Briggs & Stratton has come out with a cool new lawn mower that never needs oil changes! According to their website, the secret is a better air filter and a cooler-running engine, which extends oil life. The owner just needs to check and top off the oil occassionally.
The other feature of this system which isn’t mentioned in the PR, I’m sure, is that lawnmower engines tend to burn a fair amount of oil. Thus they will frequently need topping off, which replenishes the oil’s additive package. The company would rather not focus on oil burning as a feature, but I would bet it is crucial.
As electric vehicles become much cheaper, conventional gas engines will need to exploit all kinds of technology to stay competitive. And let’s face it, oil changes are one of the worst aspects of a gas burner. So, my humble prediction is that automakers will advertise longer and longer oil change intervals. We may even see some creative systems where oil is no longer drained, ever, but partially siphoned out and topped off to replenish additives.
There is precedence for this “replenishment” technique already. A couple links from people who NEVER changed their oil follow– they just topped off as old oil was slowly burned off. If you’re “lucky” enough to have a car which burns oil (mine doesn’t), you could probably pull this off. My father’s 1996 diesel F-250 went about 50,000 without an oil change and was still ticking fine at 180,000 miles.
There are at least two synthetic oils on the market (Amsoil Signature and Mobil1 Extended Performance) which guarantee suitability for 15,000 mile oil changes. So, it isn’t a huge mental leap to imagine an oil-change-free future. I would never change mine at less than 5,000 miles. If you do, you’re wasting cash.