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how often to change oil?

Engine oil is an unsung hero, it keeps vehicular engines running with minimized friction. This is achieved by creating a thin film of oil around cylinder walls, cam lobes and crankshaft bearings that allows the metal parts to slide against each other without touching.

Engine oil change intervals are there to ensure that the oil specifications don’t degrade below the engine manufacturers minimum safe levels. If the oil gets too “used”, it may no longer have the required oil film strength (mentioned above) to keep metal parts from rubbing against each other, and causing excessive wear.

Oil is designed to have additives that help dissipate heat, clean and prevent corrosion, and resist oxidation. the standards for oil specifications range from SAE (society of automotive engineers) to API (north american standard) to ACEA (euro standard) and JASO (Japanese standard). each engine manufacturer designs an engine to adhere to a certain specification, such as the ones mentioned above, and the engine grade and spec should match the engine manufacturer spec.

Cold temperatures can have a big impact on oil viscosity. imagine oil being poured into the engine at -20C may have the consistency of honey. In such cold temperatures, if i car is left outdoors overnight, it is advised to let the engine idle for some time before starting to drive because of many reasons, but one of them is to allow the oil to warm up so that it can protect your engine.

In extreme conditions, such as often driving short distances (less than 15km), or driving in extreme cold or hot temperatures, or towing applications, etc. it is recommended to shorten the oil change intervals.

Where can i find the oil change interval information for my car?

unfortunately, there is no cookie cutter approach to oil change intervals. Passenger vehicle manufacturers clearly state the oil change intervals for the engines in their cars. most manufacturers also include an altered interval for driving in extreme conditions.

Engine oil is a world of its own, whether it’s synthetic or regular oil, and the different oil standards that respect certain conditions (some include Catalytic converter protection from phosphorus; sulphur, and Zinc content and much more). it’s highly recommended to follow the engine manufacturers intervals for the driving conditions that your vehicle is subjected to. Most Vehicle Manufacturers have that information in the user manual.