Oil change intervals seem easy enough to understand: every 3,000 miles or whenever the sticker on your windshield says to come back in. With advancements in oil technology and the advent of synthetic oils, determining when to change a vehicle’s oil isn’t quite as simple anymore.
Here are the factors that determine the oil change interval of your vehicle:
Synthetic oil vs. Traditional Mineral Oil
Decades ago, almost all cars on the road were lubricated with traditional, mineral oil which prompted the rule of thumb 3,000-mile suggested interval. Recently, new advancements in oil technology have promoted the use of newer synthetic oils for modern cars. Synthetic oil contains fewer impurities than traditional oil, making oil change intervals much longer, some as long as every 7,500 miles.
There are different types of synthetic oils available, some fully synthetic and others only partially, but even so, synthetic oil intervals are much longer than mineral oil. Also, synthetic oil is more environmentally friendly.
Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for information of the type of oil your engine needs, as well as the recommended interval for your specific model.
Contributing Factors to Your Vehicle’s Oil Change Interval
Some different factors significantly reduce your oil change intervals related to your driving habits along with the characteristics of your particular vehicle.
Hot running conditions such as towing heavy loads will result in more wear metals in the oil, which can cause premature oxidation, acids, sludge, and deposits.
Age and condition of the vehicle
High-mileage engines with more than 75,000 miles will have a negative impact on oil intervals compared to newer cars. After years of driving, the gaskets and seals within the engine will start to shrink and become more brittle causing the dreaded drips of oil on the garage floor. Also, metal components will begin to circulate throughout the engine after years of parts rubbing up against each other.
Driving less than five miles per trip
Short trips, especially in cold conditions, will cause the water and fuel to accumulate within the crankcase of the engine if the oil temperature doesn’t reach optimal levels.
Driving on gravel roads frequently
Dirt and grime from driving on gravel and dusty roads on a regular basis will work its way into the engine and the oil of your vehicle. This will have a negative impact on the oil and will require that it is changed more frequently.
Driving in stop-and-go traffic frequently
Driving in stop-and-go traffic, especially if the trip is short, doesn’t allow the engine to warm up to optimal temperatures. Additionally, driving in these conditions will richen your fuel mixture, causing excess fuel to spill down into the crankcase, diluting the oil in your engine. If the oil is diluted, it won’t perform its job nearly as well and will need to be changed more frequently.
Clutch Auto Repair for Your Next Oil Change
Bring your vehicle into the experts at Clutch Auto Repair for your next oil change! We treat all of our customers with the respect they deserve and treat every car we work on with the same care as if they were our own vehicles.