If you drive a car with over 75,000 miles on the odometer, you’ve likely experienced the
following question at your most recent oil change: “Would you like to switch to high mileage
oil?” For some, a little extra security at a few dollars per quart is a pretty good deal. For others, it
seems like just another way to try to get some extra cash at each oil change.
What Is High Mileage Oil?
Oil is added to your car for one purpose – to lubricate the engine. Conventional oil is made from
the crude oil that naturally occurs in the earth, and has certain additives to adjust the heat
tolerance and viscosity (thickness) so that it runs at the perfect temperature to lubricate your
car’s engine. Synthetic oils are created in a factory to have most of the same properties as
conventional oils along with higher heat tolerance and engine cleansing benefits.
High mileage oil is usually a blend of conventional and synthetic oils with an extra additive
designed to prevent leaky seals. As your car’s engine ages, the seals and gaskets wear down and
become brittle, which can lead to leaks and excess use of oil. The additives in high mileage oil
include seal conditioners, which increase the flexibility and the durability of the seals and
prevent oil loss.
Is High Mileage Oil Worth the Cost?
Experts have concluded that high mileage oil is effective at keeping engine seals in better
condition, thereby preventing oil loss. Is this something that could benefit your vehicle? Perhaps.
Although manufacturers recommend switching at 75,000 miles or 100,000 miles, a high mileage
oil is not necessarily mandatory at those markers. If you’re unsure about your oil consumption
but have an older vehicle, high mileage oil can’t hurt – in fact, it may even prevent leaks from
occurring down the road.
Overall, the extra cost of high mileage oil – especially when compared to full synthetic – is fairly
minimal. For most vehicles over 75,000 miles, the leakage prevention alone is worth the minimal
cost. However, be sure to check your manual and speak with an oil and lubrication expert to
determine the best oil for your car.