Knowing when to change your vehicle’s motor oil is important to maintain the health of your engine. Many modern vehicles feature an oil life monitoring system, which includes a percentage rating of how much “life” the motor oil has remaining before needing a change. But just how long will 15% oil life last?
Calculating Oil Life
The most important factor in calculating oil life is use. The more you use your vehicle, the faster the oil will degrade. The 15% oil life reading usually means that approximately 85% of the oil’s useful life has been used up. Depending on the age and type of vehicle you have, the remaining oil life could last for several hundred miles or several thousand.
Knowing When to Change Oil
To be safe, most oil change intervals should not exceed 5,000 miles or 6 months of use. As mentioned before, a modern oil life monitoring system should help to keep you aware of when it’s time to change. However if your vehicle doesn’t have this feature, be sure to consult your owner’s manual for specific oil change intervals.
Factors Affecting Oil Life
Various factors can affect the life of your vehicle’s motor oil including:
- Age: Older engines tend to last longer between oil changes.
- Make/Model: Different makes and models have different oil change interval recommendations.
- Type of Oil: Synthetic oils tend to last longer than conventional oils.
- Driving Conditions: Extreme temperatures, dusty environments, and heavy traffic can all reduce oil life.
- Maintenance: Regular maintenance can help to extend the life of your motor oil.
Knowing when to change your vehicle’s oil is essential for keeping it running properly. 15% oil life is a general indicator that it’s time to change it, but the length of oil life can vary depending on various factors. If your vehicle has a motor oil life monitoring system, be sure to pay attention to the readings so that you know when to schedule an oil change.