Many people have different theories as to when they should service their cars. Some swears by the owner’s manual, others follow their gut feel. The latter, which we strongly advise against.
First, let’s break down the science. A ‘regular service’ includes an engine oil change along with an inspection of all relevant components. There are many factors that affect the interval, or frequency, of your oil change process.
Traditionally, it is recommended to change your oil every 5,000 km when using mineral or semi-synthetic engine oils. Only fully synthetic engine oils were able to go up to 10,000 km mileage before an oil change is required.
However, this is no longer relevant and applicable today. With the advancement in research & development, many modern engine oils, be it semi-synthetic, fully synthetic or even mineral oils have been formulated to last up to 10,000 km.
The difference in the type of engine oils is no longer limited to the oil change intervals but rather their engine protection, heat management and lubrication qualities.
When purchasing an engine oil, remember to identify the mileage threshold of the engine oil and pick one that suits your needs.
What if your car is a garage queen and you barely drive 1,000 km in a year (like our colleague’s E30)? You should still perform an oil change within a certain time frame which can be found in your owner’s manual.
This can be either 6 months, more commonly seen on previous generation cars or 12 months which a majority of modern cars follow – even Proton and Perodua cars.
Whether is it 6 or 12 months, regardless of the type of engine oil used, you should never exceed the time frame suggested by the manufacturer.
The reason being the engine oils degrade overtime where the lubrication is not as effective, regardless of whether the car is parked or driven. These engines were not designed with the mechanical tolerance to perform optimally with the degraded engine oil hence requires a fresh fill of engine oil.
To answer the question as to when you should service your car: if you clock up a disproportionate amount of mileage in a short amount of time, follow the mileage limit of your engine oil of choice.
If you are like my colleague who barely drives his car, refer to the recommended service interval in your owner’s manual and service your car accordingly which is every 6 or 12 months.