How Long can Oil Sit in an Engine

How Long can Oil Sit in an Engine Auto Repair

All cars need engine oil to keep their parts well lubricated. Without it, engine components grind against each other and residue builds up inside the motor. Good engine oil maintenance is a critical part of keeping your car healthy and functioning. Not all of us are car experts though and it can be very confusing to figure out exactly what you should be doing to take care of your car. A particular source of frustration for drivers nationwide is figuring out how long to wait between oil changes or asking yourself how long can oil sit in an engine for.  There are a lot of popular myths out there on this subject, but here are some simple guidelines to follow.

Oil change times are most commonly listed in terms of miles driven. That is to say that you should change your oil after driving X number of miles since your last change. This variable will depend on the car you drive and the type of oil that you use. Most modern drivers use synthetic oil, which can last thousands of miles more than traditional petroleum based oil.  You can check on the bottle to see how many miles the oil you use is rated for, but most synthetic oils will be fine driving up to 7,500 miles without a change. Keep in mind that many oil manufacturers tend to underestimate how long their oil will last in order to keep you coming back for refills more often. Because of this it is generally safe to drive one to two thousand miles more on your engine oil than the bottle advertises.

But what if you have a car that is not being driven very often? Answers vary wildly on this topic, but the best estimate for you will depend on the type of car and how frequently it is being used.  You should consult your car’s owner’s manual for specific details; in general, if you are going to let a car sit for more than six months without being driven, you should change the oil beforehand and drive the car for at least ten minutes a month.  This helps to warm up the oil, remove gunk build up, and clean out your system to prevent oil from breaking down too quickly. Maintaining a regimen like this can keep your oil functional for up to two years with minimal driving.

Once you are ready to change your oil, you will probably want to find an auto-technician to do the job for you. If you are feeling up to taking on the task yourself, there is a great step-by-step guide available here.  Otherwise, you should find someone who can service you car.  If you use TalkLocal, you will be automatically connected with a quality local professional in just a few minutes.  All you need to do is provide your contact info and a description of your problem and TalkLocal takes care of everything else!

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