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10 Oil Change Myths You Need to Know

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Here are the 10 most common oil change myths:

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  • You must perform an oil change once every 3000 miles
  • Only change the oil when it's black
  • You must stick with synthetic oil
  • All oil additives are great for your engine
  • The letter W in the engine oil type refers to the weight
  • You should not buy oil in bulk
  • Synthetic oil is not good for your vehicle
  • You cannot switch oil brands
  • Motor oil brands are identical
  • You must have a thick engine oil

Our vehicles are one of the most critical investments in our life. Therefore, learning about common mechanical issues and understanding regular maintenance is extremely important to maintain the lifetime of the vehicles.

However, many inexperienced drivers might fall into a rabbit hole of vehicle maintenance myths that could cost them a lot of unnecessary efforts, if not money. Some of the common myths that you might come across are those related to engine oil.

Since engine oil is a critical component, it's not very hard for any mechanic to convince you to follow these myths for them to make money without you noticing.

Let's learn about 10 oil change myths that you might come across, and you might have been doing all along. Then, we will highlight each myth and provide you with the truth behind it.

What is an oil change, and why is it important?

Oil is one of the most critical fluids in your vehicle. Without a proper amount of oil, you can easily deal with major engine problems requiring installing a new engine in difficult situations.

Your engine's moving components interact with each other and generate a lot of friction. This friction could result in higher heat, causing engine overheating, the worst enemy to any vehicle's engine. Luckily, your vehicle's lubrication system through the engine oil prevents any friction and helps cool down the engine.

Overtime will be used, engine oil breaks down and requires change. Unfortunately, the field fails to change the engine oil at the right time; you can easily deal with complications that could cost you thousands of dollars. In addition, as the engine oil ages, it loses some of its main characteristics, which you cannot rely on.

There are many types of engine oil you might encounter, including synthetic, conventional, and semi-synthetic oil. Every oil has its characteristics and provides you with certain benefits. However, some oils might require more oil changes than others, so you must keep an eye for the next due date for replacing your engine oil.

Furthermore, every type of engine oil comes with its price. For example, synthetic oil is considered the highest quality oil, but it's the most expensive. On the other hand, conventional oil is considered the Standard Oil that provides you with the basic minimum benefits any oil would provide you, and it's the cheapest type of oil that every driver should not have a problem purchasing.

Certain manufacturers and companies came up with no oil additives that enhance the vehicle's performance and prevent damages related to corrosion, oxidation, and other contamination in the engine. However, it's critical to read through these additives and familiarize yourself with their benefits because certain additives might not be suitable for your engine, especially if you're driving an older vehicle.

10  oil change myths you need to know

An oil change is one of the most common and critical commitments that you have to perform regularly. Once you perform the oil change, you can immediately notice the vehicle’s performance and fuel economy enhancements.

However, there are many oils changed myths out there that you might have been following for a long time without realizing. Let's take a closer look at some of these myths and understand the truth behind them:

  1. You must perform oil change once every 3000 miles

One of the very common oil change myths is related to replacing your vehicle's oil once every 3000 miles. This was a common fact on older vehicles. However, with advancements and vehicle manufacturing, you no longer must perform oil changes with this frequency.

Many high-quality oils do not necessarily need to change them up to 10,000 if not 15,000 miles. Therefore, we recommend that you go through your vehicle's owner’s manual and consult with your mechanic to understand better how often you should perform an oil change.

  1. Only change the oil when it's black

Unfortunately, many people think they shouldn't replace the engine oil unless they see it's very dark. However, that's extremely dangerous. This is because sometimes, you might reach the due date for an oil change without the oil completely turning black. Thus, you must monitor and keep an eye on the record for when the last time was you performed an oil change and when it's the next due date.

Keep in mind that many oils that contain a lot of additives might look black, and the first time you use them. In other words, by just relying on the visual inspection oil, you might change the oil before the due date without any queries and thinking that the oil is bad. So, to avoid getting in this situation, familiarize yourself with how the good oil looks when you first use it before judging that this oil is bad just by visually inspecting it.

  1. You must stick with synthetic oil

Synthetic oil provides many benefits to your engine, and it does not require frequent changes, which is a great option for those who don't like to wait on repair shops for frequent oil changes. However, the one drawback about synthetic oil is that it's very expensive, which means that not every driver can afford it.

It's not rare for some drivers who switch to synthetic oil to switch back to regular or conventional oil. Some mechanics might advise you and say that you must stick with synthetic oil and not switch back. However, that's not the case, and that's not the reality.

You can switch between synthetic and conventional oil anytime you want and depending on your goals and budget.

Some manufacturers and some companies made a new type of oil that is a mix between synthetic and conventional oil change that you can safely mix between 2 different types of oil qualities.

  1. All oil additives are great for your engine

Yes, oil additives provide your vehicle with many enhancements, and you might notice a significant improvement in your vehicle’s performance. However, not every vehicle will respond the same, and depending on your engine side, certain additives might even harm the engine and cause internal damages.

Therefore, before you decide to get excited about certain additives, it's important that you review and read through your vehicle's owner’s manual or probably consult your mechanic to confirm whether this additive is safe for your engine or not.

Note that some oil additives target older vehicles and high-mileage cars. However, those additives are extremely useful for your car if you're worried about weak internal seals. For example, some additives might remove any minor cracks and prevent engine oil from leaking in high mileage vehicles.

  1. The letter W in the engine oil type refers to the weight

There is a very common myth that the letter W in your oil refers to the weight of the bottle or the weight of the oil. However, this letter designation refers to “winter,” which has to do with your vehicles is costly and how fast though oil flows it under low temperatures.

That's only you should pay attention to the letter W means. Still, also you must pay attention to the number in front and after the letter because each number indicates a certain characteristic about your motor oil that is critical depending on what temperature you drive your vehicle in.

We advise that you read through some background information about the different letter designations in oils and how it impacts the oil performance under different temperature conditions.

  1. You should not buy oil in bulk

Some people think that purchasing oil in bottles is better than buying a bulk quantity. This is because the bottle might have better quality. However, that's not the case. Depending on which brand, the type of additives, and the type of oil, you can decide the quality and not by how it's packed.

  1. Synthetic oil is not good for your vehicle

This common myth is partially true for certain vehicles but not for every car. For example, synthetic oil is great engine oil that provides you with the best qualities and enhances the vehicle's performance while avoiding corrosion. However, synthetic oil is not recommended for every vehicle, especially if driving an older car.

Older vehicles are equipped with very weak seals, and the type of additives that you might find in the synthetic oil might be strong enough to damage these seals and caused significant issues that could cost you thousands of dollars down the road.

Therefore, before deciding whether synthetic oil is good or bad for your vehicle, it's critical to go through the manual or have the mechanic give you the final word.

  1. You cannot switch oil brands

That is not correct. Some people think that when you purchase a specific engine oil, you must stick with it. You cannot switch to any other brand here; however, experts indicated that you could easily and safely mix different types of brands and different types of oil qualities.

Keep in mind that if you mix higher quality oil with lower quality one, it indicates that you will need to change the oil more frequently than when you have a few high quality or synthetic oil.

  1. Motor oil brands are identical

Many people think that all oil brands are the same if it's conventional, synthetic, or synthetic blend oil. However, that's not also correct. This is because certain brands will add specific additives to the oil to improve its performance and will highlight all these additives in the description of the oil.

Therefore, before purchasing and oil blindly, we recommend that you go through all types of additives in the oil and how these additives can enhance your vehicle's performance.

  1. You must have a thick engine oil

People think that whenever the engine oil is thicker, it's better. However, that's not correct. Depending on the temperature, the oil thickness might be a good choice or not. For example, if you are driving continuously under extremely low temperatures, you might need a specific oil thickness that's not the same as someone driving in extremely high temperatures.


Your engine oil is a critical fluid that you must maintain and change whenever needed. An oil change is common maintenance that you must regularly perform to enhance the engine and prevent engine overheating.

Unfortunately, there are many car oils changes myths that people follow without realizing. This article highlights these myths and explains the truth behind each myth to help you avoid them and correct your understanding.

It's important to note that despite how good you are at oil changes, it will be extremely challenging for your car to keep up if it has major mechanical problems. In addition, you will deal with vehicle breakdowns anytime soon. Therefore, we advise that you evaluate whether it's worth selling your car and using its money to purchase a better vehicle that does not have any problem.

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  • Describe your car’s type and condition
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