How To Extend Oil Drain Intervals
Achieve Extended Oil Drain Intervals Using These Tips
First of all, it’s important to acknowledge advances in engine oils over the past 5-10 years, which have already resulted in longer OEM-recommended oil drain intervals. Still, there are certain things you can do to help ensure extended oil drain interval (EODI) performance without serious adverse effects. But beware of the risks of extending drain intervals too much. This has the potential to negatively impact oil protection characteristics, leading to premature engine.
Simple physics says that the more miles you drive, the more that oil additives are depleted, sheared or damaged and the more that oil oxidizes and degrades. The oil also steadily becomes contaminated by the inevitable buildup of dirt, soot and deposits (sludge).
Driving long stretches and many miles on the highway puts less internal stress on engines and oil than short hauls, frequent stop-and-go driving, cold starts, or severe duty and heavy dust conditions.
- The first step in achieving an EODI should be to select a high quality engine oil. Going cheap on oil means that you’re most likely not going to get the same quality of additives that serve to protect engines longer.
- Choosing a more robust oil filter with a more advanced filtering media can also help extend service intervals. Good filtration is the antidote to contamination. However, you should first refer to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Make sure the premium filter meets the minimum specification by cross referencing the new part number against your OEM-specified part number for comparable applications. Many filter manufacturers offer online lookup tools for this purpose.
- Using the right type and quality of fuel can also positively impact oil drain intervals. Biodiesels, blended fuels and high-sulphur content diesel fuels are detrimental to EODIs.
- Performing periodic oil analyses (i.e., TAN/TBN sampling) to determine the remaining useful life of the oil can also help in safely extending drain intervals. Many fleets do this as standard operating procedure. Traditional heavy duty service providers can also perform this analysis.
You should always defer to the Original Equipment Manufacturer’s recommendation pertaining to oil drain/change intervals, and use proper oil analysis procedures to extend oil intervals.
Attempting to extend oil drain intervals in older engines is not recommended, because with age, piston rings, valve guides and seals become worn. Delaying drain intervals will only exaggerate the negative repercussions, resulting in oil leakage, thermal breakdown, oil burn-off and increase engine wear.