How Should You Change Your Oil Habits at High Mileage?

Cars need more maintenance as they enter their golden years. The more mileage your vehicle has, the more you'll need to pay attention to minor maintenance and repair issues to ensure that it can go the distance for you.

Oil changes are a critical part of any vehicle maintenance routine. As your vehicle ages, regular oil replacement becomes even more essential. Engine parts can become weaker with usage and age, but fresh oil ensures that they remain lubricated to avoid the effects of friction and heat. Making a few adjustments to your oil change habits can provide even more protection for your engine.

Choosing Your Oil Change Intervals

Most newer vehicles recommend extended performance oils and come with manufacturer intervals of anywhere from 7,500-15,000 miles. While these long change intervals can help keep maintenance costs down, they may not be suitable as your car ages. Older engines may produce more particulate matter, and frequent oil changes can flush these contaminants before they cause problems.

While changing your oil every 3,000 miles (a standard recommendation with older vehicles) may not be necessary, you should consider replacing your fluid about twice as often as your manufacturer recommended interval. This relatively small cost will help keep the internal wear on your engine to a minimum.

Evaluating Your Oil Usage

Older engines tend to burn some oil as seals and rings wear out. Losing a small amount of oil at a high mileage shouldn't be a significant concern, but burning large amounts of oil may indicate a more severe problem. If you find that you have a high level of oil consumption, then switching to a higher viscosity oil may help, although it's unlikely to solve anything more than minor problems.

Note that it's best to stick to manufacturer-recommended oils at lower mileages. Only consider changing your oil viscosity if you notice a problem.

Upgrading Your Oil

For cars with over 100,000 miles, you can also consider switching to a high-mileage oil formula. You should be able to buy these oils in whatever viscosity you have been using, so it isn't necessary to change oil weights. High-mileage oils vary between manufacturers but typically include additives for cleaning or softening old seals.

Modern vehicles can go for longer than ever, and many are just getting warmed up as they cross into six-figure odometer readings. These simple steps will allow you to keep your engine running for another hundred thousand miles or more. To learn more about car oil change maintenance, visit a local auto service near you.