How Often Do You Need to Change Your Diesel Oil?

January 2, 2022

How Often Do You Need to Change Your Diesel Oil?

The right oil change interval for your diesel engine depends on a range of factors, starting with how you use your vehicle.

The average diesel pickup getting moderately heavy use may need an oil change about twice a year, or every 6,000 miles or so. Trucks that only get light use could be able to go for a year or up to 10,000 miles without an oil change. On the other end of the spectrum, diesel trucks that idle more often or are frequently used to tow heavy loads might require oil changes every three months, after as little as 3,000 miles.

In addition to those general guidelines, here are some other questions you should consider when deciding how often to change the oil in your diesel engine:

  • What are the manufacturer’s recommendations? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to how often a diesel vehicle needs an oil change, but the ranges provided by the manufacturer are a useful starting point.
  • What kind of oil are you using? Higher-quality motor oil will last longer and reduce how often you need to change the oil in your diesel truck. Synthetic and high-viscosity oils will also lower the frequency of required oil changes.
  • How bad is the usual traffic? If you spend more time in traffic, you’ll need more frequent oil changes because constant stopping and starting puts more stress on an engine.
  • What’s the weather like? Temperature extremes mean more frequent oil changes. Very cold temperatures reduce oil viscosity and keep it from flowing as freely through the engine. Extreme heat can cause oil to run, making it more watery and less effective as a lubricant.
  • Have you modified your diesel engine? If you’ve made modifications to increase horsepower or torque, you’re getting more out of your engine and asking it to work harder. Harder work means more frequent oil changes.
  • What’s the age of your vehicle? Older engines will eventually begin to work less efficiently and require more oil to function properly.


Should You Change Your Oil on Your Own?

Performing your own diesel oil change seems like an appealing option — you save a trip to the shop and don’t have to pay to have the work done for you. However, changing your own oil can be an expensive and time-consuming process, and you miss the chance to have a professional with training and expertise evaluate your engine and identify potential red flags.

Think about these factors if you’re interested in changing your own oil:

  • You’ll spend time and money making sure you have the right equipment. That includes a funnel and drain pan, the proper oil filter, wrenches to remove the filter and the drain plug, and more. If you need to raise the vehicle to change the oil, then you’ll need the right jack and safety equipment to do it correctly.
  • You’ll need a plan and the time to properly dispose of the used motor oil.
  • Forgetting to reinstall the engine oil fill cap, tightening the oil filter too much or not enough, and using the wrong quantity or viscosity of oil are all easy mistakes to make if you haven’t been trained to change oil and don’t do it frequently as part of your job. Minor errors like this can end up seriously damaging or even destroying your engine. 


What Can Our Oil Analysis Tell You About Your Diesel Vehicle?

Hot Shot’s Secret offers Preventative Maintenance Fluid Analysis that will give you the information you need to keep your engine running smoothly. It can also save you time and money by helping you choose the right diesel oil change interval and avoid unnecessary maintenance visits.

When you send a sample of your engine’s oil to us, we’ll test it and use the results to provide a window into your diesel engine’s current condition. We’ll then give you a report covering:

  • Oil health, including the Base Number that indicates how effectively your oil is neutralizing acids that degrade engine performance over time.
  • The condition of your transmission, hydraulics and gear box.

We also offer options that provide information about particle count so you can identify and deal with contaminants in your engine oil.

You can use this information to make decisions about when to change the oil in your diesel truck and how to handle other maintenance requirements.


Choose Hot Shot’s Secret Oil

Beyond our oil analysis capabilities, Hot Shot’s Secret offers other services and products that will help you keep your diesel vehicle running at its best for miles down the road. You can buy oil for diesel vehicles from our online store or identify the root of an engine issue with our free diagnostic tool.

We’re looking forward to making sure you get the most out of your vehicle — contact us with your questions today.