Top 10 Myths About Engine Oil

001 Shell Rotella T6 Pour low rez II

By Bob Carpenter

Engine oil is so important to the operation of pickup trucks that it can be likened to blood in humans' veins. Without oil, engine parts gall and seize up. Use oil for too long and the necessary properties wear out, so your truck's engine wears out too. Good engine oil is critical to ensuring a long and happy life for your truck engine. But, as is often the case with something so important, certain myths seem to work their way into the thinking of enthusiasts. See how many of these you believe — or once believed.

1. You Should Change Your Oil Every 3,000 Miles

That's just the quick oil change places (and maybe your dealer) trying to get you to come back more often and spend money with them. Modern oils are designed to last much longer than that. The key is to read your owner's manual. The truck manufacturer knows the right answer. For example, the average recommended interval for oil changes on cars in 2010 was 7,800 miles. Cummins even suggests 15,000 miles for engines in certain use categories (not much idling, no redline use, longer trips, etc.).

2. You Should Change Your Oil Before a Road Trip

If the oil change interval is not scheduled to occur before or during your trip you're just wasting money. You should, of course, make sure that the oil level is correct and that there are no new leaks.

3. Change Your Oil When It Is Black

The quick-lube places love to show you a dipstick with black oil on it and explain that this is the reason the oil needs to be changed. So what if it's black? Modern oil is designed to trap and carry the elements that, if left on the metal engine parts, would become sludge. They are perfectly fine circulating in the oil until it's time for a scheduled oil change. Also, different additives in the oil change the color of the oil over time, even when there is still plenty of life left in it. Again, keep track of your mileage and change it when you get to the mileage recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.

4. Change a New Truck's Oil After the First 3,000 Miles

The thinking is that a new engine has a lot of metal particles resulting from the breaking-in process. While this is somewhat true, the engine oil filter and the oil are both designed to remove these particles from the system. It should be noted that Honda uses a special break-in oil in some of its engines, and the company doesn't want you to remove it too soon. If other manufacturers go this route in the future it's going to be hard as heck to convince some people to leave the oil in until directed to replace it.

5. Don't Use Synthetic Oil in an Old Engine; It Will Leak

This myth perpetuates the belief that synthetic oils are thinner and slipperier, so it will gush out of all the cracks, holes and missing gasket pieces that regular oil is perfectly happy to avoid. That's rubbish. Synthetic oil leaks no worse than petroleum-based oils.


003 dipstick II


6. Base Oils Are All the Same

While petroleum-based engine oils all use molecular chains of hydrogen and carbon atoms (hydrocarbons), the crude oil used to make engine oil is full of a complex mixture of sulfur, nitrogen, oxygen, nickel and other things that may or may not be useful as a lubricant. It varies from manufacturer to manufacturer and sometimes from batch to batch. That's one of the selling points of synthetic oils — you get the same thing every time and nothing that you don't need.

7. Extended Drain Intervals Will Void Your Warranty

Nope. If you are using an oil that has an extended life (like synthetic), your warranty can't be voided just because you didn't change the oil when the manual tells you to change a petroleum-based oil. It has to be proven that the oil was the cause of the failure before it could void your warranty.

8. Gas and Diesel Trucks Can Use the Same Oil

Diesel engine oils generally have a higher viscosity compared to gasoline engine oils. In very cold weather the gasoline engine might not be able to pump the thicker oil properly. Also, diesel oils have a higher concentration of additives, which may adversely affect gasoline engine parts.

9. Synthetic Oils Will Give You Better Mileage

It's unlikely. But there are plenty of other good reasons to use synthetics. They have wider operating temperatures, better wear protection, good shear stability and less deposit formation.

10. More Oil Is Better

If you're overfilling your engine because it leaks, you're making things worse. Increased resistance from the extra oil causes excessive heat. Some of the extra oil can get splashed into the cylinders and cause excessive oil burning, which leads to an increase in combustion chamber deposits. Either fix the leak or just keep topping off your engine oil on a regular basis. photos by Bob Carpenter; manufacturer images

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@ALL1--Most people would rather not go a little longer on the oil change, but it is interesting that you had your oil analyzed. Having had engines replaced before in vehicles that I have owned in the past I would rather have more frequent intervals. It takes a lot of oil changes to pay for another engine so the extra peace of mind is worth the cost.

Trucks are about the only vehicles that have grease fittings on ball joints, tie rods, and other suspension parts and some of the new trucks have reduced the number of grease fittings. I realize that many of these parts are supposedly life time sealed but I would rather have a grease fitting and grease it every time the oil is changed because in the long run those parts will last longer.

One of the great advantages of the Vm diesel is the weight at 506 lbs.... no more expensive front end rebuilds. The torque output is ideal for the new 8 spd tranny. Everyone seems to be looking at the GC which is great but think of this backed by the 8 spd...... I say slam dunk! The minute Ram introduces the VM with a 8 spd in the 1500 i'll be first in line to order one.

I know many who have the new cummins and long for the days of the old reliable 5.9 400 hp and 800 ft lbs of torque is great but not everyone needs that much of a workhorse..... I think there is a huge market in the direction of the diesel backed 1500.

You guys talking about oil flow thru an engine during cold starts that's what a bypass valve in the oil filter is for, on cold starts the oil is simply bypassed not flowing thru the oil filter.
Filter media.
Some of the better quality filters are made from a synthetic fiber media that trap 5 to 10 micron contaminants where a cheap paper media filter is at 25-30 micron.
The synthetic fiber media is capable of trapping smaller micron contaminants over a longer period of time and they have larger bodies, more capacity to hold and trap more contaminants.
These filters can last from 7000 to 25,000 miles.

The reality is there's not point using a high grade synthetic oil using a cheap grade paper media oil filter.

I think its funny! ha-ha-ha when I see guys paying $15/quart for top of the line synthetic oil and you use a cheap filter ha-ha-ha-ha,,, that's funny!

p-l-e-a-s-e don't ask me about the micron rating of air filters

@ALL1 - I find that for the most part the onboard oil monitor indicates an oil change every 8,000 km (5,000 miles) on my F150. One exceptionally harsh winter where I ended up helping my kids deliver newspapers it showed the need for an oil change at 7,000 km or 4,375 miles. One of the service advisors told me to follow the oil life monitor or change at 8,000 km, which ever came first.

@JeffS - it is pretty common in heavy industry to run diagnostics on oil.

@Tom#3 - I won't ask.

My Tundra has a dash indicator that starts flashing at 4500 and stays on to remind you to change the oil at 5000 miles--which I do.

I use synthetic in everything I own.

My wife's 6.0 uses an oil life monitor--and it has gone 10,000 miles and still not come on. I don't particularly trust such a system and will change it at about that mileage even if it hasn't come on yet.

I drive a 2006 Silverado and I change the oil when the truck tells me to change it. It is usually between 10 and 15 thousand miles and I use conventional motor oil. My truck just turned 345,000 miles. I did the same with my last pickup and it had 684,000 miles on it when I sold it. Most of my miles are highway miles and 50% towing. From what I have read, there are quite a few people wasting their money.

I bought a 88 Dodge Dakota 3.9L V6 new that I always used Mobil 1 in. At 50K miles I added Slick 50 oil treatment. At 90k I sold the truck to a friend. At 120K he was 120 miles from home in the wee hours of the morning when the radiator hose burst. He drove the truck until it shut down from over heating. After it cooled some he drove it again until it shut back down. This happened several times until he made it home. After replacing a head gasket and a spark plug he drove it until 190k and sold it. Last I heard this person wrapped it around a tree. I've never used oil additives before or since but this stuff appears to have helped and I still use Mobil 1. My 88 F150 that came to the family new loves Mobil 1. Wife's 02 Hoe that we bought new loves Mobil 1. Had the F150 repainted last year and have no plans on getting rid of either one ever. I do plan on buying a new Gold Wing if the one I have now will ever wear out. Its a shame Honda does not make a real truck.

@greg - as someone else pointed out, most of the wear occurs to an engine at start up until it hits operating temperature. If one lives in warmer climates and the truck runs for long periods of time it is easy to get the kind of miles you do.

I read a story quite a few years back about a guy with a Chevy pickup who hit a million miles in a very short time. IIRC 8 years. He religiously changed his oil every 3,000 miles. The only repairs were to things like alternator, power steering etc. I can't recall if GM or the oil company gave him a new truck for his old one to show how well preserved the engine was.

The guy was from the southern States and a few Canadian experts stated that it would be next to impossible to get those kind of miles in Canada due to our cold winters.

My brother had a 3/4 ton Chevy crew cab that his company made him keep to 225,000 km or 140,525 miles. There was nothing left to it. The Fords and Dodge trucks he has had all have met similar fates.

@Lou BC

The difference in climate is big--for an additional reason too. When cold, the crankcase takes longer to reach operating temp.

Because of that, H20 in the atmosphere (humidity) condenses in the oil and unless the oil gets hot and stays hot the moisture combines with the blow-by (from the rings) in the engine oil and produces various acids that remain there until the oil change.

In other words, the PH in the oil changes to a more acid condition which etches metal and ruins the babbit in the bearings. Over time, of course.

Engines that run cold a lot over their lifetimes suffer more of this than motors from warm climes.

Where I live it's rare for the overnight low temp to drop into the 30s. Much of the year the overnight temps don't get below 70. Big difference from a place like the Northwest.

P-L-E-A-S-E ask me about the micron ratings of air filters !
come on! ask me! Its very interesting I bet after what I tell you about air filters you'll think twice about what next air filter you should buy.
I know you guys want the best products for your engine and you want to protect it the best way you can with the best products available.
You do understand the dirt that enters the engine thru the air intake is just as harmful and even has more dirt and contaminates than whats moving around thru the oil.
True! Changing the engine oil more gets rid of the contaminates that come in thru the intake and mix with the oil.
More internal engine damage can be related to dirt entering the intake than not changing the oil.
You guys are defeating your purpose by changing the oil, using the best oil and filter and neglecting the air filter!
Come On!
allow me to explain air filters

Where I live Penn State University has a particle accelerator with x-ray vision that can see inside a running engine.
All the major vehicle manufactures have used this to watch the moving parts, oil, fuel flow, its very interesting watching the fuel injection (but we won't get into that) but they did fire isotopes into the air intake and could follow the direction they took and the results surprised everybody, not since the invention of the first internal combustion engine did anybody know this!

@RAZOR--Those Goldwings will practically run forever. I know of someone who has one and had over 100k on it and the drive shaft went out on a trip. The Honda dealer did not charge him because it said it should not have gone out. My wife had a 77 Accord for over 17 years which was one of the best cars she ever owned. I kept the body up but finally the tin worm got it (underneath it was rotting away from the salt). 40 mpgs and lots of zip. She has since had two Fords which have been very good but last year she bought a CRV. I have used Mobil 1 in a Suzuki GS 450S and a Yamaha Vision and both did well with no leaks. It would be good to see Honda release a good midsize truck along the lines of the new Colorado/Canyon and at least offer an extended cab besides the crewcab. I have a Honda self propelled lawnmower that is very smooth running and does a good job. I have owned lawn equipment in the past with Honda engines and they have held up well.1

@Lou--I know that the auto manufactures and the motor oil manufacturers test oil but no I did not know others tested as well. I learned something reading the comments on this article--one of the few times without fan boy fanaticism.

You may know by now that the 2014 Ram 1500 is Motor Trend’s Truck of Year for the second year in a row. Thanks to the innovation behind the EcoDiesel engine, Motor Trend found the Ram 1500 to be worthy of the first ever back-to-back Truck of the Year title. You’d probably agree that 28 miles per gallon on the highway is an award-winning feat for a full-size lightweight pickup.

I love my RAM!

@DeverMike/Paul/Tom Lemon/Greg Baird/TRX4Tom/Dave/Hemi V8/Tom Terrific/sandman 4x4/lautenslager/zveria/Bob/US Truck Driver/Glenn/Jason/Hemi Rampage/smartest truck guy/Maxx/SuperDuty37/Ken/Ron/johnny doe/jim/ALL1/Frank/Idahoe Joe/The Guy/AD/Casey/papa jim/Young Guy/BeeBe/Steve/Chris/The truck guy/Alex/Mr Chow/Yessir/All Americans/Scott/Buy American or say Bye to America/Ram Big Horn 1500/Hemi Monster/Tom Wilkinson at Chevy/mark49/Tom#3/Truck Crazy or whoever you want to call yourself.

Quit the sludge, really.

It's getting long in the tooth.

You want to use 10w30, but it has to be on your terms. The Hemi doesn't use that

Learn to maintain your truck according to the Ram's specifications , then we might be able to have a long lasting engine.

Opinions are good, but if they are only your view to support the UAW, then how good are they. Look at what you guys have done to Detroit.

Terror tactics (union tactics) don't work on me.

If PUTC wants the UAW or whatever to control this site I suppose it's their decision.

It's not kids like I've been told by PUTC.

yes, Ram did win truck or the year for two years in a row but everybody knows with the new innovations of the 2015 F-150 it HAS to win that award next year.
If not there will be riots in the streets!

@Tom#3 - completely incorrect on why Toyota is moving their egg rolls. Targeting younger buyers is in itself a waste of time since a large percentage of them cannot afford a vehicle. This reminds me of a story, I was on trial for the armed robbery of a convenience store in a district court near Vancouver a few years ago and I had to fire my lawyer. I was doing a fair job of defending myself until the store manager testified that I was the robber. Angry I jumped up, accused the woman of lying and then said, "I should have blown your head off." I knew I blew it, I paused, then quickly added, " - if I'd been the one that was there." The jury took 20 minutes to convict me. All this to say, unless the USA opens the floodgates to immigration of those with appropriate trades and/or education, the country will face a huge financial decline since the babyboomers are a huge chunk of the population with money to spend. I say this even though I am Canadian, am old and really never made much of myself.

@IJAZ FAHTED - "If not there will be riots in the streets!"

I agree the fold lovers have already started to riot....


Well I'm hoping the new Colorado wins Motor Trend Truck of the year for 2015, Nissan moved the Titan to 2016 so it would be the only new truck for the year and get the 2016 Truck of the Year.

Modern oils are amazing!

I try to adjust the type of oil used and frequency of oil used depending on the type of applicaiton.

The one thing I check for (when applicable) is the API oil rating to see if not only the weight of oil matches the appliction but also the that the type of oil used matches the manufacturers recommendaiton.

My Chevy truck with a 4.3 gets it's oil changed at 10k. It is at 210k, strong and counting!

I am wierd on my Russian motorcycle I use regular dino oil, I refuse to use synthetic oil in a 1930's design, yet I happly use synthetic in the transmission and rear(final drive).

I do get fearful of using synthetics on older vehicles due to the fact that I am scared the synthetics will break down the sludge deposits inside motor and that these deposits will then become blocked in an oil passage starving the engine for oil. If it were a fresh rebuild of an oil motor after the breakin oil has been changed synthetics would be safe.

I really challenge anyone to thing of the last time they saw a automotive engine faulire of a modern engine (~yr 2000) that wasn't abused? Wow our oils are good these days!

...synthetics will break down the sludge deposits inside motor


First of all, no one like me should give advice to a guy who gets over 200k miles out of a Chevy 4.3 Mine only lived to 200k because it was in a wreck that I caused.

I will tell you that detergents in the oil dissolve crud, so if you're worried about synthetics dissolving sludge, stop using detergent additives of any kind--in other words use non detergent oil and DO NOT use aftermarket additives i.e., Rislone or STP.

I'm a little tongue in cheek, however you are getting great results. Don't lose any sleep over it.

My 2 cents.

And now a musical break...


@ fake R3NxSTONEx


WOW .. there are some real retards on this site.... now their even posting more hate for ram using my handle.... okay fill your boots!

I use the computer to tell me when it's due, also installed a oil catch can on my 5.0 F150. I use mobil one & motorcraft oil filters. You boys with those ecoboost motors might want to look into jlt catch can.

@ Tim

I use the computer to tell me when it's due, also installed a oil catch can on my 5.0 F150. I use mobil one & motorcraft oil filters. You boys with those ecoboost motors might want to look into jlt catch can.


Watch the all-new F-150 take on Ram and Silverado in an uphill towing battle.


I usually change my oil every 1500 to 2000 miles. I've been doing that for a long while and have not had any problems.

I also change my own oil and filters, except when I take my vehicles to a service center for major lube service.

What brand do I use? Usually Pennzoil or Havoline, but if I use budget oil it's usually the Warren Oil brands. They don't break down so quick like most brands. And I don't use Quaker State either.

We wouldn't need to change oil for 50 thousand miles or more IF only Big Three had the foresight to use these rotary valve heads,

It's too late now btw as Chinese bought all the rights :(

@ Harley
The longevity of the oil change interval has little to nothing to do with the valvetrain.
The main issue is the fact that you can't completely seal the combustion from the engine. Compression & oil ring allow combustion by-product to enter the oil sump.
Better separation of the oil mist from combustion gasses reduces oil ingestion, and prevents deposits.

Let China acquire as many patents to dead end technologies. It is not like they respect other intellectual property, so pretty soon others will do the same in turn.

I just cheked my oil life I still have 25% life left but the thing that has stumped me is this. I made the mistake of not checking my miles before I had the oil changed. So tect put it in at 3000 and I just remove the sticker. Then as I've said before I switched to Mobil one which say you can go for 15000 before you need to change but I allow for some stop and go so I do it at 10,000 miles I use 5/20 and even if get over 100,000 miles I will never put in a heavyer oil. When I use drive for our vac we had this ford van which need the radiator cap jacked up and a new one ran under it. But no they put in a new engine. Well on down the line more miles the owner of the shop started using a 10/30 oil instead of 5/20 and to this day I still say that is what destroy the engin because part could not get lubricant to some engine parts. So no matter how many miles you get never use a heaver oil.

I have a 2007 PT. Cruiser and a 300M, I use Mobil 1, and oil filter. I change oil in PT at 5000 Miles (5w-30), but my 300M which is a 2003 with 66,000 I Change it every 4 to 6 Months is this too long to go, the oil has roughly 3000 miles on. Is this too long?.

". Don't Use Synthetic Oil in an Old Engine; It Will Leak

This myth perpetuates the belief that synthetic oils are thinner and slipperier, so it will gush out of all the cracks, holes and missing gasket pieces that regular oil is perfectly happy to avoid. That's rubbish. Synthetic oil leaks no worse than petroleum-based oils"


Iam purchase new Eicher vehicle one small dought ...
how much ltrs get on differnce oil in pro 1110 vehicle plz send this mail id

I had a Chevy S-10 V6 for 18 years, I used Mobil1 for approx 95% of oil changes, Shell Rotella T6 for the others. I just recently sold it with 292,000 miles on it. I changed my oil every 8-10K miles, sometimes as many as 15K. Never had any burn off of oil until last couple of years. Even then it was only after the oil had about 8000 miles on it and only about a 1/4 of a quart at 10,000 miles. I am a believer, Just got a 2015 Tundra 5.7, I will only use synthetic in it also. I had three motorcycles that I only used synthetic one of which I put 40K miles on it in 3 years. It never destroyed synthetic oil, like the conventional oils. USE A GOOD SYNTHETIC!!!!!

Wow. Talk about some bad advice.

The publisher had better revisit number 5 as countless tests by reputable people, places and companies have shown that many modern oils are not compatible with the older seal materials.

I been using anything from Amsoil SS 0W-30 to KMart 10W-30 Blend in my 2006 KIA Sedona. It has 257,000 miles and has NEVER had an issue. OCI's have been anywhere from 2k to 12k miles. Oil is good. Any oil!

When I bought my Chevy 2500 diesel truck (Allison Trans) in 2005 I was told by GM that I could trust the computer enrich tells you when to change the oil. It goes 6000+ many times but I always have changed it at the 30 to 40% Mark. Now in 2018 it has 205,000 + miles and runs like a top. Ive never had to add a quart of oil between changes. I have pulled backhoes occasionally but not often over these years so it’s had some heavy loads. I’m 70 years old and thinking I may never have to buy another truck. Just reupholster the seats etc. What a great vehicle!

I just changed the oil in a 2010 F-150 FX-4. I used High Mileage then text the guy I bought it from and used synthetic. Will it hurt to drive it this week and put synthetic in this weekend? Or should I do it immediately?

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