High Mileage Oils – Are They Worth It And When Do You Need Them?

Spend some time browsing through your local auto part shop's oil section, and you'll notice plenty of different blends available. Often, a single oil manufacturer may offer numerous formulations for extended oil change intervals, high-mileage cars, or other unique situations. These specialty oils can seem confusing and complicate a standard oil change.

High mileage formulations might appear particularly attractive if you drive an older car. Should you switch to one of these (sometimes pricier) oils if your car has a few miles behind it? Will you see any real benefits in longevity or performance? Unfortunately, there's no simple answer, but this guide will help explain when these oils may benefit your car.

What Do High Mileage Oils Do?

Most synthetic oils on the market are more than just lubricants. Every manufacturer places additives into their oil products, providing them with characteristics that can help protect your engine or extend the time you can wait between oil changes. These additives can also affect the wear qualities and lifespan of the oil.

The details of high-mileage oils will vary between manufacturers, but they generally include additives beneficial to older engines. For example, these additives may help the oil better coat internal engine surfaces, reducing friction and wear. Many high-mileage oils may also contain additives to condition and lubricate seals, helping to mitigate oil leaks or even reduce oil losses due to worn piston rings.

Will High Mileage Oils Fix Your Engine's Problems?

Unfortunately, the answer is usually "no." Selecting the right oil for your car is critical to maintaining its performance, efficiency, and reliability, but liquid repairs rarely work. Switching to a high-mileage oil formulation is unlikely to make a noticeable difference if you're experiencing severe drivability issues with your vehicle or other problems.

On the other hand, you may be able to mitigate some minor issues by switching to a specialized formulation. For example, lifter tick is a common complaint on older engines, and switching oils can sometimes help mitigate this noise, especially if the problem is due to a build-up of gunk and not a mechanical failure.

Should You Switch to a High-Mileage Oil?

Ultimately, switching to a high-mileage formulation is entirely a personal decision. The most important things you can do for the longevity of your engine are to stick to your recommended oil change intervals and use oil approved by your car's manufacturer. Changing your oil slightly more often as your engine ages can also help.

However, high-mileage formulations (assuming you use an oil approved by your manufacturer for your car) won't hurt. If you want to give your engine more protection as it enters its golden years, changing to these specialized oils can be a cost-effective way to give your maintenance routine a small but meaningful boost.

To learn more about oil and auto oil changes, contact an auto service in your area.