Should you change your engine oil even though the car did not reach the mileage threshold?
COVID-19 has imposed several changes in our lives. Many people were forced to work remotely to reduce the spread of the virus. This lifestyle change led several vehicles to go from carrying their owners to and from work to sitting in garages and driveways looking pretty. As you reflect on your situation, you realize that the date of your next oil change is slowly drifting further away as you did not put many miles, if not any, on your vehicle over the past 5-6 months. With that in mind, the real question is whether you should change your oil even though you did not reach the mileage threshold required for a change. Let's explore the answer to that question together.
Your vehicle's engine oil is vital for your engine's health regardless of the make and model of your car. The rule of thumb is: if your vehicle has an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine), it has engine oil that often requires your attention. Electric cars require other maintenance items that will be discussed in a separate blog entry. Your vehicle engine oil plays four essential roles (among others), which explains why it must be frequently changed to maintain excellent engine operation.
First, it keeps the internals of your engine lubricated, thus reducing wear caused by metal-to-metal contact.
Secondly, it helps keep your engine internals clean by trapping contaminants and restraining them from adhering to the internal components.
Furthermore, engine oil has cooling power.In other words, as it facilitates motion by reducing friction between parts, it takes heat away from these parts to help them maintain an optimal operating temperature.
Finally, your engine oil helps protect internal components against corrosion by chemically neutralizing corrosive agents or acting as a barrier between the components and the corrosive agent.
Your vehicle's owner manual and maintenance manual are the most important reference documents in choosing the right type of oil and the change interval required to maintain your engine in excellent condition. That said, one should never make any assumption based on experience regarding oil-change intervals and strictly stick to what is recommended by the manufacturer. Your DRCAR app can help you with knowing the right oil change interval for your vehicle.
Vehicle manufacturers have detailed recommendations when it comes to oil-change, based on engine type and technology. An oil change every 3,000 miles (or roughly 4,800 KM) was the most popular recommendation on older vehicles. Nowadays, the advances in engine and oil technologies have rendered the oil-change every 3,000 miles recommendation obsolete. Therefore, it is not uncommon to have newer vehicles requiring an oil-change every 5,000 miles (or roughly 8,000 KM), 7,500 miles (or approximately 12,000 KM), or even 10,000 miles (or about 16,000 KM).
However, when it comes to oil, it is not all about miles. Even if your vehicle sits for a while or you do not drive a lot, your engine oil needs to be kept fresh and clean (this is true for any fluid in your vehicle unless stated otherwise by the manufacturer). This is because your engine oil loses its effectiveness as it ages. This means that it can fail to effectively play one of the four most essential roles mentioned above, leading to reduced engine life. Consequently, here is what our team at DR CAR recommends:
If your manufacturer recommends an oil change every 3,000 miles (4,800 KM), make sure you change your oil every 3 months regardless of whether you reach the 3,000 miles.
If your manufacturer recommends an oil change every 5,000 miles (8,000 KM) or every 7,500 miles (12,000 KM), make sure you change your oil every 6 months regardless of whether or not you reach the recommended 5,000 miles or 7,500 miles.
If your manufacturer recommends an oil change every 10,000 miles (16,000 KM), make sure you change your oil every 12 months regardless of whether you reach the recommended 10,000 miles.
You can rely on DRCAR to keep your engine healthy and make your vehicle more reliable.