Skip to content

Engine Oil Change Intervals Made Easy?

Understanding engine oil change intervals with different motor oils and when you should change yours more frequently than the manufacturer’s recommendations in your owner’s manual.

An engine oil change is crucial because there are a lot of additives in the oil that become dirty and essentially wear out causing the lubricating properties that protect the engine to diminish. This results in some metal parts being eaten away and water being retained in the crankcase which results in sludge. The sludge mixture will just keep building up by attracting more abrasive particles and then wear down the engine instead of protecting it as clean oil does.

An Engine Oil Change Replaces:

  • detergents
  • dispersant additives
  • viscosity additives
  • anti-scuff or friction modifiers
  • corrosion inhibitors

If your vehicle is used less frequently, for a lot for short trips or in abnormal conditions like stop-start traffic and doesn’t reach operating temperature before you turn the engine off then it is advisable to change the oil more frequently than what the vehicle manufacturer recommends to get the most out of your engine.

Engine oil cap showing condensation
Condensation Under Engine Oil Cap

If you look under the engine oil filler cap and on the engine oil dipstick for a white milky appearance similar to a creamy chocolate milkshake it indicates condensation due to your engine not getting up to operating temperatures before you switch it off (short trips). This can also indicate internal engine problems like a blown head gasket, where you have water in the engine oil or engine oil in the cooling system. If your oil level is low this can be caused by external oil leaks.

For general driving conditions of the vehicle, every 5,000 kilometres or 3,000 miles is a good rule of thumb before you really need to change the engine oil.

Non-Synthetic Oil Change Interval

For older cars using non-synthetics, say no more than every 5,000 kilometres or 3,000 miles.

Synthetic Oil Change Interval

With more advanced engine design and better oil formulations like full synthetic motor oil, manufacturers are always increasing the oil-change intervals. It is still highly recommended to check the oil yourself frequently and have it changed more frequently too. With newer cars say no more than every 10,000 kilometres or 6,000 miles just to be on the safe side.