Car care in the time of Covid
May 23, 2020 6:31 PM   Subscribe

I have a low mileage car that's gone about 7 months/2000 miles since its last oil change. I usually try to get one every 6 months regardless of mileage because it's an older car and I use it for a general checkup. Currenly I'm only driving about 20 miles a week thanks to social distancing. Can I wait a while longer for the oil change trip to the mechanic? I'm still trying to avoid unnecessary interactions with the public.
posted by TwoStride to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I think it's probably fine (but I'll leave it to others to be more definitive), but I was surprised to learn that some of the larger garages around here were doing contactless pickup for service. So, like, you leave the keys in your car, they come and pick up the car, drive it to their garage, service it, and drive it back to your house. It's worth investigating whether that's an option near you.
posted by Betelgeuse at 6:49 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


I literally just got an oil change today. Dropped off the car out front, handed off keys outside. When I picked up the car we were both wearing masks and stayed 6' apart to do the payment. 5 minutes max interaction. So much less than grocery shopping. It was worth it to not work my engine.

Honestly it's not that hard to do yourself, depending on the model of your car.
posted by ananci at 6:51 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


You might phone the mechanic, who knows the vehicle, and ask what they think.
posted by lathrop at 7:09 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


I usually try to get one every 6 months regardless of mileage

I've heard this advice from mechanics (but myself, I only go by the odometer, not the calendar).
posted by Rash at 7:25 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Many of the quick oil change places have switched to where you drive the car into the service bay and you stay in the car. The service people talk to you with your window cracked open and they are wearing masks (I live in Seattle). Of course they omit the interior vacuuming and window washing but they do the usual outside stuff.
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 7:32 PM on May 23


You can absolutely wait. You might want to check the level.
posted by fritley at 7:48 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


Just change it as soon as you start driving substantially again. If you were using synthetic oil I wouldn't worry about it at all. But since you probably aren't, it is aging, but not enough to worry about for now.
posted by wotsac at 7:53 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Make sure your engine comes up to temperature at least once every couple weeks and you'll be fine for at least another 1000 miles.
posted by Mitheral at 9:39 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


One of the big advantages of professional oil changes is that they check the other fluids, as well as tires, brakes, etc. If you have a coolant leak the mileage may not be the determining factor. If you’re good at remembering to check your tire pressure, maybe this isn’t relevant, but for a lot of people it is. The absolute risk of this particular interaction seems super low.
posted by wnissen at 9:51 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


There are absolutely zero issues with waiting. Just keep checking the oil level and keep driving it as you are.

Also, check tyre pressures too. Other than that I'd not even give it any more thought.
posted by Brockles at 10:17 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


I'd be on the lookout for battery going dead first. But driving it every week for a few blocks wouldn't hurt
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 11:43 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


I think you can wait; it's what I'm doing. When you decide to get the oil changed, go to a dealer or mechanic, not to Jiffy Lube or the like. Those places have a terrible record of Doing It Wrong, and the consequences can be very expensive.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:43 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


I drive a similar amount to you normally (and virtually none at all now), and am planning to wait another couple of months for an oil change. I think you could normally go well over 6 months with low mileage, particularly if you use synthetic. My last oil change (new car, first oil change) the mechanic was very surprised I only had 3000 miles after seven months and said I could've waited longer.

Getting your engine properly warmed up at least one every week or two will help as well - easy to forget about if you aren't leaving the house or only take short trips.
posted by photo guy at 8:19 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


My garage queen is driven 1000 miles per year and I follow the manufacturer’s recommendation: an annual oil change.
posted by Monochrome at 9:28 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


I think most car manufacturers recommended an oil change at least once a year. 6 months shouldn't be an issue'.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 5:03 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]


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