Today in the Wayne’s Automotive Center auto care blog, we’re going to talk to Reno and Sparks drivers about how often to change their oil. It seems that as engine technology advances, oil change intervals become longer for our customers. For example, recently four of the world’s largest vehicle manufacturer’s shortened the published intervals for several of their engine models. They originally published intervals that extended out to a much as 8,000 miles (13,000 kilometers).
In real-world Reno and Sparks driving, oil starts to sludge up before the recommended change interval. Oil sludge is a thick jelly-like substance: quite literally petroleum jelly – like Vaseline. This goop was clogging vehicle small engine passages so the oil wouldn’t flow to some parts of the engine. These clogs resulted in engine damage. We see it too often at Wayne’s Automotive Center in Reno and Sparks.
To deal with this issue, the vehicle manufacturers started to offer warranties to deal with this type of sludge damage. The problem with these warranties was the number of smaller service intervals, and proof that the owner followed the recommended change intervals. Many times, the warranty was void unless the driver could show evidence of the above.
Watch Your Oil Change Intervals
So here’s the bottom line for Reno and Sparks vehicle owners: with longer oil change intervals, it’s essential to follow them carefully. In the not so distant past, when the recommendation was to change your oil every three months or 3,000 miles (5,000 kilometers), if you missed those numbers by a month or a 1,000 miles, your oil was still pretty fresh.
But if your recommended interval is 6,500 miles (10,000 kilometers) and you go over another thousand miles or a couple of thousands of kilometers, you’re getting into significant sludge territory. You need to follow mileage intervals very closely. And don’t forget your severe service schedule. If you do a lot of stops and go driving in NV, short trips, drive in dusty or polluted Reno and Sparks conditions, hot or cold weather or haul heavy loads, you’re driving in severe service conditions. Your Wayne’s Automotive Center service advisor can help you determine which schedule to follow.
So consult your vehicle owner’s manual or talk with your Wayne’s Automotive Center service advisor about where and how you drive in Reno and Sparks. Should you replace your oil closer to the usual schedule, or the severe service schedule? You need to make that decision.
Modern Cars Can Help Determine Oil Replacement Schedule
Here is an illustration of what modern cars today have available to assist with maintenance. Some modern vehicles have an oil change monitoring system. They have a sophisticated computer algorithm that follows the number of starts when cold, readings on engine temperature, mileage, RPM, and many more variables to come up with a suggestion for when to change the oil.
Depending on driving conditions, the indicator in one test vehicle came on at anywhere from 2,500 miles (4,000 km) to almost 7,000 miles (11,000 km). It’s typically just over 4,000 miles (6,500 km). Other times, our driving habits are not as hard on a vehicle, like when we take a long road trip. At other times, we are a bit harder on our cars with the way we drive. Towing a heavy trailer, moving truckloads of items across town, or just plain old driving around town can take its toll. Usually, it’s a combination of both situations.
Wayne’s Automotive Center Can Help With Your Oil Change
Once again, it’s up to you to execute the call as to when to replace your oil at Wayne’s Automotive Center to protect your vehicle engine. Another spot where NV drivers can go wrong is with the type of lubricant they use. Today, more cars drive around Reno and Sparks with synthetic oil lubricating their engines.
Let’s say that synthetic oil lasts longer and is very resistant to oil muck but, it also costs quite a bit more. Because of this, people get lured into using conventional oil for their oil changes. Consult your owner’s manual to confirm that a traditional oil alternative is allowed.
Whatever type of oil you use today, you need to keep in mind the different change intervals for synthetic vs. conventional. If you are using synthetic, then you will have longer intervals between changes. If you are using conventional oil, then you need to be a little more diligent.