What Oil is Best for High Mileage Vehicles?

auto mechanic replacing oilMotor oils, like virtually any other product on the market with some form of competition, has a large variety of options to choose from. Some are actually useful, while others use marketing lingo or fast talk to try and promote a product that you really don’t need. Words like “viscosity,” “grade,” and “synthetic” will often come up whenever you’re browsing your options. Before you put any oil in your vehicle, it pays to do some research on which oil is best for your exact situation. For owners of high mileage vehicles, choice in oil could mean better performance and lower chances of leaks.


Defining “High-Mileage”


Hogan and Sons oil change services director says, if your vehicle has over 70,000 miles on it, then it could be considered high-mileage. These tend to be vehicles that you use for work every day, or which you’ve owned for a considerable amount of years. With that in mind, picking the right oil can help you to get even more mileage out of the vehicle and maintain steady, smooth operation.


Viscosity Plays a Role


When choosing an oil specifically for a high-mileage vehicle, high viscosity oil is recommended. One of the main concerns with an older vehicle that has a lot of mileage is the wear and tear that occurs on the moving parts. Over time, regardless of how well you maintain the vehicle, there will be damage that low-viscosity oil will not be able to properly lubricate. In addition, older vehicles tend to have older pumps. Thicker oils add necessary pressure, so that the vehicle can operate smoothly and oil can be evenly distributed.


What Defines a High-Mileage Oil?


The answer to that question usually comes down to the additives. High-mileage oil tends to have more than regular oil. The additives are useful because they aid in lubrication, but the more additives that the oil will have, the more contaminants it will pick up throughout regular operation. Additionally, the right high-mileage oil will also greatly reduce the chances of seeing oil leakage in your engine. If in doubt, there are many oil companies that sell “high-mileage oil” products specifically. You can usually take these at face value, instead of assuming they’re using marketing lingo to sell you a product.


Beware of Big Claims


One thing to be concerned with when choosing high-mileage oil is the claim that the oil will somehow allow you to go longer without an oil change, or that it will somehow “fix” any wear that your engine currently has. The additives in any high-mileage oil are meant to allow for steady operation regardless of wear, but it is no replacement for having proper repair work done. High-mileage needs to be changed every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, although some vehicle owners recommend 5,000-7,500 miles. In the case of high-mileage oils, remember that your oil will be picking up more contaminants, as they will be more prevalent in the engine.


Weather Can Make a Difference


Another concern with high-mileage oil is that choosing the recommended high viscosity oil may cause issues if you live in a cold weather environment. In these situations, it’s usually best to ask a mechanic what they may recommend for your car or truck. You will still need to change your oil just as regularly as you would in any other environment, but high viscosity oil can create drag on the engine in cold climates.


Final Note


Regular oil changes are more important for a high-mileage vehicle than any particular brand. Despite what each oil claims to do, contaminants and debris will be a major concern for any older engine or vehicle. By consistently changing your oil at the recommended intervals, virtually any type of oil will be effective in a high-mileage vehicle.

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