If you're conscientious about regularly checking and changing your vehicle’s motor oil, you can
avoid excessive wear and carbon buildup in the engine’s internal parts. This is a serious problem, and it can
easily be avoided with routine maintenance.
Conventional motor oil changes are often prescribed
for every 3,000 miles. This is a conservative number, since many motor oil formulations can go well past the
3,000 mile interval with no loss of engine protection, but it's still as good a rule of thumb as any. As oil
changes are relatively inexpensive, it doesn't hurt to be better safe than not when it comes to the
of your vehicle's engine. This is particularly true of older vehicles or those that are regularly driven
far, very often. For these workhorses, you may want to use a high mileage motor oil. This formula is
engineered specifically for the looser tolerances of a worn engine. Some even employ a powder composed of
copper, silver and lead. This is known as CSL, and it helps to fill some of the age-related pitting in
motor components like cylinders and pistons.
For newer engines, the primary consideration when choosing a motor oil is viscosity, though you may
also want to be informed as to how much shearing it will experience in use. Viscosity refers to the oil’s
thickness and flow properties. Shearing is when oil thins inside a bearing and then returns to norm
viscosity upon flowing out of that bearing.
Motor oil viscosity, based on testing performed
at different temperatures, is stated clearly on every quart or gallon container. Your owner's manual will
tell you which weight is recommended for use in your vehicle. While information about shearing may be
interesting, it is more elusive. Generally, the higher the temperature of an engine, the more shearing its
oil will undergo. Testing has shown that synthetic motor oils perform better in terms of shear strength,
which is one reason why they’re advised for newer vehicles.