High Mileage Oil


What is High Mileage Oil?

When we think about metal surfaces, we imagine them as smooth like glass, but under a microscope, they look more like the Grand Canyon: ragged and full of peaks and valleys.

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Metal surfaces under a microscope – full of peaks and valleys (Grooves).

As engines age, those peaks and valleys or cracks can break off or become even deeper. Without something to protect the metal surface, engine parts can start wear, causing reduced mileage, lower horsepower, and shorter engine life. Most engine oils claim they protect against wear, but the protective film can be thin and uneven in some cases, providing inadequate protection inside those crevices. So, different technologies are formulated with a thick anti-wear film to evenly coat engine surfaces to avoid critical damage by preventing those metal components from ever touching. This is why high mileage engine oils are necessary for vehicles greater than 75,000 miles with an extended drain option.

Who needs an upgrade in protection for their engine?

If the vehicles with greater than 70,000 to 100,000 miles are experiencing:

  • Consumption of oil caused by blow-by
  • Corrosion and oxidation
  • Build-up of deposits
  • The engine is running faster and hotter
  • Significant wear
  • Leaks
  • Power reductions
  • The failure of older parts is due to other issues.

So, if your car is experiencing above mentioned problems and has already crossed 70,000 to 100,000 miles, then you should pay extra attention and start using proper high mileage engine oil; then you’ll have a greater chance of enjoying worry-free kilometers on the roads.



There are not any definitive guidelines for what can be considered to be high mileage. It is generally accepted that highways are less taxing to the engine than city mileage, and studies already proved this. The highway miles are likely to have fewer stops and starts. The engine also can attain a steady temperature and run at its maximum efficiency over a long time.

City driving is exactly the opposite. It is dependent on how the vehicle was maintained and driven. Therefore, an engine with city traffic may show more wear than an engine with highway miles.


But whatever is the situation, anything greater than 70,000 to 100,000 miles can be considered an automobile with high mileage for the typical driver.

When is the best time to start using high Mileage Oil and its advantages?

When to switch to high mileage oil is your decision to make. Most high mileage oils are made for vehicles that ran seventy-five thousand miles and more. After moving more than 70,000 to 100,000 miles, the various seals and gaskets made from rubber can shrink and harden. This can cause oil leakages which force you to top up your engine oil and wash your driveway.

High mileage oils are enriched with seal enhancers and sealants that stop leakages (both external and internal). This could lessen the appearance of oil spots on your driveway and reduce oil burning in older engines.

High mileage oils are made up of seal conditioners and additives that cause gaskets, o rings and seals to expand. Many high mileage engine oils contain detergents and claim that they’re made to get rid of sludge in engines. The older valve-guide seals used in engines might have reduced leakage in certain cases. So, ultimately consumption of oil will be reduced.

A typical Engine Sealing system.

Utilizing cheap oil throughout the time of the vehicle can lead to the accumulation of gunk within the engine’s nooks and crannies. The oil deposits inside the engine could create more deposits and can work as a catalyst and chemically convert the oil into sludge. After this metal surfaces protected by engine oil can be worn away due to friction. So, to avoid issues related to high friction, you must be aware of the right choice of engine oil. If you are experiencing issues with the loss of power, blowby or slap on the cylinder, odd sounds or other noises, you are likely experiencing mechanical problems that need to be fixed. These problems cannot be resolved by using high mileage oils.

High Mileage Oil in comparison to Synthetic Oil:

Oils with high mileage are generally synthetic oils. They typically are built on full-synthetic oil or a mix of conventional and synthetic oils. Synthetic oil provides greater protection when temperatures are extremely high, and its ability to move smoothly even during colder weather makes engine start-ups easier in cold temperatures. (Synthetic oil is also advised for fast sports cars and vehicles for towing and hauling heavy-duty.) Whether it is full or partly synthetic high mileage oil, it is more costly than regular quality oil.

High mileage blend oil, just like the standard type, is available in different weights classified according to their viscosity. This is a measurement of the thickness of the oil and its resistance to flow. It’s described as a sequence of numbers, for example, 10W-30. The lower the initial number, the more resistant the lubricant is to thickening at low temperatures (the “W” signifies winter). A higher number in the second digit means it is more protected against thinning when it gets hot.

Differences between Different High Mileage Oil available in the market:

Different types of high mileage oils are available, claiming one better than another. But there is no way to get the exact formulations of the oils. So, examining the oil manufacturers’ safety data sheets can be helpful. If we compare the different high mileage oils available in the market with their safety data sheet for 10W-30 oil, then we get that brands are making high mileage oils by mixing different groups of oils.

If we take example of 10W-30 oil, we can find that 10W-30 oil can be made by blending all groups of oils or blending two or more oil groups. To know more in detail, we should know the different oil groups available in the lubrication industry.

This article will provide more information about the various base oil categories that have been established in the American Petroleum Institute (API).

Group I

Base stocks from Group I have less than 90% saturates and/or higher than 0.03 percent sulfur. According to the testing methods described in the following table, they possess a Viscosity index greater by or greater than 80 and less than 120.

Group II

The Group II base stocks have more than or equivalent to 90% saturates and less or equivalent to 0.03 per cent sulfur. They are viscosity-indexed higher than or equal to 80 and less than 120 based on the methods of testing specified by the tables below.

Group III

Base stocks from Group III have more than or equal to 90% saturated and less than equivalent up to 0.03% sulfur. They have a viscosity ratio higher than or similar to 120 based on the methods of testing specified in the following table.

Group IV

Base stocks of Group IV include polyalphaolefins (PAOs). They can be exchanged without further qualification tests as long as the exchange PAO complies with the manufacturer’s initial PAO specification for chemical and physical properties.

The following properties are essential in the substituted stock Kinematic viscosity at 100°C, 40°C, and -40°C, Viscosity index, NOACK volatility and Pour point.

Group V

Base stocks of Group V comprise all the base stocks that are not part of Group I II, III, and IV.

Analytical Methods for Base Stock

Property Test Method
Saturates ASTM D2007
Viscosity Index ASTM D2270
(use one listed method)
ASTM D1552
ASTM D2622
ASTM D3120
ASTM D4294

Is High Mileage Oils valued for money?

While high mileage oil costs are much higher than regular oil, the advantages surpass the price, especially for older vehicles. Your engine may sound quieter. The dripping leak causing havoc on your driveway may be gone. Most importantly, your car will receive the attention it requires to stay on the road, bring your kids back to class and get them to work at the right time.

If your car isn’t showing indications of wear on the engine, you decide whether or not you’d like to consider a high-mileage oil change. It is not harmful and can help reduce engine problems; however, it is not the best choice for every car. If you’re unsure, consult the guidelines of your car’s manufacturer.

Frequently asked questions about High Mileage Oil:

Can High Mileage Oil mix with Regular Oil?

Contrary to what some drivers think that if you need to, it is possible to mix high mileage engine oil and the traditional or synthetic type (or in reverse) inside your vehicle’s crankcase, you’ll be losing some of the advantages of high mileage oil when you do this. It is also possible to change between the two types when you need to change your oil in the future without worrying about damage to the engine.

How often do you change the oil in your vehicle with high mileage?

Like any other engine oil, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s oil change frequency recommendations as laid out within the owner’s manual. There are typically intervals set for both normal and “severe” usage. “Severe usage” could include frequent, short trips, hauling or towing stops-and-go-drivers, and operating in extremely dusty or dirty conditions. Severe use requires faster change intervals (say 3,500 vs 7,500 miles).

If I make the switch to high mileage oil, do I need to continue using it throughout the time that the engine is in use?

It is compatible with all accepted APIs and ILSAC oil. Therefore it is not a problem to switch.

Are High Mileage oils able to work right away?

High Mileage oil uses an original additive system to protect your engine from wear deposits, sludge, and leaks. The innovative formula will begin taking effect immediately, securing your engine today and in the years to come. The enhanced detergent system will also start fighting deposits and sludge. These are two of the main causes of premature engine failure. Over time the seal conditioners’ high mileage oil offers, will improve the seals on engines and stop leaks from oil in the future.


The article is written by Riya Veluri, an editorial team member of Industrial Lubricants. After her graduation, Riya works as a website developer & SEO specialist in Lubrication & Tribology Industry & writes technical articles on Lubricants, Lubrication, Reliability & sustainability.

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