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Engine oil: when should we change it in our car?

Engine oil: when should we change it in our car?

Maintenance of the car is necessary for its use, from two points of view: on the one hand, it avoids unpleasant experiences, such as staying on foot, perhaps on vacation or during a snowstorm; On the other hand, they guarantee a longer life for our beloved car, as well as a lower cost resulting from frequent replacements. How many times have we pretended to ignore the dashboard warning lights, including the oil warning light? Maybe at least once in a lifetime. Instead, you need to be careful: oil and filter changes must be carried out without delay. Let’s learn more about engine oil.

When is the car oil changed?

Engine oil is an essential component of the functioning of a car: thanks to its action, it ensures, first of all, an excessively high engine temperature, as well as keeping all the various components clean and preserving the life of metal surfaces. That is why when the right light comes on, you need to pay attention immediately. Even if some cars have particularly sensitive sensors that are activated at the slightest perception of insufficient oil pressure, when the warning light appears, it is recommended to stop the car immediately or go to the nearest garage for inspection.

But if you want to avoid waiting for the warning light, when is it advisable to change the engine oil, without bypassing the other side or replacing it so often that incurring unnecessary costs? In the first place we must take into account several factors, namely:

  • car age
  • Engine type (diesel or petrol).
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Let’s see the difference better.

The oil changes according to the age of the car

Older cars require more frequent oil changes and more demanding maintenance in general. This is for a very simple reason, which is to reduce the motor’s tolerances: in short, the more time passes, the lower the tolerance level. A bit like what happens to people! A lower tolerance level requires higher engine oil consumption. On the other hand, new cars have higher tolerances and require less frequent oil changes.

We sometimes tend to think that the difference in consumption between old and new cars depends on how the engines are structured: in fact, the difference is minimal from this point of view. It is basically a matter of efficiency that tends to decline over time.

Engine type: How does it affect the oil change

The frequency of oil change is also partly determined by the type of fueling the engine, that is, diesel or gasoline. Diesel engines require less frequent changing due to their design from a technical point of view. The difference isn’t quite as small as we’ll soon see: it’s actually about half the frequency of a diesel compared to a gasoline engine.

Expert advice on oil change times

So let’s see in terms of kilometers how often this type of maintenance needs to be done.

In this regard, there are different opinions, which also differ by examining the two above-mentioned variables. In summary:

  • If the car is new enough, not reaching 10 years of age, then the oil should be changed every 15,000 – 20,000 km. if the car is diesel, then it can go 25,000 km;
  • On the other hand, if our machine starts to be more than ten years old, to prolong its use, it would be better to change the oil about every 10,000 km.
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The engine manual is certainly original, the exact timing in terms of kilometres, is clearly indicated. If you ever lost your brochure or pulled out of your car’s glove box, you can certainly find a copy posted online by the automaker.

Among other things, in 99% of cases, when you take your machine to the workshop for a breakdown, an inspection or even a mandatory repair, as a rule the mechanic first checks the oil, so we can partially rely on professionals in the sector if we are in doubt.

Another clarification should be given regarding the filters: do they also need to be changed when adding oil? As a rule, yes, because the filter collects the waste generated during combustion. Dirty or clogged filters do not allow for effective cleaning and can seriously affect the engine if the problem persists for a long time.

Information sources:

Engine oil information –

Diesel engine: from birth to regression in pictures –