When Is It Time to Start Using High Mileage Oil?

There’s a reason auto manufacturers emphasize the importance of regular oil changes, and it’s not simply because they want you to comply with their warranty. Routine maintenance, especially oil changes, is recommended because it’s a great way to promote your vehicle’s longevity. Oil changes can help a vehicle run efficiently and smoothly when performed regularly. 

Of course, even the best-maintained vehicle will eventually show some age. Whether you change your oil or pay someone to change it for you, if your vehicle is getting on in years, you may have wondered if it requires any modifications at maintenance time. In the case of oil lubrication, you may be right.

What is high mileage oil?

A person changing the oil, potentially with high mileage oil.
A man changing the oil | Getty Images

As engines age, certain parts, such as the o-rings, seals, and gaskets, begin to degrade. Once these components start to deteriorate, they’re less able to fulfill their various functions, one of which is to keep oil sealed inside the engine. As might be expected, one of the classic signs that a vehicle is beginning to age is finding a small puddle of oil on the garage floor. 

As Machinery Lubrication points out, high mileage oil is designed to combat some issues that arise as a vehicle ages. High mileage oils contain special additives and seal conditioners that prompt key components such as an engine’s gaskets, seals, and o-rings to expand. After these components spread out, their functioning is restored, and once again, the seals, gaskets, and o-rings prevent oil from leaking out of the engine.  

When is the best time to switch to high mileage oil?

When determining the best time to switch to a high mileage oil, there is one main factor to consider, and that has to do with the type of driving conditions under which the vehicle operates. In general, vehicles primarily operating in city driving conditions may be ready for a high mileage oil long before a similar vehicle driven mainly on the freeway. With all its frequent stops and starts, this is because city driving is known to produce more wear and tear on an engine’s components. 

Even so, if a vehicle has around 75,000 miles, it’s time to consider whether it might be ready for a high mileage oil. This is especially true if the vehicle wasn’t maintained well in the past or already leaking oil. 

3. What are the benefits associated with using a high mileage oil?

Two practical benefits are associated with using a high mileage oil. The first benefit centers around better performance in terms of fuel economy. The second benefit of using high mileage oil is no more unsightly oil puddles on the driveway, garage floor, etc. 

There are a host of other important benefits as well. Their importance lies in the fact that they help extend the life of a vehicle, which means an owner can maximize the value they receive with every vehicle purchase. These benefits include less wear and tear on engine components and protection for the engine itself. The latter occurs because high mileage oil contains special additives that help prevent sludge and other undesirable deposits from forming. 

In many cases, using a high mileage oil also means an owner can extend the time between oil changes for their vehicle. This is because the special high mileage oils don’t break down as quickly as regular motor oil. Changing oil less frequently can translate into significant cost savings, especially when someone other than the owner changes the oil.

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