How Long Can You Go Without Changing Your Oil?
How often do you really need to change your oil? We have been told for years that it’s important to change our engine oil “every 3 months or every 3000 miles” so hopefully you’re at least looking for a quick oil change a few times a year, but how long can you go between oil changes?
Do you still need to change your oil every 3000 miles? How long can you go with full synthetic oil? Can your Mercedes really go 10,000 miles between oil changes? Well don’t worry! Today I will tell you once and for all the truth!
Short Answer – It depends….
I know I know, not what you wanted to hear! So, as best I can, here is the medium length answer.
Conventional Oil and Older Cars – 3000 Mile Oil Change
If your car does not require a synthetic blend oil assume 3,000 miles is the rule. On a side note, oil change specials for $19.95 use conventional, so make sure your car is old enough and doesn’t need a blend. Older vehicles were built with older technology and engineered with non-synthetic oils in mind.
What if your car’s a little newer? You may be wondering “how often should I change my oil if my car has high mileage”? If you have a newer car with 150,000 or 200,000 miles you likely should also change your oil every 3,000 miles. If you burn more than 1 quart of oil or your oil is very dark before you get to 3,000 miles it’s likely time to change it! If you’re oil is still medium brown and not low after 3,000 miles you’re in luck! In spite of the high miles you’re engine is in good shape and you can go a little longer.
Synthetic Blend Oil and Higher Oil Capacity – 5,000 Mile Oil Change
Just about all cars now require synthetic blend oil. “How much more expensive is synthetic blend oil” you wonder? The good news is that the cost is very close. If you’re looking for an oil change near Indian Trail, NC 28079 Kindred Automotive doesn’t even charge extra for a synthetic blend oil change.
Synthetic blends hold up longer and won’t break down, even after 5000 miles of driving. Newer cars also have better filtration systems, allowing you to safely drive 5000 miles between oil changes.
If your car holds more than the typical 5 Quarts you may also be able to safely run 5,000 mile oil changes. More oil means more additives and more storage for the carbon and gas your filter can’t trap.
Synthetic Blend Oil Changes are much better for your engine, and safe for older cars, but you still need to check your oil at 3,000 miles and follow the advice listed above for high mileage engines.
Full Synthetic and European Oil Change – 7,500 Miles to….. well, it’s complicated!
Full synthetic oils will actually last well beyond 10,000 miles. The lifespan of synthetic oil depends, but it’s not crazy to see oils still working at 15,000 miles or longer. Synthetic technology is pretty amazing, but it isn’t magical. Just because the oil additives still work and the oil isn’t breaking down doesn’t mean it’s safe for your engine.
Over time engine oil gets diluted with gasoline and loses the ability to lubricate properly. Oil also has limited space to suspend particles, there’s only so much real estate to go around! Another complication seen in newer engines is the very tiny passages that oil must travel through, setting the stage for a clogged engine artery and a mechanical heart attack!
How long can your car go using Full Synthetic Oil depends on the amount of oil it holds, how large and how good the oil filter is, how well the engine was designed and how much it has worn over the years. We have seen a huge increase in engine repairs due to “Extended Oil Changes” leading to rapid failures.
Our standard recommendation is 7,500 miles for a normal vehicle based on the thousands of engine repairs we’ve seen over the years. This seems to be the most cost-effective balance of more frequent oil changes and less frequent repairs. Changing your oil sooner than 5000 miles will typically just increase your cost without any additional benefits. Likewise, waiting past 10,000 miles leads to thousands of dollars in future repairs and will not pay off in the long run.
Our personal vehicles hold between 6 and 9 quarts of Full Synthetic Oil and we shoot for every 5,000 miles. That means roughly 6,000 miles when we finally get around to it… Yes, we forget sometimes too! ?