In a previous paper (SAE 951035) Daimler-Benz and Shell advocated that fixed oil drain intervals should not exceed 15,000 km or annually. This paper describes further experience, with data from various field trials and engines, allowing engine condition to be considered in relation to lubricant ageing and condition. Based on this Mercedes-Benz have introduced ASSYST, a new passenger car maintenance system which processes customer-specific operating data and calculates oil change intervals. Unnecessary oil changes are avoided, conserving resources, and changes are not overlooked assuring durability. Intervals between 15,000 and 30,000 km are enabled, corresponding to between 1 and 2 years, representing a time extension of about 50%. Premium quality oil permits a longer interval, thus the customer sees an immediate benefit. This study shows that lubricant continues as an important engine design element and illustrates the environmental commitment shared by both companies.
: Over the last 40 years it has been possible to lengthen recommended passenger car engine oil drain intervals by up to five times, despite the substantial increases in oil stress through continously rising demands on performance and environmental acceptability. Behind this considerable progress lie improvements in engine design and production technology and the development of suitable advanced engine oil formulations. With increasing oil drain intervals comes a growing uncertainty as to exactly when the oil change should best be made: a fixed mileage applicable to all vehicles is preferred for its practicality but the optimum depends on the driving history of individual vehicles. In Europe a 15000 km oil drain interval is now normal. A further extension based on a fixed interval would give an advantage to a minority of customers but could seriously compromise the durability of engines in the overall vehicle population.