EXTENDED OIL CHANGE
In recent years, many vehicle manufacturers have extended their recommended oil change intervals to reduce maintenance costs for the vehicle owner -- and have run into trouble. The Center for Auto Safety (www.autosafety.org) has logged over a thousand complaints about oil sludging problems from motorists who thought they were following the service intervals recommended in their owners manuals but ended up with a crankcase full of sludge.
Extended oil change intervals of 7,500 or 10,000 miles or more are based on ideal operating conditions, not the type of short trip, stop and go driving that is typical for many motorists. Consequently, most drivers should follow a "severe" service maintenance schedule rather than a "normal" service schedule to protect their engines.
Severe service includes:
* Most trips are less than 4 miles.
* Most trips are less than 10 miles when outside temperatures remain below freezing.
* Prolonged high speed driving during hot weather.
* Idling for extended periods and continued low speed operation (as when driving in stop-and-go traffic).
* Towing a trailer.
* Driving in dusty or heavily polluted areas.
Some engines, such as diesels, suffer more blowby than others and typically require more frequent oil and filter changes. For most passenger car and light truck diesels, the oil should be changed every 3,000 miles without exception -- especially in turbo diesels.
Turbocharged gasoline engines also require more frequent oil changes because of the high temperatures inside the turbo that can oxidize oil. A 3,000 mile oil change interval is also recommended for all turbocharged gasoline engines.
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