Five to six decades ago, truck oil change was performed at a frequency of every 500 miles. Times have changed, with improved filter technology, high quality lubricants, dependable engines, and cleaner fuels, the oil drain interval has increased to substantial 50,000 miles in many vehicles.

Average oil drain interval remains around 25,000 miles. Adjusting these standards as per diverse environment and other aspects experienced by these vehicles need a little research. For example, two similar vehicles can experience different oil life. Truck A can reach closer to 50,000 miles but truck B may starve for fresh lubricant prematurely by 15,000 miles. Such variance in the life of engine oil can be due to several factors.

Key areas causing variance in engine oil life cycle

  • Engine age, design characteristics, and many operating conditions [exposure to contaminants] can impact the oil life cycle.
  • Driving patterns like how and where the vehicle is driven as well as conditions matter.
  • Oil properties include the formulation and quality of the engine lubricant product.

Oil is an engine’s lifeblood, which helps to operate the vehicle properly and efficiently. Movable engine parts get lubricated and the build-up heat gets absorbed.

Overtime the oil’s effectiveness breaks down and offers less protection making engine vulnerable. In general, every car manufacturer recommends to change engine oil somewhere between 25,000 – 50,000 miles. The operating manual also says, ‘There are many aspects, which impact the time to change oil, which can be later or sooner’.

How can fleet and sole operators estimate oil drain intervals?

Through normal truck operation you cannot recognize the degradation oil quality, so it creates a confusion among heavy vehicle owners on how to determine the right time for engine oil replacement.

Fleet owners can make use of their huge data from commonly employed routes to develop route-based and truck-based analysis. This can be very reliable to estimate optimal oil change interval.

Sole truck owners can make reasonable estimation through their understanding of truck’s operating history and tendencies. The operator’s capability to monitor driving style, driving environment, engine efficiency, chosen lubricant oil and filter, etc. also helps to identify optimal oil change interval.

Tips regarding factors affecting oil change intervals


Oil filters hold the dirt and other particles back disallowing them to circulate with the engine oil. Solid contaminants can shorten the oil’s life cycle.

  • Sludge gets formed due to blend of solid pollutants and moisture, which increases engine wear and shortening oil life.
  • Ingression due to water and coolant promotes additive depletion, corrosion, and oil oxidation
  • Fuel gets diluted the oil film thins, which promotes loss of viscosity and oil oxidation.

Therefore, make sure to have premium quality filter, which offers good capacity to trap all the contaminant much better. As the filter ages, it turns less efficient because lots of contaminants got accumulated on its surface. Therefore, experts recommend to change filter during every oil drain.

Engine oil capacity

Engines holding sump size oil can operate for long period because large volume means less build-up of grime and dirt.

Engine age

Obviously, old engine can deposit contaminants in the oil sooner, so it is recommended to increase frequency as engine ages.

Weather impacts

Extreme temperatures can affect oil life cycle. For example, hot temperature decreases oil viscosity, which may cause oil oxidation, so oil change more often is needed.

Driving conditions like high humidity and dusty roads can impact oil change intervals. Therefore, changing oil on the basis of driving condition is a smart approach.