How Often Should You Change the Oil on Your Diesel Truck?

Diesel truck maintenance comes with a checklist that includes items like inspecting gaskets and replacing cabin air filters, but one maintenance item comes with a lot of confusion about frequency and requirements. How often should you change the oil on your diesel truck?

The answer, of course, is that it depends.

While most consumer vehicles are recommended to have oil changes every 3,000 miles, the recommendations for a diesel truck are more nuanced. They are used for a wide variety of tasks, and how they are operated can significantly affect their need for routine maintenance. Here are a few basic guidelines:

  • A commercial vehicle used for light duty requires an oil change every 5,000 miles.
  • Heavy duty vehicles, such as semi-trucks, should have an oil change every 25,000. With proper care, this could be extended to 50,000 miles.
  • In most cases, fleets will opt to change the oil on their trucks every 16,000 miles to ensure consistent performance.

There are additional factors that influence when a diesel truck requires an oil change, such as the quality of oil used. Different operators will also have tendencies or habits that may affect oil integrity, such as keeping a consistent speed. Other circumstances may be out of the control of the operator, such as road quality and changes in climate over a long route.

The Dangers of Delaying an Oil Change: Diesel truck maintenance is easy to put off because when you’re in the cab you can’t see the oil or how it is helping or hurting your engine. Here’s a list of a few potential problems that can occur when you don’t change the oil at the right frequency:

  • Once seals begin to leak, they are expensive to replace. Keeping them soft with fresh oil is good preventative maintenance.
  • Old oil becomes filled with abrasive sediment that can wear down your engine parts and damage them.
  • Oil that comes in contact with hot bearing surfaces can sometimes crack, forming hard carbon deposits called coke, which leads to bearing damage.
  • Fresh oil plays a substantial role in cooling your engine and reducing friction. As oil ages and becomes thickened over time and riddled with sediment, its ability to cool and reduce friction is significantly reduced.

Diesel truck maintenance is much more than oil changes, but keeping your oil clean and free of sediment is certainly one of the biggest preventative steps you can take for long engine life and improved engine performance. Contact us at Gray Diesel & Equipment Services to schedule an oil change and other maintenance services.