Don’t hurry to change your oil
Chemistry and technology have made huge changes in the past couple of decades. This is especially true for engines, where manufacturing tolerances and emission regulations are both tighter.
Engines have to withstand increasingly nastier testing cycles during the design and development stages. Lengthy warranties and consumer confidence surveys mean manufacturers have to ensure engines have to be bullet-proof for several hundred thousand kilometres – with minimal maintenance.
Emission regulations have done away with leaded gasoline and now require engines to run clean without any tuneups or maintenance, beyond changing fluids, for 60,000 – 100,000 km. Computers and sensors monitor hundreds of facets of the engine and make adjustments for wear and other factors continually. The majority of manufacturers now use oil life monitoring systems which tell you when an oil change is needed, based on the way the car is driven and the conditions.
Similarly, there have been serious advances in the lubricants used in a modern engine. Synthetic oils have, for example, resulted in much longer periods between changes. On average, oil change intervals have stretched to the 12,000 – 20,000-km range depending on manufacturer. The same people who set these recommended service intervals are the ones who have to pay, under warranty, if the engine fails.
Yet many consumers are still wasting their hard-earned money and changing the oil in their new vehicle every 3,000 – 6,0000 km!
Save your money! It is not necessary to change your oil more often than required by the manufacturer.
Following the manufacturer’s recommended oil change schedule from new should result in an engine that consumes very little oil between changes for a very long time – for most vehicles. Do not get caught up in dealer recommendations for oil changes. these are merely a way to get you back to their shop for extra business. It is the manufacturer that sets the terms of the warranty and when and what maintenance must be performed. Follow the recommendations in the owner’s manual closely and keep all receipts.
Checking the oil level every second or third fill-up with fuel, will alert you to any issues. Consumer Reports, recently reported that certain Audi, BMW, Subaru and VW engines use enough oil that the level should be checked frequently and may need to be topped up between recommended changes.
Changing oil before it is necessary is not only costing you money, it has an impact on the environment. The California Integrated Waste Management Board says 153.5 million gallons of used oil is generated in that state alone, but less than 60% is recycled.