29 February 2016 Annabelle BONNAUD

Oil change: When should you change the oil?

A regular part of auto maintenance, the oil needs to be changed regularly to keep the vehicle running smoothly and ensure its longevity. However, what does that actually mean? Whether the engine runs on diesel or gasoline and regardless of how much the vehicle is driven, all of these parameters should be taken into account to determine how often your vehicle’s oil needs to be changed. This week, it’s back to basics.

When do you need to change your oil?
We often hear that the time between two oil changes depends on the engine—both the mileage and how old it is—and ranges from 10,000 to 30,000 km.

Simply put, as a general rule, manufacturers recommend that you change the oil for a gasoline engine every 10,000 to 15,000 km, or about once a year for “regular” usage (frequent but not intensive) or once every 2 years if used less frequently.

Diesel engines, on the other hand, should have their oil changed every 7,000 km or about 1 to 2 times per year.

More recent vehicles require maintenance less often than older ones that already have a lot of mileage. If you’re not sure, check the vehicle’s service record or the maintenance dashboard indicator if your vehicle has one.

 

My oil is black: does this mean it needs to be changed? 
The fact that the engine oil is black does not at all indicate it needs to be changed. Actually, when the oil is black it means it is doing its job of dispersing the tiny metal particles caused by the friction between the engine parts and keeping them suspended in the oil so that they do not clump together. These suspended particles are what makes the oil black. The fact that oil is black does not have affect its ability to lubricate and protect the engine, and the biggest impurities are filtered by the oil filter anyways.

Of course, the particle retention capacity is limited, and sooner or later the oil reaches a saturation point and it needs to be changed or purified to continue providing optimal lubrication.

 

When should you change the oil filter? 
Changing the oil filter is recommended whenever changing the oil. Why? First of all so that the new oil is not contaminated by the old oil, and also because the filter loses of its effectiveness over time. Over time, conventional filters clog up and stop doing what they are supposed to, putting your engine at risk. This is why you need to change the oil and replace the filter at the same time (depending on the mileage or the maintenance indicator if your vehicle has one). Or, you could install a self-cleaning, lifetime filter, which means no more routine oil and filter changes! The oil stays clean thanks to the filter, and the lubrication it provides is uninterrupted.
Next week, we will discuss a question many of you are asking: what is the actual cost of an oil change?

If you didn’t already read about why we change the oil, please see our previous article on the topic!

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