Modern cars are smarter than ever, and they share this information with us through dashboard displays. One indication is the oil life remaining. When it drops to 15%, it’s time to start making plans for an oil change. But just how much longer can you safely drive with 15% oil life?

Why Is It Important To Monitor Oil Life?

Your car engine’s life depends on oil. It lubricates the metal parts, keeps the engine cool, and traps dirt and debris, making oil an integral player in your engine’s health. And since oil can only perform these functions for so long, monitoring the life remaining is important.

What Does the 15% Oil Life Indicate?

Once oil reaches the 15% remaining threshold, the engine oil is at the end of its useful life and should be changed. Driving with 15% oil life remaining should be limited if possible, but driving habits and roads traveled may vary greatly.

How Many Miles Can I Drive With 15% Oil Life?

Oil life calculations are based on time and miles traveled, as well as driving conditions, with the toughest being stop and go traffic. The mileage you can expect to get with a 15% oil life remaining can vary greatly, so it’s important to understand your car’s service interval and monitor it closely.

How to Estimate Mileage Remaining

It’s best to consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s specific oil change interval. Then divide that number of miles traveled by three. This will give you an idea of how many miles you have left before changing your oil.

When to Change Your Oil

It’s safer to perform oil changes sooner rather than later. You’re better off changing the oil after you reach 15% oil life remaining or when you reach the mileage suggested by the manufacturer’s service interval, whichever comes first.


It’s best to consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s oil change interval. When the oil life drops to 15%, estimate how many miles you may have left by dividing your service interval by three. With 15% oil life remaining, an oil change should be done sooner rather than later.

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