Oil Change intervals
Are you changing your oil to often?
01/08/12-- It seems California is at it again with trying to lead the nation in a greener path when it
comes to the Automotive industry. According to a recent news story they have introduced a public
service campaign encouraging car owners to stretch out their oil change intervals. While this does
in fact make sense, it should be more of an awareness issue. Changing your oil every three months
or 3000 miles has been the standard most of us have learned to accept. From the 40's through the
early 90's it was practical advise.
In the last decade not only have motor oils evolved and become far more durable, the auto
manufacturers have greatly improved the performance of the internal combustion engine. From
modern electronics and monitoring systems to tighter tolerances and better seal materials, it is
possible to get much more life out of your motor oil today. The best advice any mechanic can give
in my professional opinion is to follow the manufacturers recommendations.
Many new engines are perfectly capable of 5000 to 8000 mile runs now between oil changes and
some out there are even longer. Changing your oil every 3000 miles used to be a good rule of
thumb however in today's economy it's possibly a large waste of money. Since some oils cost as
much as $8.00/qt. However the oil change is cheaper than internal engine damage. Long and short
is get your moneys worth out of your oil but be mindful that neglect will cost you in the end. Only
you know how and where you drive so change your oil accordingly.
Dusty driving conditions, many people that travel dirt roads or farm fields know that their air filter
takes a serious beating however many forget that the oil is also subjected to dust through the crank
case ventilation system. Dusty conditions = more frequent oil changes. Hauling extra weight? Even
though your vehicle has a towing capacity the service intervals don't generally take the extra work
involved with towing into consideration. This is where reading the owners manual becomes helpful.
If your vehicle was intended to tow things they will have service information for towing.
How many of you (automobile owners or drivers) have actually read your owners manuals? Sure
we have all read about some of the features were not familiar with like how to adjust the clock on
the radio or how to access the driver info screen on the dash, or maybe you looked up what the
different icon lights mean that pop up and scare you when your 25 miles into your first big trip and
wonder if your about to be stranded on the side of the road. Maybe you've even looked up where
the fuses are and which one operates the power outlet after you blew it with your electric coffee
cup.
Did you know that many owners manuals suggest different oil viscosities for different temperature
ranges? Or that driving habits and conditions change the intervals for changing the oil? You might
ask why? Let me try to explain some examples. I had a customer that lived in town and worked
approximately 5 blocks from home. They drove back and forth to work and occasionally to the
grocery store. This car hardly ever got to normal operating temperature. It would warm up just in
time to be shut off. This driving habit caused tremendous amounts of condensation to build up in
the engine. We all know oil and water don't mix well, this led to premature engine failure a hard
one to explain to someone that barely drives 1000 miles a year. More frequent oil changes could
have helped but ultimately going for a nice Sunday drive and burning off the excess moisture would
have been better.
Did you know that some vehicles won't start if the oil isn't right? In the last tech tip I mentioned the
importance of oil to the diesel injector function. However even in gasoline engines today they use
engine oil for more than just lubrication. Variable timing cams use engine oil as the hydraulic source
to operate these performance functions. With worn out oil or the wrong oil your new car or truck
may not run.
For More Information Contact:

Northern Michigan Diesel Inc.
2528-B Preston Dr. Traverse City, Mi 49684
Tel: 231-947-1774
FAX: 231-935-3760
Internet: jjacobson@northernmidiesel.com
Northern Michigan Diesel Inc.