Change oil. Need or not?

ER Classics Desktop 2022

Is it necessary to change the oil every year or after a certain distance driven? Or is it a story of the garage to be able to carry out an expensive maintenance?

change oil

Willibrordus van der Weide has been fighting a lonely battle against the oil industry for years. According to him, we are unnecessarily rushed to costs. “Provided you meet a few conditions, you don't have to change engine oil, if at all, filling it up is enough.” Just like the Americans have been doing for centuries. But according to Van der Weide, this is often only necessary after hundreds of thousands of kilometers. “That saves you a lot of money and it is less harmful to the environment,” according to the petro-chemist.

a calculation

If you consider all cars whose oil is changed at least once a year, you are quickly talking about millions of euros and liters of oil. Just in our country. So the stakes are high and Willibrordus has the feeling that his story is not welcomed in the industry. “Nobody wants to hear my story because it's about a lot, a lot of money.”

That is why the industry is skeptical about the 'Van der Weide method'

Experts endorse the usefulness of measuring acidity, but that is not enough. The approach is that motor oil contains additives, called dopes or additives. In such an interim oil test it is necessary, but impossible, to measure the amount of additives. There are simply too many: additives that do all kinds of things, such as lubrication, preventing oil from foaming, depositing dirt on the cylinder wall, contaminating the catalytic converter, and so on. 

If you don't change the oil, these protective additives will disappear at some point and you will get wear and tear in critical places in the engine. As a result, the block will either use more oil because you have to top up more often, or it will use more petrol because the engine is less well lubricated. If, according to that approach, you save on oil by not changing the oil, you will spend more money on petrol, or you will have to top up your oil more often than usual.

play it safe

That's why car manufacturers choose a 'safe margin' when determining the number of kilometers after which you should change your oil. They assume average car use, while the way you use your car determines the speed at which the additives are 'worn out'. With someone who drives a lot of short distances, often making a cold start, the oil quality will deteriorate faster than someone who often drives long distances, and therefore allows the oil to heat up. In the meantime, new cars are increasingly equipped with sensors that measure car use and, depending on this, indicate when it is time for a service, during which the oil is changed. Our classic are not so smart yet.


Conclusion: depending on your classic car use, changing engine oil is not necessarily necessary as often as the garage or car manufacturer would have you believe. But never to do it again? That seems to us to link. We agree with Willibrordus van der Weide, who applies the economical approach, supported by his self-developed, partially vegetable, Yellow Miracle Oil, in his own vehicle fleet.



Give a reaction
  1. Gentlemen,
    I got the chart from the same top people at Shell where they point very clearly to the chart in question
    If your engine oil is diluted by fuel, it is not the worst to a certain extent, but do not forget that your flash point of the oil drops quickly with all its consequences, and certainly with the larger diesels from about 1500 to 7 to 8000 HP that have a running mineral oil @ full load……….

  2. Sometimes the “oil level” rises due to fuel entering the crankcase along the piston wall.
    In my opinion, the lubricating properties will then noticeably deteriorate. That's why I keep updating regularly.

    • The oil of today is a synthesis oil or a lubricating liquid with all kinds of chemical agents that age.
      It is frankly a lubricating fluid that only consists of a small part of real oil.
      The purpose of this is that the engine remains stable under all and unfavorable conditions.
      In the past, a vegetable or mineral oil was used, it consists more of real oil, which does not perish. Disadvantage is, among other things, difficult to start with a cold engine, but when the engine is warm it goes again, etc.
      That is why an oil change is recommended if it is a synthesis oil.

  3. Castrol, through director De Groot, has been calling for years that the acidity of the oil is important and has developed a special dipstick for this. So the degree of acidification is important. Castrol actually says that if you do a lot of km daily, changing it is a waste of money..

    • That's right, his son has also indicated this. That bit of metal on the dipstick discolored as the lubricating and protective effect wore off. Ideal for consumers and a nightmare for the oil industry.
      I think this finding of the castrol director was also the reason for his resignation.

  4. Is Willibrordus van der Weide the same Willy who appeared in an article somewhere in the 90s in the Aktueel, where it was described how he regularly contacted someone from Shell if there was an interest in his invention?
    Many years later, I believe, a notice was published somewhere that his invention had been sold to a company.
    I wouldn't be surprised if those documents are now somewhere at the bottom of a desk drawer to get out for the time being (or never again?).

  5. In the early 50s we had a clubhouse, a large part of which was key room. In the corner was a XNUMX liter oil drum that could hold the used oil. What no one could see was that a hole had been drilled in the floor just under that barrel, just like in the bottom of the barrel. in all the years we were there, that barrel never got full. When the Binnendieze once again had high water and the cellar was flooded, the water took on different colours. Sometimes it looked like a rainbow. But we knew nothing. Because we put our oil neatly in a barrel.

  6. I think manufacturers maintain a safe margin, because they don't know what end-user the car will be with.
    Indoor or outdoor sleeper, short or long rides, workhorse or luxury horse.
    I am the 2nd owner of my car.
    With the first one (my father) he was always inside, not with me.
    In the winter I have much shorter rides, and then I get the well-known “sludge” under the cap.
    The car becomes more humid inside, and that will be no different in the engine.
    In the summer I have longer rides (up to 30 km, still not very long) but daily with a ton-plus on the towbar.
    Sludge etc disappears, but the oil will probably have been hit.
    I think you should keep that sort of thing in mind when determining the refresh rates.
    A manufacturer will assume an almost worst-cheese scenario to avoid all kinds of claims.

    Well, and longer intervals of brands.
    They often use “long life” spark plugs, with “long life” oils, and they cost a ram more than the “medium”, “short” or “regular” life stuff.

  7. I change my oil twice a year have a Volvo Amazon just stick to the instruction booklet, I do add Rislone 4405 Engine Oil Supplement Concentrate with Zinc Treatment.
    I live in the Philippines and have no Miller oil available, for example, and that contains ZDDP.
    I wonder if Irv Gorden would have gotten 5 million miles in his Volvo if he'd never refreshed it.
    I drive short distances here and that is killing for a motor and oil.
    In the Netherlands I drove on LPG and drove 15000km per year here I barely reach 1500 km per year.
    I have also fluched the engine once, which is not a luxury as I use the car.

  8. I have a Volvo Amazon and I change the oil twice a year and add zinc to it.
    I live in the Philippines and can't get oil there (eg Miller) that already has a zinc additive).
    When I get to the change time, it consumes some oil, which means to me that the oil is at its end.
    I only drive short distances and that is killing for both engine and oil.
    But would this man that number of miles without an oil change?
    Do what the instruction booklet says is safest.
    I also flushed my engine eeb years ago, which is also not a luxury if you drive short distances.
    In the Netherlands I drove about 15 to 20 thousand km per year with this car and on LPG, you can see how that engine is doing now.

    Photo 0127

  9. I have personally experienced the consequences of not changing the oil on time. First time after buying my first bike, a Honda 250 twin. Which was serviced by the motorcycle dealer at trade-in, but not at my purchase, after 4 years. So it quickly drank oil.
    Afterwards I bought a Renault 5 TL. After a while I discovered an oil pressure problem when it was warm.
    So I do believe in regular maintenance and oil changes.

    • My BMW R45 turned out to have very old oil, despite the maintenance history when it was purchased. And yes, that too had caused damage. When changing the oil and replacing the oil filter, the cause came to light. The oil filter was really heavy with all the junk.
      A date stamp on that thing revealed that the filter was (yes) 10 years old! All questions were answered. Once new oil was in, I was able to replace the mess after 2000km because the oil had cleaned up the mess in the engine. The filter is heavy again, but less. After that it was all just fine. Filter replacement is still necessary to remove contamination. Furthermore, previous tests, such as by a colleague of my father's with his Fiat 124, have proven that the oil can remain in place for a long time with a properly executed filter policy. He sold his Fiat after more than ten hairs because he wanted something different. The engine had now run 224.000 trouble-free kilometers, of which more than 200.000 km without changing.

  10. We had a customer at the time with an Escort 1.6i and we were allowed to carry out all maintenance except oil changes and oil filter replacement. After driving in, this was replaced by a fine filter and own oil from the refinery research where the man worked. 100.000 km engine technically nothing to notice, on the roller bench the same power as 2500 km

  11. Not refresh? That's fine, at least if you keep replacing filters (because the pollution has to be removed) and keep the acidity in mind (KOH is one of the dopes that is used. To prevent acidification. When it gets used up, it will mildly alkaline environment can quickly turn into acid, and that causes damage.) Engines that use oil are therefore also refilled with dopes, including the acid inhibitor. This is emphatically not the case with engines that consume very little oil between turns and that are not topped up. Refreshing is not a bad idea then. Frequent drivers suffer less from segregation by fuel and water and end up with longer drain intervals. It seems very doubtful that motor oil only gets thicker with age. Thin species like
    5-W30 and thick varieties such as 20-W50 work towards a more central viscosity around 10-15-W40. For engines with roller bearings, keep in mind that 'mechanical cracking' of the oil takes place there. Multigrade oil is provided with polymers that 'roll together' when they get warm (to keep the oil more viscous) and which stretch at lower temperature (so that it can flow away more easily and the oil becomes thinner). Mechanical cracking damages those polymers, making the oil more fluid. You can't solve that by replacing filters.
    The source of this information comes from, among other things, a Shell oil specialist with whom I had to conduct technical consultations for many years.

    • Mauritius
      Your story about the breakdown of the polymer chains is correct
      We used Elf oil in the early eighties
      The base oil 15W was obtained by heating up the residue from the first refining once again, and distilling the 15W from this.
      This became the basis of the long drain 15W40 with extra heavy carbon-dissolving dopes from Elf
      This one lasted 40.000 km in the truck engines

      You don't have much trouble with polymer degradation in a diesel, thickening occurs here sooner
      With petrol engines yes

      When Shell released the 1963W10 in 30 and this was prescribed by Ford in the German Ford V engines, Shell went quite wrong with this.
      Of the engines that had to work hard, the oil degenerated to a 10W20 and then 10W10……. So the bearings ran out after 40.000 km…….
      Within two years, all Ford dealers refilled these engines with a monograde SAE 30
      And then the engines ran 3 tons without any problems.....

      Around the year 2000, history repeated itself again with VW with their 0W30…..
      Do you know why VW switched to that 0W30?

  12. The truth lies in the middle, between never and always with 5000/10000 km refresh lies the answer. With regular driving and getting up to operating temperature, it stays cleaner and also flushes. The load on the engine, the driving style, also plays a role in the contamination of the oil. Not infrequently with short-term load you will find sludge formation in the valve cover. Due to the exchange of hot and cold and lubrication of rotating parts including camshaft chain and plastic guides, the oil becomes dirtier and the additives also lose their effect or even evaporate. The condition of pistons and valve guides is also important for pollution and consumption of the engine oil. Understandably, the oil filter has to process a lot of dirt. Plea for regular refreshments taking into account the duration of use and load in this case driving style, prevention is better than cure.

  13. Between 1992 and 94 I tried to get my 'P' at the HTS Autotechniek, then still on the Condorlaan/Laan van Mensenrechten in Apeldoorn.
    I had a teacher who drove an MB 380SL who bought the beast new and had NEVER changed the oil.
    The oil was therefore regularly tested in 'our' own lab.
    We as students found that very interesting, of course, and secretly hoped that the block would explode…
    As far as I know, that never happened...

  14. Large engines hardly ever change, but they have the oil analyzed every few thousand hours.
    And based on that, it is decided whether something should be done…
    Now this concerns engines of between 1000 and 100.000 hp, whereby a tuff of a hp or 8000 easily uses 6 to 7 tons of lubricating oil in the lubricating oil sump.
    That oil has a much lower flow rate than the oil in our cars…
    And so refreshing is the simplest and ultimately the cheapest for our tuffs.

  15. Thank you Menno, 1 photo tells more than a long story. I've been working in the auto industry here in Vancouver for 25 years.
    Scenarios like this are often encountered with low-mileage cars privately imported from the US. Real clothespins that were cheaper for a few tens, until the "Light" went on.
    check engine light. That often turned out to be a very expensive repair. They often had "friends" who did it cheaper, and then the same car came to the dealer 3 weeks later on a flatbed.
    Ton, thank you too for your Nissan story.
    Greetings to all AMK ers.

  16. In England you can hear the saying: “Oil is your cheapest mechanic”.
    In the nineties I was in Athens in a taxi with 800.000 on the clock, 1st engine. A Nissan.
    I expressed my admiration and amazement.
    The driver told. "I will tell you my secret".
    He had been a service engineer at Caterplillar in the desert. He had learned that frequent changes were the most important thing. He already did this with the Nissan every 2.000-2.500 km.
    And that explained the 800.000 km on the counter for him.
    Good story?
    NB: I just have the feeling that car manufacturers like to mention those long drain intervals, to bring in the customers.

  17. Attached here are photos of engines whose oil was slightly dipped and not refreshed in time
    Have more than 55 years of garage experience and regularly revise engines and then come across this

    Advice: use a 15W40 oil suitable for turbo diesel engines. This one has a good carbon dissolving capacity and our oldtimer engines are needed

  18. The picture of getting rid of your oil by pouring it into the ground is familiar to me. With a “hobbyist” who serviced cars, I often emptied the bucket of “used oil” in a hole under the hedge of the lot behind the garage. In the evening dig a hole, put oil in it and in the morning close the hole, put sod on it, ready.

  19. I will never buy a car from someone who thinks refilling is enough.
    The older the engine oil gets, the thicker the substance, until it eventually becomes a kind of tar-like substance that can no longer pass through the holes.
    When I bought my Volvo PV, the oil channels were also clogged with old dirty oil. These channels had to be reopened manually with difficulty.
    The above story is good for lease knights or people who want to prove themselves right, but I sometimes look on YouTube in horror at 'starting after 40 years of standstill' without renewing the oil.

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