Saving Money versus Changing Your Oil

Everyone wants to save money these days but not changing your oil as required in your Cummins diesel truck should not be one of them. Vehicle maintenance is one of the most important things that if kept up, can actually save money in the long run.

Most of the failures we see in our shop are due to neglect of maintenance and are totally preventable. An oil change is the most important component of service to keep your engine running properly, if neglected it can also be the most expensive break down that can occur. Whether you run conventional or synthetic, oil still wears out and must be changed at regular intervals. We see a general misconception that if you use synthetic oil you really don’t have to change it that often. We have heard that you can go anywhere from 12,000 to 40,000 kms on the same oil. This is usually coming from an oil salesman or a truck owner that has the connecting rod of the engine sticking out the side of the block.

Why Does Oil Lose its Effectiveness?

Extreme heat hastens chemical breakdown (oxidation), altering the oil’s chemistry and preventing it from lubricating, cooling and protecting as designed. Sludge can form, which clogs narrow oil passages and prevents oil from reaching vital components, causing wear. Oxidation can also lead to increased oil viscosity, which negatively affects energy efficiency. Ultimately, the oil loses its effectiveness and must be changed.
Contaminant build-up also affects oil life. Motor oil is formulated with detergent and dispersant additives responsible for holding dirt, soot and other contaminants in suspension and preventing them from depositing on engine surfaces or forming sludge. These additives are sacrificial in nature, meaning once they’re depleted, the oil’s effectiveness suffers and it must be changed.

Engine oil monitoring systems

Newer Ram trucks with an oil monitoring system use an algorithm to determine oil life based on rpm, duty cycle, kilometers, idle time and regens.

They do not monitor oil condition, filter condition, contaminant levels or viscosity loss so unless you are doing oil analysis you really don’t know where your oil life is. Our recommendation is to change your engine oil often regardless of what oil you are using.