the oil and filter or is it more of a delicate procedure and they'll likely just break something? I've always had my Alfa mechanic do it but he's injured and not available. I don't have the space or even a floor jack. Any suggestions?
 

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I change mine twice a year at least, but then I put 5k - 7.5 K on it as in the nice weather it is practically my daily driver. Curious thing is my oil almost always looks clean and not "skanky" as Boccaccia has said, even the time I hadn't changed it in 5,000 miles once. It is in fact the cleanest vehicle I have ever owned as far as motor oil looks are concerned. Honestly I once had a Volvo 142 and even with a rebuilt motor, the oil looked crappy after 1,000 miles, (yes, even after break in and longer). I always assumed Iron block vs. aluminum.
...and carverlvr, yes it is a simple oil change anyone can do....then again a lot of "anyones" are not qualified to breathe on their own let alone hold a wrench.
 

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I usually change the oil at about 5000-7000 mile intervals, regardless of time, and change the filter at least once or twice in the meantime.

I've put in excess of 180-200k miles on some of the many Alfas I've owned, and now 178k miles on my daily driver 91S at this point. Even at that kind of mileage, the engines have shown excellent oil pressure (~50 psi hot at cruise), good compression, easily passing smog checks, no smoke, no unusual oil consumption (well, they were Alfas, the Milano and LS use no oil between changes, the S is a gulper from new, bad OEM oil rings), whatever. No reason for rebuilding, except for maybe a failed head gasket which wasn't retorqued as they seem to need.

I never worry if the oil turns dark, as it is supposed to because of the detergents inherent in the product holding deposits in suspension. doesn't mean anything. Anything large enough to do harm to a bearing will always be taken out by the filter, the rest does nothing. Thinking the oil turning black is bad is misguided opinion.
 

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Is an Alfa oil change something the local grease monkeys can handle if I provide the oil and filter or is it more of a delicate procedure and they'll likely just break something? I've always had my Alfa mechanic do it but he's injured and not available. I don't have the space or even a floor jack. Any suggestions?
I wouldn't take any car to a 10-minute oil-change place, much less my Alfa. But there isn't anything peculiar to the Alfa that a good European-car mechanic wouldn't be able to handle. I would provide the mechanic the appropriate filter and the copper crush washer for the drain plug, both of which you can get from the usual Alfa suppliers. (You can get a filter that is the right size at most auto-parts stores, but I stick with the Alfa-parts vendors).

Tell the mechanic that the torque spec for the drain plug is 30-40 ft-lbs, and that's everything he needs to know, other than the type of oil you want. There are plenty of opinions and threads on this board about what the right type and weight of oil to use is, but that isn't the point of your question. (But I use 20W-50 non-synthetic oil and change it every 3,000 miles, which is usually about every 3-6 months).
 

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I change twice a year, March and July. Oh, I drive my 1967 quite a lot. As of today I have done ten laps around the globe in 45 years, so I guess I'm not a regular Duetto driver. :laugh: Don't forget the oil filter too.

But IMHO the oil is utterly important for our good ol'Alfas.
 

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another little thing to remember is if you get an original size alfa oil filter, it can be changed from underneath (space to pull it out from under the car is scarce, but the original sized filter will come out there)...oh, that's providing the engine mounts have not collapsed....!

It is possible that with a bigger filter (some aftermarket filters are not only longer but fatter) then you need to remove the air filter box (that means the AFM connector, the big air hose etc) to get it out from up top.......your local grease monkey might mess up there;)

Most will just suck out the engine oil thru the dip stick when you are not looking, which I hate!

just a little point to remember, as I say:)
 

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my cars see maybe 3000-5000 miles a year. The oil is changed twice a year as is the filter. I use STP with each change. The removed oil is pretty clean, not black, maybe like maple syrup. Is this a waste of oil, money and time? Yea probably, but the money is relatively small, the oil as well, my time not really wasted as I enjoy doing it. I believe the oil changes with temp fluctuations here in the motherland and that condensation in the sump is something I need to consider. The neighbor has a used oil burner in his workshop and is grateful for the used stuff I give him. He in turn lets me use his planer when I have really big boards to plane. I'm old skool. BTW dirty oil is dirty because it's doing its job. Ciao, jc
 

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Is an Alfa oil change something the local grease monkeys can handle if I provide the oil and filter or is it more of a delicate procedure and they'll likely just break something? I've always had my Alfa mechanic do it but he's injured and not available. I don't have the space or even a floor jack. Any suggestions?
Last time I took a car to an oil-change-only place, they broke the coolant return nipple off the car's radiator neck. (Toyota Camry-ten years ago) I'd trust a real service station to do the job for you, but not one of those roadside oil changers. There's too much risk that they will strip your drain plug, or bust something and deny it, like they did on my Camry.
 

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Is an Alfa oil change something the local grease monkeys can handle if I provide the oil and filter or is it more of a delicate procedure and they'll likely just break something? I've always had my Alfa mechanic do it but he's injured and not available. I don't have the space or even a floor jack. Any suggestions?
Heck on a spider you can put one wheel on a curb and probably have enough room to get at the filter and drain plug. Plus you can let everything drain out unlike the Jiffy Lubes where they only get the bulk of the dirty stuff out.
 

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I've changed the oil in all my Alfas for decades. It's just not that big a deal. Haven't even had to jack up most of them to do this or change the filter.

The Milano is probably the easiest of the cars we have right now to change the oil and replace the filter, as you can reach down past the manifold to reach the filter and ease it up. The 164, I have to remove the right tire to reach in to get the filter. I just use the small 164 24V filter for all cars (I change it between oil changes), and the proper size band wrench.

Otherwise, not hard to remove the sump plug to drain the oil in any of the cars into an oil change pan.
 

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a good alternative to having/buying a hydraulic jack, (which unless you know the right points to apply it to, can screw up your aluminum parts), is to buy a set of ramps! you just drive it up on there and youre good to go. theyre cheap too.
 

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One way to get a better feel for the oil change interval is to send an oil sample to a lab. I use Blackstone labs.

One's experience will vary depending upon the type of driving done and the condition of the engine. On my motorcycle, which doesn't see stop-and-go stuff and has low mileage, the oil is in fine shape after 2,000 miles and really doesn't need changing annually. The Total Base Number (TBN) on the last sample was 7.0. TBN is an indication of how much of the acid neutralizer in the additive package has been used. Blackstone recommends not letting it get below 1.0, so it was fine in terms of not building up acid.

Good luck whatever you decide!

Bob Stewart
'73 GTV
 

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Even then, many seem to get carried away with overly frequent changes of today's modern lubes; but if it makes them feel good, no problems with that.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I'm the OP and suspect the only way to address this question is to send a sample to Blackstone and have it analyzed.

My best guess - the oil is perfectly good, no need to change it.

Or, I could just change it and get on with my day.

But until I get it analyzed I won't know the answer and I suppose I don't care enough to know. ;)

Any other tests out there on 2 year old motor oil that's barely got 1200 miles on it? That would be enlightening. And I suspect, like the mandatory 3,000 mile oil change, it could be debunked.
 
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