How Long After Adding Oil Can I Drive (And Why?)

Exact Answer: Up to 5000 miles

Generations of car owners have followed the mantra of ‘changing oil every 3000 miles’ to keep their car running smoothly. Millions of modern car owners still follow the same mantra without paying any attention to the model and make of their cars. Certainly, the windshield stickers advising you frequent oil change don’t help a bit.

The oil in the car serves the function of lubricating the engine parts and taking away heat from them. In this process, it also accumulates dirt and debris from the engine. Thus, it is incredibly important to change the oil when required, or risk overheating the engine.

How Long After Adding Oil Can I Drive?

Conditions under which car is drivenDistance in (miles)
Normal (>20 miles per day/ Flat freeways/ Newer car)5000 – 7500
Severe (Primarily short trips/ Extreme weather/ Older car)3000

Ideally, car owners should follow the oil changing schedule as mentioned in the owner’s manual. Since a lot of people are unable to read this manual due to time constraints, most just go by whatever their mechanic tells them. Nowadays, cars come fitted with oil life monitors that automatically tell you when it is time for an oil change. So you can cut unreliable mechanics out of the equation.

Conventional v/s synthetic oils

Most cars with conventional oils require an oil change after running for 5000-7500 miles. Now, auto manufacturers are switching to engines that require synthetic oils. These oils last longer and at most require changing at 15000 miles. They can better protect the engine from wear and tear, giving it a long life.

RECOMMENDED
How Long After Seeding Lawn Can I Mow (And Why)?

Signs you need an oil change

An oil change is one car service that you should not skip out on. If you see any of the following, it may be time for an oil change:

  1. Excessive exhaust – Later models of cars emit less exhaust, so the opposite means something is going wrong.
  2. Noisy engine – If the engine is making too much noise while driving, it means the oil is not lubricating it properly
  3. Ticking sounds when starting the car – When there is a need for an oil change, the engine may take too much time and effort to start, and make ticking sounds as debris in the oil circulates through it.
  4. Abnormal vibrations – If your car at idle is shaking with unexplained vibrations, it may be time for an oil change.

Why Can I Drive Upto 5,000 Miles After Adding Oil?

There are two types of synthetic oils that newer models of cars use:

  1. Synthetic blend oil: A mix of conventional oil (which uses crude materials) and synthetic stock (which is chemically generated). It gives better protection and longer life than conventional motor oil.
  2. Full synthetic oil: A completely chemically – manufactured oil that has different additives to improve performance. This motor oil gives high-end protection to your engine and doesn’t degrade easily.

The type of motor oil that your car will require depends on various factors. Do you aim to have a cleaner engine or a more durable one? The additive blend for one focus will be different from another. Even a slight difference in the composition of the oil might impact its performance in a major way.

RECOMMENDED
How Long Should An Air Conditioner Run (And Why)?

The optimum option will be to choose such oil that gives you premium performance on all factors. This will ensure durability, resulting in less frequent oil changes.

Automobile makers agree that synthetic blend oil will usually last you 5,000 miles driving in normal conditions. This may vary a little with the brand of motor oil used. Even the speed at which you drive may affect this figure. When using full synthetic oil, you may go up to 10,000 miles before requiring a change. Oil monitoring systems conveniently alert the user when the oil quality has dipped too low.

If you have an older car that is not compatible with synthetic motor oil, it is best to stick with conventional till the end of its life.

Conclusion

Changing the oil in cars is usually a very straightforward process, and car owners often neglect/forget to do the same. It is clear that an engine’s good health and durable life depends heavily on the quality of motor oil being used. Car owners should follow instructions in the user manual to find out the most suitable motor oil for their cars. When the monitoring system indicates the need for change, there should be a minimum delay in doing it.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0043164801008602
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016236108000756