Your engine oil lubricates the moving parts of your vehicle’s engine, keeping everything moving smoothly.
BUT your engine oil has another function. In newer vehicles, specifically those with Variable Valve Timing (VVT) engines, the oil pressure literally regulates how the valves open and close in the heads, which is the portion of the engine that controls the air into the engine, and the exhaust out of the engine.
This is a very important function given the tight tolerances in today’s modern engines.
In this example, we have a vehicle that has been exposed to prolonged oil change intervals after a quick-lube shop had informed a customer that 10,000 mile intervals are okay when using synthetic oil.
We do not recommend this type of extended interval for most, if not all, gasoline engines. (Some diesel oil changes can safely go 10,000 between oil changes, but that will not be address in this article.)
Even when using synthetic oil and a premium oil filter, we do not recommend going more than 6,000 miles for most vehicles, even when using fully synthetic oil and a premium oil filter. There are several reasons behind this, which you can check out in our other blog posting at this link:
Some of the “quick points” are:
-Viscosity of the oil used, the newer oils (i.e. 0w20 and 5w20 are much thinner than older, conventional standards of 10w40)
-Capacity of the oil system, the smaller the oil capacity, the less oil there is to circulate throughout the engine and lubricate the moving components
-Quality of the oil filter, a standard paper filter only has a certain amount of filament (which is similar to cardboard) and can only hold so much dirt from the engine
-Driving Conditions, in Minnesota, this is an often overlooked variable. The extreme cold and heat that is hard on engines and their fluids, causing fluid integrity to degrade quicker than in other, more mild climates
In this example, the Variable Valve Timing Solenoids came out of a 2011 Chevy Malibu with a 2.4L engine that was repeatedly going over on their oil changes. Even though this customer has used fully synthetic oil at every oil change, they went to around 10,000 miles each time.
The black pieces are chunks of dirt and sludge that have built up from oil breaking down, and then silver metallic pieces are metal shavings from the inside of the engine.