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How often are oil changes recommended?

Engine oil goes beyond just lubrication. With the right engine oil, changed regularly and utilized efficiently, can help your engine manage its enormous levels of heat, as well as clean and protect the engine and some of its delicate components from micro-particles that may otherwise adversely affect the performance of components like pistons, camshafts, etc. In short, engine oil and its effects go beyond just performance. Which is why, the number one most important thing is the oil change, and specifically, how often should engine oil be changed? In this blog post, we’ll take a look at how often oil changes are recommended and what factors can affect the usability of engine oil before or after the recommended time period. 

engine oil change

But before we begin, let’s understand why oil changes get necessary after a certain period. After all, with fully synthetic oil, changes get few and far; according to some estimates, if a vehicle requires fully synthetic engine oil, changes are only necessary once the odometer reads over 15,000 kilometers. That’s a lot but let’s get started. 

Why are timely oil changes imperative?

Engine oil is used to provide the engine with sufficient lubrication to keep it from severely damaging its internal components. These include pistons, camshafts, and other parts which go through wear and tear every time you drive your car. This means that for engine oil to perform efficiently, it needs to be viscous enough to provide good lubrication, but also be thin enough to get to the parts that need lubrication the most. 

When new oil is added to an engine, it has all these qualities. Plus, it’s absolutely free of any contaminants that could potentially damage the engine. As the oil goes through the motions, it collects minute particles as well as losing its lubricating effect and its viscosity. Once the car has been driven a certain amount of kilometers, the engine oil is no longer able to provide the engine with the required level of lubrication and viscosity, and therefore, needs to be changed. Which is why, changing your oil in a timely manner or a couple hundred kilometers before its due can be a really great way to get the most performance out of the engine. 

Now, we address the question of how often oil changes are recommended.

Oil changes: how often should you get new engine oil?

Oil check

With conventional petroleum-based engine oils and depending on the make, model, year and condition of your car and the engine size, oil changes can be done anywhere between 3,000 kilometers and 5,000 kilometers. If your car is older, burns oil frequently and your driving preference and mileage is similarly high, you need to change your oil every 3,000 kilometers to ensure that engine gets the best oil as soon as possible. For newer models and with moderate driving conditions (low mileage, low or optimal temperature coupled with a moderate driving style), the same engine oil life is extended to 5,000 kilometers.

However, that’s not all. While a good number of modern cars being manufactured are electric, there are still lots of hybrid and solely gas-driven cars as well. These newer engines are recommended for usage with modern synthetic oils, which may cost more, but are way more long-lasting than conventional engine oils. As for the mileage you can get with these engine oils, the numbers are simply staggering. Again, if conditions are optimal and usage is moderate, engine oil changes are necessitated every 12,000 to 15,000 kilometers. That is a huge increment, and while these synthetic oil changes might cost more, they also provide 3 to 4 four times the mileage and all the while, provide the engine with unrivalled protection and lubrication. 

What factors affect the longevity and the utility of engine oil?

Now that we know just how much time or distance should be kept between two oil changes, its important to note here that these aren’t exact or precise estimates. While many modern cars do come with oil sensors and apparatuses that can tell the driver when their engine oil has reached its capacity, in many other cars, its essentially up to you to determine when the time has run out for the engine oil. For that, you need to know what factors might affect the longevity and the utility of engine oil. 

  1. Model year

If your car and by extension, your engine is old, the engine will be less efficient when it comes to both gas and oil. Depending on the condition of the engine, either oil can be used for longer, or, if the engine is old and not that much efficient, you will need to change the engine oil sooner. The fact is that older cars and engines aren’t suitable for use with synthetic or semi-synthetic oil, which makes them a rather bad choice if you want to keep maintenance costs down. 

  1. Driving preferences

Your engine responds to each input you make and consumes fuel accordingly. If you drive fast and generally keep the engine under a lot of stress, the engine will consume fuel in the same manner. On the other hand, driving in a moderate manner requires the engine to work less, consuming less fuel. In the same manner, driving preference will also determine how quickly your car will require an engine oil change. Drive fast and your engine will churn out kilometers quickly, working hard and running the oil thin in no time, necessitating an oil change way before it is usually recommended. On the other hand, a more restrained driving style will allow you to crunch more kilometers out of a singular oil change.

  1. Temperature during operation

While all engines get hot during operation, the surrounding temperature is also a very crucial factor in determining the longevity and the usability of engine oil. Engine oils are actually graded based on their operating temperature; for instance, in hotter climates, you can get engine oil that is more accustomed to the increased heat and does not run too thin during intense-heat driving. However, normal engine oil will run too thin during increased temperature driving and will need to be replaced sooner than its counterpart being run at much lower environmental temperature. Therefore, how much more usability you get out of your engine oil will also be determined by the climatic conditions. 

Conclusion

In short, engine oil needs to be changed around the 5,000-kilometer mark. For most cars, the aforementioned factors will determine just how much below or above this mark can your car use the engine oil. However, changing the engine oil in time is imperative; failure to do so might affect the engine adversely and cause it to underperform. While it may seem like way to make more money, its really a good tip: try to have your oil change before the odometer hits the exact number. A couple of hundred kilometers before the oil change is due; this way, you can keep your engine performing at its peak at all times. 

Magnum Autoclub: engine oil change made easy!

Magnum Auto club understands that your car does an important job everyday and cannot fail on you. Your car also requires care and regular oil changes, but since most mechanics can come across as rather shady, Magnum Autoclub is the answer to all your car worries. Experience industry-leading services and honest, clear communication with Magnum over what your car needs and what it does not need. Your car will be given the ultimate treatment, because we are staffed by car enthusiasts that understand cars better than anyone else. Whether it’s a synthetic oil change or tire/ rim change, trust Magnum Autoclub with your car and treat yourself to a refreshing experience that is a far cry from what your average run-of-the-mill garage has to offer.

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