Are There Benefits To Frequent Oil Changes?
Many manufacturer-recommended oil change intervals have been increasing for years. You may take this as a sign that manufacturers want to minimize their costs on long-term maintenance plans. But, is this the reason for longer service intervals, or is something else going on?
In reality, synthetic oils are now ubiquitous in modern vehicles, and newer formulations provide reasonably long-lasting protection. These factors have allowed manufacturers to recommend oil changes at 7,500 miles, 10,000 miles, or even 15,000 miles. If you used to change your oil at about the 3,000-mile range, then you may be wondering if these still make sense.
Why You Should Change Your Oil
No vehicle can run on the same oil forever. Although your oil won't wear out, the presence of various contaminants will reduce its ability to lubricate and soak heat. Moisture can be a particularly severe problem for oil, and some moisture contamination is inevitable with time. The longer you run with the same oil, the less effective that will become.
Oil also acts as a detergent for your engine. Tiny particles get trapped in the oil and picked up by your oil filter, keeping them from damaging sensitive internal components. The dirtier your oil becomes, the less effective it is at keeping your engine clean. These factors combined can all lead to increased engine wear and, eventually, damage.
Why You Don't Need To Change Your Oil As Often
If oil changes serve so many crucial functions, doesn't it make sense to change your oil as frequently as possible? While there's no harm in frequent oil changes, modern synthetic oil formulations resist many of the most common oil breakdown causes. They won't stop your oil from eventually wearing out and requiring replacement, but they can significantly extend its life.
Why You May Want to Anyway
Despite these advances, you may still see some benefits from changing oil more frequently. If your manufacturer uses extremely extended intervals, then a more aggressive schedule might include two changes for every manufacturer-recommended service. More frequent oil changes are also a good idea if you track your car, tow heavy loads, or spend most of your time in stop and go city driving.
If you're still concerned, consider sending a sample of your oil to a lab for analysis. This service can provide you with a peek inside your engine and an early warning if you're waiting too long to change your oil. You may find that an extra oil change or two is just what your engine needs to go the distance. Contact an oil change service for more information.