How to know if it’s time to change engine oil?
When to change engine oil is an important question that sooner or later every driver asks. And here it is difficult to give an unequivocal answer, since the time for changing the oil depends on many factors, and the most significant of them are the conditions for the operation of a particular vehicle.
Why oil needs to be changed and what factors influence engine operation
If you create engine oil optimal operating conditions-a clean new engine, driving at medium speeds, optimal load-then it will last much longer. But such ideal conditions are practically unattainable. In reality, engine oil begins to deteriorate and lose its life almost from the moment it is poured into the labyrinths of the engine. During the operation of the motor, it oxidizes, undergoes constant overheating and cooling, dirt particles accumulate in it, etc. All these processes are natural, since the task of the oil is not only to lubricate and cool the motor elements, it must also wash it and remove impurities. However, the aging rate in different cases will be very different, as it depends on the particular machine, its condition and operating conditions.
For example, some claim that driving in city traffic jams means increased loads for the engine, and therefore oil, so you need to change it much more often. How harmful is such a ride for car oil? In such conditions, due to contact with unburned fuel residues and trapped crankcase gases, the oil in the crankcase deteriorates rapidly. In addition, since there is no blowing, the oil temperature is rapidly increasing, as a result, the oil deteriorates faster. Due to the inevitable growth of deposits, increased contamination of the composition will be observed. Under the influence of all these factors, the composition of the oil is deteriorating, it is not able to perform its tasks and will require frequent replacement.
How does the frequency of oil change depend on the intensity of vehicle operation?
Advice to motorists: while your "iron horse" is new and is under warranty service, address all "oil" questions to service employees. You don’t have to rack your brains when changing the oil, specialists will determine it for you and they will also be responsible for everything. But later, after the end of the warranty, it all depends on the operating conditions of the vehicle.
Conventionally, all cars can be divided into 3 main groups.
- The car is used for traveling the countryside or to the country . In this case, the annual mileage of the car is rarely more than a couple of thousand kilometers, since the car is not used very often and the driving distances are not very large.
- Weekend car . That is, the vehicle is used only from Friday evening to Sunday evening. It can be trips to the cottage, to relatives living outside the city, trips to the supermarket, etc. Estimated annual mileage in such conditions can be up to 10-20 thousand km.
- Urban car . This group includes all car owners who use the car every day, for a long time are in traffic jams. Annual mileage is also about 10 thousand km.
Naturally, such a division of vehicles into groups is very arbitrary, but there is a certain pattern. Taking into account the mileage and operating features for these options, several recommendations for replacing engine oil can be distinguished. It’s enough for summer residents to simply keep track of the calendar, that is, a year has passed-then it’s time to change the oil, and this must be done even if the readings on the odometer have not changed much.
With a weekend car, everything is also quite simple. For such cars, the operating mode is very close to ideal, because the car usually drives at a relatively high average speed (50 km/h and above), which allows the car owner to be guided only by the readings of the mileage counter. As soon as the car passed 15 thousand km-it's time to change the oil.
As for the machines actively used in the urban cycle, here, alas, the average speed is often low, about 20 km/h. In this case, the daily mileage can be about 30 kilometers. In such conditions, the oil ages faster, so it is recommended to look at the mileage, but the odometer should be divided by 2. That is, do not wait until the mileage passes the mark of 15 thousand km, under such operating conditions, no, even the best and most expensive oil, this will sustain. You need to think about the replacement already at around 7-8 thousand km.
What other options should I look for?
If there are some more recommendations to be guided by when determining the time for changing the oil in the engine. In particular, for city cars that are actively operated, but their mileage as a result is not very large, measure the time of using engine oil not in kilometers, but in the engine hours worked by the engine. To do this, you can install a special hour meter in the car. It is easy to find such a device on sale, they are electronic and mechanical. It will help to solve your problem very easily and simply.
Now let's calculate when it is necessary to change the oil, how many hours the counter should show. Suppose the instructions for the car indicate that the oil needs to be changed every 15 thousand km. If the average vehicle speed is 50 km/h, then this distance will correspond to 300 hours. You can take the obtained value as a guideline, and even if the average speed when driving around the city is lower, you can still change the oil through the same 300 hours, while the mileage will be slightly less, but certainly there will be no harm from such a replacement, only good.
Some drivers recommend focusing on the amount of fuel burned. For example, burned 1000 liters of gasoline, which means it's time to get ready to replace engine oil. This is not convenient for everyone, although if you collect checks and keep a strict record of spent fuel, then determining the amount of gas burned will be quite simple for you. However, note that for cars of different brands, fuel consumption will be different. It is impossible to put in one row the three-cylinder Peugeot and the dimensional gluttonous SUV with an eight-cylinder unit under the hood. With this option, it is recommended to build on the average consumption, taking into account the class of the car.
Well, and of course, checking the actual condition of the oil. Even if the mileage is small, but on a motor dipstick you find a hanging drop of a terrible kind, like tar, or, conversely, the oil has become very liquid, similar in consistency to ordinary water, then it must be changed immediately. Naturally, for such a check, you need to spend time and, at a minimum, look under the hood. But this must be done, at least from time to time. You can’t check it yourself, contact a service specialist. This is the most accurate indicator, as you can see with the naked eye what condition the oil is in. If everything is bad, then you should not wait and save, change the oil immediately, otherwise then you will have to spend more on repairs.
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