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Old 08-14-2018, 07:09 AM   #1
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Default Who services your Mercedes Sprinter?

How many of you bring your Sprinter to Mercedes or an independent garage you trust? What's your experience?

What service interval? Mine is recommended once per year or every 10,000 miles for a regular oil change and every 20,000 miles in addition, I have the water filter and fuel filter and all the necessary stuff that the owner's manual requires.

Do you get your transmission serviced every 20,000 miles.. Mercedes Benz told me that was very desirable. Judging by the excessive curb weight of these vehicles, I'm willing to spend some extra money on maintaining the transmission fluid and filter changes.

Finally, approximately what do you pay for the following;

Service A- Oil change... approximately $150- $200
Service B- Oil change, fuel, and water filters plus transmission service--$825

Thank goodness the $825 service is only once EVERY 20,000 miles.

The Mercedes Benz Sprinter is a very expensive vehicle to maintain, no question.

Fortunately I have a personal mechanic I can absolutely trust, even more than the Mercedes Benz dealership.

How many of you actually do your own vehicle work? Maybe you're lucky enough to know exactly what to do, if so, congratulations.

Newer vehicles especially like my 2011 Sprinter 3500 with the 3.0 turbo diesel is a very complicated engine...
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Old 08-14-2018, 07:41 AM   #2
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Default Service on your Mercedes Benz Sprinter....who does it????

Who services your Mercedes Sprinter?
How many of you bring your Sprinter to Mercedes or an independent garage you trust? What's your experience?

What service interval? Mine is recommended once per year or every 10,000 miles for a regular oil change and every 20,000 miles in addition, I have the water filter and fuel filter and all the necessary stuff that the owner's manual requires.

Do you get your transmission serviced every 20,000 miles.. Mercedes Benz told me that was very desirable. Judging by the excessive curb weight of these vehicles, I'm willing to spend some extra money on maintaining the transmission fluid and filter changes.

Finally, approximately what do you pay for the following;

Service A- Oil change... approximately $150- $200
Service B- Oil change, fuel, and water filters plus transmission service--$825

Thank goodness the $825 service is only once EVERY 20,000 miles.

The Mercedes Benz Sprinter is a very expensive vehicle to maintain, no question.

Fortunately I have a personal mechanic I can absolutely trust, even more than the Mercedes Benz dealership.

How many of you actually do your own vehicle work? Maybe you're lucky enough to know exactly what to do, if so, congratulations.

Newer vehicles especially like my 2011 Sprinter 3500 with the 3.0 turbo diesel is a very complicated engine.
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Old 08-14-2018, 11:34 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Roadtrek Adventuous RS1 View Post
Who services your Mercedes Sprinter?
How many of you bring your Sprinter to Mercedes or an independent garage you trust? What's your experience?

What service interval? Mine is recommended once per year or every 10,000 miles for a regular oil change and every 20,000 miles in addition, I have the water filter and fuel filter and all the necessary stuff that the owner's manual requires.

Do you get your transmission serviced every 20,000 miles.. Mercedes Benz told me that was very desirable. Judging by the excessive curb weight of these vehicles, I'm willing to spend some extra money on maintaining the transmission fluid and filter changes.

Finally, approximately what do you pay for the following;

Service A- Oil change... approximately $150- $200
Service B- Oil change, fuel, and water filters plus transmission service--$825

Thank goodness the $825 service is only once EVERY 20,000 miles.

The Mercedes Benz Sprinter is a very expensive vehicle to maintain, no question.

Fortunately I have a personal mechanic I can absolutely trust, even more than the Mercedes Benz dealership.

How many of you actually do your own vehicle work? Maybe you're lucky enough to know exactly what to do, if so, congratulations.

Newer vehicles especially like my 2011 Sprinter 3500 with the 3.0 turbo diesel is a very complicated engine.
We've only had our first service done but did that at Freightliner.

Reading here and elsewhere is they are less expensive. If my vehicle was off warranty I would be tempted to find a reputable mechanic.
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Old 08-14-2018, 01:07 PM   #4
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We have the older T1N Sprinter. We do our own oil changes using the Mobil turbodiesel synthetic. Cost for oil and filter is about $75 if I can get the oil on sale.

We have a local MB Sprinter-only shop that is expensive, but that I trust (zip code 77573). The lead mechanic has worked exclusively on Sprinters for 11 years. The trick for some of it is getting them to bundle services so that they charge an hourly labor rate instead of stacking book rates for each individual service. Sometimes that has to be negotiated.

I actually used www.millionmilesprinter.com to do an unexpected repair for me as I was en route from Houston to Nova Scotia the week before last. I had to make a detour in to Philadelphia but that was no big deal. He's great. He's active on Sprinter Forum but I found him on Instagram. He makes one-minute instructional videos on IG, and he works on T1Ns only.
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Old 08-14-2018, 03:29 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadtrek Adventuous RS1 View Post
Who services your Mercedes Sprinter?
How many of you bring your Sprinter to Mercedes or an independent garage you trust? What's your experience?

What service interval? Mine is recommended once per year or every 10,000 miles for a regular oil change and every 20,000 miles in addition, I have the water filter and fuel filter and all the necessary stuff that the owner's manual requires.

Do you get your transmission serviced every 20,000 miles.. Mercedes Benz told me that was very desirable. Judging by the excessive curb weight of these vehicles, I'm willing to spend some extra money on maintaining the transmission fluid and filter changes.

Finally, approximately what do you pay for the following;

Service A- Oil change... approximately $150- $200
Service B- Oil change, fuel, and water filters plus transmission service--$825

Thank goodness the $825 service is only once EVERY 20,000 miles.

The Mercedes Benz Sprinter is a very expensive vehicle to maintain, no question.

Fortunately I have a personal mechanic I can absolutely trust, even more than the Mercedes Benz dealership.

How many of you actually do your own vehicle work? Maybe you're lucky enough to know exactly what to do, if so, congratulations.

Newer vehicles especially like my 2011 Sprinter 3500 with the 3.0 turbo diesel is a very complicated engine.
I have ours done at our local dealer, but only because their prices are very reasonable. They charge $300 for the A-servcie (15K miles for MY2014) and a little over $400 for the B-service (30K). Sprinters are easy to self-service (I did my own on our old T1N), and dealer service has absolutely nothing to do with warranty validity. However, in our case they are convenient, they take care of the record-keeping and any recall work, the price is right, and the biscotti is yummy. And, it must be admitted that establishing "good will" with Mercedes sometimes has value in unusual situations. Some dealers apparently charge three times what ours does. At anything like that kind of money, I would have my local garage do it. It isn't rocket science. The engines may be complicated, but the service regimens are not.

Not sure what you mean the "Mercedes-Benz" recommends 20K transmission service. Your model year specifies every other "B" service, which in your case would be 40K miles. Mine is the same, except that for MY2014 it would be 60K. Recent model years say the first B-servcie and then at (I think) 80K miles and that is it. Maybe by "Mercedes-Benz" you meant your service advisor. If so, you should be aware that they are typically a truly awful source of information. It is kind of like going into a health-food store and asking the clerk whether Ginkgo Biloba is good for you. In what possible universe would the answer ever be anything other than "of course"? Service advisors have a financial conflict of interest, little training, no real access to the relevant statistics, and generally are prone to just make stuff up. Fluids that are not subjected to combustion products last a LONG time. Exceeding OEM recommendations is almost certainly a waste of money.

As for cost, I disagree that current production Sprinters are particularly expensive to maintain, assuming you only do what is actually required and avoid overpriced dealers. Service intervals are 20K these days, and the needed service is quotidian. Out of warranty repairs are a different matter, though. THEY can be ruinously expensive.
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Old 08-14-2018, 03:40 PM   #6
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Default How much are you paying for Mobile 1???

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We have the older T1N Sprinter. We do our own oil changes using the Mobil turbodiesel synthetic. Cost for oil and filter is about $75 if I can get the oil on sale.

We have a local MB Sprinter-only shop that is expensive, but that I trust (zip code 77573). The lead mechanic has worked exclusively on Sprinters for 11 years. The trick for some of it is getting them to bundle services so that they charge an hourly labor rate instead of stacking book rates for each individual service. Sometimes that has to be negotiated.

I actually used www.millionmilesprinter.com to do an unexpected repair for me as I was en route from Houston to Nova Scotia the week before last. I had to make a detour in to Philadelphia but that was no big deal. He's great. He's active on Sprinter Forum but I found him on Instagram. He makes one-minute instructional videos on IG, and he works on T1Ns only.
There's 13.2 quarts of oil in this engine......I paid $7 per quart.... that's a pretty good deal...but, that's still $92.40 just for the oil plus another $15 for the filter..,..My shop only charged me $50 for labor on the basic oil change,. I don't think that's unreasonable at all...do you????

Do you actually change your own fuel water separator element ?? That's a lot more maintenance and work...,The water separator element alone costs $75..…plus labor to install of $100....

My mechanic charges me $100 per hour flat rate for the work he actually does....not bad compared to the Mercedes Benz dealership...they charge $205 per hour.... RIDICULOUS...
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Old 08-14-2018, 03:46 PM   #7
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Redundant threads merged. Please avoid double-posting.
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Old 08-14-2018, 04:13 PM   #8
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Default Congratulations on the "longer" service intervals.. I think??

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I have ours done at our local dealer, but only because their prices are very reasonable. They charge $300 for the A-servcie (15K miles for MY2014) and a little over $400 for the B-service (30K). Sprinters are easy to self-service (I did my own on our old T1N), and dealer service has absolutely nothing to do with warranty validity. However, in our case they are convenient, they take care of the record-keeping and any recall work, the price is right, and the biscotti is yummy. And, it must be admitted that establishing "good will" with Mercedes sometimes has value in unusual situations. Some dealers apparently charge three times what ours does. At anything like that kind of money, I would have my local garage do it. It isn't rocket science. The engines may be complicated, but the service regimens are not.

Not sure what you mean the "Mercedes-Benz" recommends 20K transmission service. Your model year specifies every other "B" service, which in your case would be 40K miles. Mine is the same, except that for MY2014 it would be 60K. Recent model years say the first B-servcie and then at (I think) 80K miles and that is it. Maybe by "Mercedes-Benz" you meant your service advisor. If so, you should be aware that they are typically a truly awful source of information. It is kind of like going into a health-food store and asking the clerk whether Ginkgo Biloba is good for you. In what possible universe would the answer ever be anything other than "of course"? Service advisors have a financial conflict of interest, little training, no real access to the relevant statistics, and generally are prone to just make stuff up. Fluids that are not subjected to combustion products last a LONG time. Exceeding OEM recommendations is almost certainly a waste of money.

As for cost, I disagree that current production Sprinters are particularly expensive to maintain, assuming you only do what is actually required and avoid overpriced dealers. Service intervals are 20K these days, and the needed service is quotidian. Out of warranty repairs are a different matter, though. THEY can be ruinously expensive.
My personal mechanic, whom I have trusted and used for more than 20 years told me that even though Mercedes has "extended" the service interval up to 15,000 now 20,000 miles...on oil changes...he said in his professional opinion, that the actual limit for oil to break down is 10,000 or one year....are you driving 15,000 miles per year...OR...do you disagree that the oil should be changed at least once per year???

My 2011 Sprinter requires the oil to be changed once per year...

As far as the transmission is concerned....I had the transmission service at Mercedes Benz dealership the first time around 18,000 miles ago......they said.. that they did the "full service"...my mechanic thinks that they only changed the fluids and not the filter!!! I'm going to ask them about this....my mechanic said that the fluid was pretty dirty.....

Mercedes Benz said to have the transmission fluid changed EVERY 20,000 miles not 40,000 miles..... Glad I did it....

I don't know where you live...my mechanic charges $100 per hour for labor.. which I think is reasonable....MB charges $205 per hour....

Your $300 price for service A...at the dealership labor price would not allow for anything here where we live...you know what I mean??

Out of warranty repairs are a different matter, though. THEY can be ruinously expensive.[/QUOTE]


My 2012 RS Adventurous ( with the 2011 Mercedes Benz Sprinter 3500) is out of warranty.... What do you mean by ruinous? Everything is extremely expensive ...it's a Mercedes.

Good luck with your vehicle..
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Old 08-14-2018, 04:26 PM   #9
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Default Yes... sorry.... I originally posted this on the Class B plus page....

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Redundant threads merged. Please avoid double-posting.
Wanted this in the regular Class B discussion....
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Old 08-14-2018, 06:43 PM   #10
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My personal mechanic, whom I have trusted and used for more than 20 years told me that even though Mercedes has "extended" the service interval up to 15,000 now 20,000 miles...on oil changes...he said in his professional opinion, that the actual limit for oil to break down is 10,000 or one year....are you driving 15,000 miles per year...OR...do you disagree that the oil should be changed at least once per year???

My 2011 Sprinter requires the oil to be changed once per year...
I strongly believe in doing exactly what the OEM recommends. They are the ONLY ones who have the data necessary to do objectively valid analyses. I am fully aware that the Internet is full of conspiracy theorists who believe that MB wants your vehicle to fail the day the warranty expires. I am not one of them.

This is a question for a chemical engineer not a mechanic. Most people have not the slightest idea how much science goes into the OCI recommendations. Take 20 minutes and watch this:



As for time-based OCI, I really don't know. Mercedes is all over the place on that. My model year (2014) has no such requirement, but other years do, and there is no obvious pattern. I just wait till the van's ASSYST system says I need service. It monitors all kinds of stuff. Usually, it is 15K mines, but I have had longer and shorter.


Quote:
As far as the transmission is concerned....I had the transmission service at Mercedes Benz dealership the first time around 18,000 miles ago......they said.. that they did the "full service"...my mechanic thinks that they only changed the fluids and not the filter!!! I'm going to ask them about this....my mechanic said that the fluid was pretty dirty.....

Mercedes Benz said to have the transmission fluid changed EVERY 20,000 miles not 40,000 miles..... Glad I did it....
Don't think so.

From the MY2011 Maintenance Manual:

2011 trans fluid.jpg

If my transmission oil were "dirty" at that milage, I would want to know why.

Quote:
I don't know where you live...my mechanic charges $100 per hour for labor.. which I think is reasonable....MB charges $205 per hour....

Your $300 price for service A...at the dealership labor price would not allow for anything here where we live...you know what I mean??

Out of warranty repairs are a different matter, though. THEY can be ruinously expensive.


My 2012 RS Adventurous ( with the 2011 Mercedes Benz Sprinter 3500) is out of warranty.... What do you mean by ruinous?
I mean that there are failures (mostly emissions-related) that can cost an absurd amount of money, as has been extensively discussed on this forum.
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Old 08-14-2018, 06:53 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Roadtrek Adventuous RS1 View Post
Wanted this in the regular Class B discussion....
The mods are always glad to move threads around upon the OP's request.
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Old 08-15-2018, 02:24 AM   #12
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Default Thank you for being so gracious moving my thread..

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The mods are always glad to move threads around upon the OP's request.
I'll be careful to start the post in the right location.....
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Old 08-15-2018, 02:39 AM   #13
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I just noticed that Ihttps://youtu.be/l-zDt9FGJi8[/URL] posted the wrong OCI video above (although it is pretty interesting too). Here's the one I mean to post:

[EDIT: oops. This isn't quite the same video that I was thinking of. The right one is posted later in this thread.]

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Old 08-19-2018, 05:27 PM   #14
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We use our local MB dealer that has a dedicated "fleet" (e.g. Sprinter) service manager and technicians. Hourly rates are about same as any other mechanic. MB parts are expensive, but probably worth it. Our service manager usually can find a coupon code for our service. Whenever I ask our service manager about accelerating maintenance he discourages it, says no need. The modern Sprinter has enough self adjustments and diagnostics that it is not needed. I have more faith in German engineers (who are very conservative) and professional fleet managers than local mechanics who have "opinions". The only thing that might make one consider accelerating maintenance is lack of use. If you run your Sprinter hard and often, it should last for many many hundreds of thousands of miles. (I just saw one at dealer with 700k miles, no special maintenance.) Sitting idle, though, is not good for these diesel work vans.
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Old 08-19-2018, 06:23 PM   #15
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We use our local MB dealer that has a dedicated "fleet" (e.g. Sprinter) service manager and technicians. Hourly rates are about same as any other mechanic. MB parts are expensive, but probably worth it. Our service manager usually can find a coupon code for our service. Whenever I ask our service manager about accelerating maintenance he discourages it, says no need. The modern Sprinter has enough self adjustments and diagnostics that it is not needed. I have more faith in German engineers (who are very conservative) and professional fleet managers than local mechanics who have "opinions". The only thing that might make one consider accelerating maintenance is lack of use. If you run your Sprinter hard and often, it should last for many many hundreds of thousands of miles. (I just saw one at dealer with 700k miles, no special maintenance.) Sitting idle, though, is not good for these diesel work vans.
Your attitudes and their rationales match mine pretty much dead on. So many people are irrationally committed to needlessly frequent service intervals without a shred of supporting evidence. I guess it is part of the "enthusiast's excess" that many of us are guilty of. Whatever the recommendations are in any given era, somebody says "that's nuts" When OCIs were 3K miles, it was "that's way too long, I'm doing 1.5K". When it was 5K, it was "that's obviously crazy...". Now that it is 20K, suddenly 10k is magically OK.

People are fond of mantras like "engines are expensive but oil is cheap" or my favorite: "The goal isn't long oil life, it is long engine life." This is nonsense, the goal is neither. It is running your van at lowest net cost to your pocketbook and to the environment.

I'm with you: Trust the science and the engineers.
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Old 08-19-2018, 06:50 PM   #16
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Default 700,000 miles...? Is HIGH MILEAGE a myth?

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Your attitudes and their rationales match mine pretty much dead on. So many people are irrationally committed to needlessly frequent service intervals without a shred of supporting evidence. I guess it is part of the "enthusiast's excess" that many of us are guilty of. Whatever the recommendations are in any given era, somebody says "that's nuts" When OCIs were 3K miles, it was "that's way too long, I'm doing 1.5K". When it was 5K, it was "that's obviously crazy...". Now that it is 20K, suddenly 10k is magically OK.

People are fond of mantras like "engines are expensive but oil is cheap" or my favorite: "The goal isn't long oil life, it is long engine life." This is nonsense, the goal is neither. It is running your van at lowest net cost to your pocketbook and to the environment.

I'm with you: Trust the science and the engineers.
Avanti, okay.... you're agreeing that these engines are capable of 500,000 to 750,000 miles with proper maintenance?

I've heard people say "high mileage" on diesels is NOT a factor.....to wit NADA does NOT consider mileage on diesels....it's ONLY a factor of value on gasoline engine vehicles!

Someone told me that it was more likely that the coach will fall apart before the Mercedes Benz engine fails......now that doesn't mean you might have problems with the emissions system or other components......

I've met people with Sprinters who had 800,000 kilometers.. that's about 500,000 miles..

As far as oil change intervals.... Mercedes Benz started with a 10,000 mile change for my 2011...then later increased this to 15,000 around 2015 and now in 2017 or 2018 increased it again to 20,000....it's still the same 0M642 engine....a 3 litre V6 turbo diesel... WHY.. increase it.....was this arbitrary...... I really don't know......

Look, servicing your vehicle every 10,000 miles is a good benchmark in my opinion... WHY...I don't usually put more than 10,000 miles a year on my vehicle.....it's not just miles.. it's TIME...

Regardless of what you decide...it's all about personal choice...I don't believe you need to have your vehicle exclusively serviced by the dealership either.... BUT... sometimes necessary.
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Old 08-19-2018, 07:02 PM   #17
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Look, servicing your vehicle every 10,000 miles is a good benchmark in my opinion... WHY...I don't usually put more than 10,000 miles a year on my vehicle.....it's not just miles.. it's TIME...
Just out of curiosity, do you have any actual data to support the claim that "time" is an important factor in OCI? I'm not saying that it isn't, but I have never seen any convincing data one way or the other. Mercedes is all over the place on this. Some model years they say one thing, other years they say something else. My MY2014 has no documented time-based service requirement for oil. Frankly, it looks more like editorial sloppiness than actual engineering recommendations.

I am not asking for opinions, or unsupported hand-wavy claims like "acids build up in the oil". I am asking for actual science. Anybody know of any? Absent that, I have to assume that this is just one of the many baseless bits of folklore that has always plagued the automotive industry. I am open-minded, though.
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Old 08-19-2018, 07:46 PM   #18
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Default Common sense

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Just out of curiosity, do you have any actual data to support the claim that "time" is an important factor in OCI? I'm not saying that it isn't, but I have never seen any convincing data one way or the other. Mercedes is all over the place on this. Some model years they say one thing, other years they say something else. My MY2014 has no documented time-based service requirement for oil. Frankly, it looks more like editorial sloppiness than actual engineering recommendations.

I am not asking for opinions, or unsupported hand-wavy claims like "acids build up in the oil". I am asking for actual science. Anybody know of any? Absent that, I have to assume that this is just one of the many baseless bits of folklore that has always plagued the automotive industry. I am open-minded, though.
Read this link.....

https://community.cartalk.com/t/does-motor-oil-break-down-over-time-with-little-mileage-or-engine-hours/66042

I've also heard people who say that there's cases of army vehicles where the oil has NEVER been changed only added....

Look, there's a reason why filters are on engines for contaminants, water separator filters etc.

I happen to think 10,000 miles is entirely reasonable.
Years ago it was 3,000 , then 5,000, then 7,500....

Now, with synthetic oil change....10,000 escalated to 15,000 and now 20,000.....

Many people will follow this thinking that it might save them money??

When something happens...it will be too late....

Give me a a good reason why Mercedes Benz decided to double the service interval.....

When I purchased my rig... they said change the oil once per year regardless of mileage.... I think that is good advice.

I follow this on my cars as well.....

My last car was a 19 year old Honda Accord that I purchased brand new and never needed engine work....

What's your opinion on the 700,000 miles and myth of high mileage???

All too often I find people are always concerned about high miles.....I'm more concerned about regular maintenance..
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Old 08-19-2018, 08:04 PM   #19
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[QUOTE=Roadtrek Adventuous RS1;78951]Read this link.....

https://community.cartalk.com/t/does...ne-hours/66042

Thanks. But that was a long thread, and I couldn't find any data. Did I miss it? Don't meant to be snide, but I have heard all the opinions. I am looking for facts.
Quote:

Give me a a good reason why Mercedes Benz decided to double the service interval.....
Better data?
Better oil?

Mercedes has the data (from millions of vehicles serviced by thousands of dealers). Nobody else does. Isn't it plausible that when they switched to modern synthetic oil they started out conservatively, and then eased up when the data supported it?

What possible motivation do we have to second-guess them?
Quote:

When I purchased my rig... they said change the oil once per year regardless of mileage.... I think that is good advice.
I KNOW what folks think. The question is why? As far as I can tell, numbers like 10K miles are being pulled out of thin air. Why 10K. Model T Fords had 400 mile OCIs. Wouldn't that be even better?

You should do what you think best, but I am hoping for data.
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Old 08-19-2018, 09:05 PM   #20
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What we are hearing all the time is mostly conjecture, as Avanti says, but even the "measureables" in the oil debate are not really that much different. You can get oil analysis and an opinion from the test company as to remaining life of the oil, but exactly what the limits are for what they measure are pretty much the same type of thing as the mileage recommendations. At least he measurements of the oil are repeatable, though.


The only way to really tell if an interval is better than another is to have both intervals run in controlled circumstance with a large sample size, which even the OEMs and oil companies very likely don't even do.


The oil life monitors in vehicles are getting better, but they still don't take into account all of the things that vehicles see in daily life. They don't actually measure anything about the oil itself, just the conditions it is being run in, with the results into an algorithm. How well do the algorithms actually take into account "harsh conditions" which used to be the buzz for doing oil changes twice as often?


Do I trust engineers? Nope, because I am one I can tell you from personal experience, tested, that oil company and OEM vehicle manufactures have missed badly on oil in the past. When the change to SL, then SM, oil took place there was a reduction in antiscuff components like zinc to help prevent catalytic converter fouling. Scuffing is a big deal for metal on metal parts like non roller valve trains and camshafts, timing chains, oil pumps, etc so the older vehicles were most susceptible to lowered anitscuff additives. Those of us that had muscle car type hotrods were very concerned when it happened, and I personally called at least a half dozen oil manufacturers and Chrysler, as that was the vehicle brand I had. All said that there was no issue with the new oils because the "oil is better" and replacement additives just as good. My car ate 3 valvetrains in year that required full teardowns to repair on SM oil. It cost me many thousands of dollars and lots and lots of hours of work because you have to completely tear down an engine to scrub out metal particles from that kind of failure. At the time, both motorcycle oil and diesel oils were still high in antiscuff, so I changed to motorcycle oil at the last repair and had no problems after that, nor did anyone else I knew who did similar. Oil companies denied any responsibility, but then slowly started introducing "old car oils", "small engine oils", "high mileage oils" etc that had the old antiscuff additives, so they knew the caused the issues. Now they say not to use the latest oils on any engines with flat tappets or unrollerized valve trains, which is just the opposite of what they used to say.


I have no idea what the maximum amount of time that you can go between changes is, especially with a diesel. The whole concept of oil dilution from fuel in it would certainly indicate caution, I think. Doesn't MB even say to keep an eye on the oil level as an indicator of fuel in the oil? It would be very interesting to see if oil that was removed as soon as the level increased to noticeable levels would pass an oil analysis.


A couple of decades ago, I worked with an engineer who had worked at the local Ford assembly plant and he claimed that he was there for several the increases in oil change intervals and that is was all marketing as long intervals were good for sales, and the vehicles would still make it through the warranty period. I have no idea if that is true, but I wouldn't be surprised.



As for the time between "rules", I don't know that there really are any that can be truly counted on, but here in the frozen north, one of the best ways to tell is to pull off a breather hose or pcv valve and look for condensation and white glop buildup. If you are getting buildup, you need to change oil more often, or do a lot more high speed driving. I have seen fairly new vehicles with enough glop in the valve covers that it is kind of molded around the rockers.


I think a good test for those with diesels, especially, is to drain your oil into a clean container, preferably glass or transparent plastic, and let it sit for week. Look for fuel and/or water separation and if the darkening from top to bottom is quite uniform, by shining a bright light through the bottle. Sometimes you can get a real surprise that way, especially if you have a leaky injector or cylinder that isn't firing, or maybe a small coolant leak at a head gasket or intake manifold.
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