6 Myths Debunked About Engine Oil
August 6th, 2015
Updated March 15th, 2017
The world of automobile maintenance can sometimes seem like a bewildering labyrinth of conflicting information, especially when it comes to the topic of engine oil. There are all kinds of urban legends and just plain-out fallacies regarding how often you should change your oil, what type of oil is the best to use, and so forth. Below are 6 of the most common myths regarding engine oil, along with the facts to help straighten out any misinformation.
Engine Oil Myth #1: You should change your oil every 3,000 miles or every 3 months, whichever comes first.
For the vast majority of modern cars on the road today, this axiom simply doesn't hold true anymore, mainly because engine technology and innovation in the oil industry have greatly advanced over the past couple of decades. Most modern vehicles can go between 7,500-8,000 miles before needing an oil change again; to adhere to the old "every 3,000 miles" rule would basically be flushing good oil down the drain.
Engine Oil Myth #2: Make sure that you change your oil before you go on a road trip.
While there's nothing wrong with giving your car a good "once-over" or even having it serviced before heading out on a long road trip, changing the oil is not necessary unless it's about time for your regularly scheduled oil change anyway. If it is about that time, you can take your car to a Virginia oil change shop to get it serviced and "road-ready."
Engine Oil Myth #3: You should service your car under the "severe" maintenance schedule to ensure the highest level of performance.
This holds true for vehicles that are in extremely frequent or heavy use (e.g., emergency vehicles, race cars, etc.), but just regular stop-and-go traffic is not enough to qualify your vehicle for the "severe" maintenance schedule. Stick to the normal intervals, and you'll be just fine.
Engine Oil Myth #4: If the dipstick is black when you check your odl, it's time for an oil change.
Black oil doesn't mean that your oil is no longer good; in fact, it means that your oil is actually doing its job. Oil is supposed to trap different soot and dirt, so that those particles won't clog up engine parts. It's better to go by your oil change schedule than by the appearance of the oil.
Engine Oil Myth #5: When you first buy a new car, change the oil at 3,000 miles to get rid of metal particles from engine break-in.
While it is true that the pistons and camshafts on a new car will sometimes release small metal filings into the engine oil, the oil filter will catch these particles if they're big enough to make any difference.
Engine Oil Myth #6: If you switch to synthetic oil, you'll have to use it from then on.
This is a complete fallacy. In fact, there are plenty of engine oils that are a blend of natural and synthetic materials. As long as you stick with the recommended oil type listed in your owner's manual, it can be natural or synthetic.
Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto is the source of vehicle educational information. Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto recommends regular vehicle care and maintenance to avoid costly repairs in the future.
*Always check your owner’s manual for your vehicle model’s specific instructions before attempting any type of repair. Copyright March 2017 Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto www.hoganandsonsinc.com