Engine oil is essential for keeping vehicles running smoothly. It lubricates moving parts, reduces friction, and helps heat in the engine to dissipate. Without oil, vehicles’ engines would overheat, and the friction between moving parts would cause detrimental damage. That being said, there are several myths circulating about engine oil. Being able to distinguish fact from fiction can help you keep your car running better for longer. Take a look at the following common misconceptions about motor oil and the real truth that lies underneath.
1) Thicker Oil Is Better for Engines
In truth, using oil that’s too thick can actually damage an engine and detract from fuel efficiency. If the oil is too thick, the engine will use more energy to work properly. That, in turn, burns more fuel and can lead to excessive wear and tear. That’s especially true in cold weather.
Be sure to use the type of oil recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. Beyond that, running oil with a lower viscosity in colder weather is often advised. It can coat the engine’s parts more effectively than thicker oil when temperatures drop. Then, when summer rolls around, you can schedule an oil change draper to get rid of the thinner oil and replace it with a thicker viscosity if needed.
2) Engine Oil Needs to Be Changed Every 3,000 Miles
The idea that oil should be changed every 3,000 miles is one of the most common myths in the automotive world. Actually, the recommended interval between oil changes varies based on several factors. Those include the vehicle in question, its manufacturer’s guidelines, driving conditions, and the type of oil being used to name a few.
Many vehicles can go 5,000 miles or more before needing an oil change. Others may need oil changes before 3,000 miles. Consult your owner’s manual and speak with your automotive technician to determine the best oil change schedule for your vehicle.
3) Putting Additives in Your Engine Will Increase Oil Change Intervals
In reality, mixing extra additives into your engine oil will have little effect on oil change intervals. High-quality motor oil already has additives in it. They’re designed to clear away buildup and boost the oil’s protective capabilities. Engine oil consists of a carefully developed blend of ingredients, and mixing more additives into it can disturb the balance. It may detract from the protective lubricating qualities of the oil and lead to engine damage.
4) Synthetic Motor Oil Is Dangerous for Older Engines
Truthfully, synthetic oil is perfectly safe for both old and new engines. This myth has been a long time in the making. Once synthetic oil reached store shelves and people started using it in older engines, many began to notice leaks. That still happens even today. Synthetic oil doesn’t cause those leaks, though. Since it cleans engines more effectively than conventional engine oil, it simply clears away buildup in older engines that may be blocking existing leaks. Synthetic oil may unearth leaks, but it doesn’t create them.
5) You Can’t Switch Between Different Types of Oil
Again, this is fiction. In general, there’s no harm in switching between different types of oil. Whether you try out different brands or mix it up between synthetic and conventional versions, there’s really no danger. That being said, if you switch from synthetic to conventional oil, your engine may start to develop more buildup than it did beforehand because of the extra additives and detergents in synthetic oil.
Separating Engine Oil Fact From Fiction
Many have said that all myths are founded in truth in one way or another. Unfortunately, as myths grow, the truth behind them tends to be overshadowed. Quite a few misconceptions surround vehicle care and maintenance, and many of them revolve around engine oil. Don’t let those myths get you off track. Keep the truth in mind, and let your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations be your guide.