Regular maintenance is still necessary when extending drain intervals.
Just because you’re not changing oil every three months doesn’t mean you can ignore your car.
The number of people taking advantage of the cost savings and convenience of AMSOIL extended-drain-interval products grows every year, but the 5000-kilometre (3,000-mile) myth is still deeply ingrained in many drivers. The thought of running for 25,000 miles or a whole year without changing oil is scary for people who have not safely extended drain intervals before. To help get over this hurdle, vehicle owners need to understand their maintenance responsibilities and how and why oil drain intervals can be extended. Understanding your responsibilities as a vehicle owner and following through on them helps ensure the vehicle will continue to operate efficiently and last longer.
“Engines that are not mechanically sound or are heavily modified are not eligible to take advantage of AMSOIL extended drain interval recommendations.”
Catching Problems Early
Performing preventative maintenance is important for any vehicle owner to catch mechanical problems that can negatively impact the engine oil and its ability to lubricate effectively. Whether extending drain intervals or not, it is important that your engine is mechanically sound and free of any significant mechanical defects.
Common Issues That May Arise
Some of the more common mechanical issues that can affect oil life include excessive antifreeze leakage into the oil sump, chronic engine overheating, excessive fuel dilution in the oil sump and excessive oil consumption.
Water and Oil Don't Mix
Antifreeze can leak into the oil sump due to gasket breakdown, water pump issues or from other sources. Large amounts of antifreeze can degrade the oil and reduce its ability to flow easily and protect engine components. The source of antifreeze leaking into the oil sump must be addressed regardless of the type of oil in use or length of drain interval practiced.
Harmful Effects of Fuel Dilution
Excessive fuel dilution is less common in gasoline-powered applications but can cause big issues if left uncorrected. Both gasoline and diesel fuel are much thinner than engine oil and dilute the oil to the point that the oil film is too thin to lubricate critical engine parts.
Heat Affects Your Engine Oil
Heat is the enemy of any lubricant. In fact, performance in excessively hot environments has been the subject of many AMSOIL studies which have helped AMSOIL develop synthetic motor oils with great resistance to thermal breakdown. If a vehicle develops a significant mechanical issue that causes the engine to run much hotter than it was designed to, the problem must be fixed prior to extending oil drain intervals. Excessively hot environments, whether due to extreme ambient temperatures or a mechanical defect, have been proven to quickly degrade conventional lubricants, resulting in excessive sludge development within the OEM drain interval.
Determine the Normal Oil Consumption Level
While oil consumption often worries drivers, almost all cars consume some oil, which is normal and does not cause any issues with extended drain intervals. Excessive oil consumption, however, is indicative of a mechanical condition that should be identified and corrected before extending oil drain intervals. The best way to determine normal oil consumption is to monitor oil levels before there’s an issue or consult your owner’s manual for information on normal oil consumption. This helps establish average oil use – a sudden increase in oil consumption indicates a problem that needs correcting.
Is Your Equipment Stock or Modified?
Engines that have significant modifications also place added strain on engine oil. These modifications include performance computer chips, non-OEM exhaust, fuel or air induction systems and the use of fuels other than those recommended for normal operation by the manufacturer.
Impact Upon Expected Drain Intervals
The drain interval recommendations for AMSOIL motor oils are determined according to the vehicle’s typical operating conditions and the type of oil being used. For example, drain interval recommendations for AMSOIL Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil differ depending on service type: The recommendation is 25,000 miles in normal service, 15,000 miles in severe service. Drivers need to keep an accurate count of miles or hours on the oil, depending on the type of oil used, and oils should never be used beyond one year of service unless recommended by a routine oil analysis program. Engines that are not mechanically sound or are heavily modified are not eligible to take advantage of AMSOIL extended drain interval recommendations. In fact, engines suffering from any of the issues listed in this column should be fixed as soon as possible regardless of drain interval length.
A Simple but Absolutely Vital Measure
Finally, one of the most important preventative maintenance procedures is to simply check your oil level periodically between oil changes and top it off to maintain proper fluid levels whether using conventional oil or AMSOIL extended- drain lubricants. AMSOIL synthetic lubricants are designed to keep vehicles running for many years, but they can only do their job if you keep your oil sump full.