Reader Question: Off-Road Diesel?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Andrew asks: Will using off road diesel cause damage to the engine in my 2015 VW Passat TDI? How often do you recommend oil change if using quality synthetic oil?

My reply: Your main challenge will be finding a place that will not turn off the pump if they see you filling an on-road vehicle with off-road diesel. Any station that gets caught can expect to get Hut! Hut! Hutted! by the EPA’s AGWs. And also for tax-thievery reasons.

The off-road diesel probably won’t hurt the engine and may even be good for it – because of the higher sulfur content. But it won’t be good for the car’s particulate trap, if it has one – and using off-road diesel will certainly void your powertrain (and emissions) warranty.

On oil change intervals: This varies from car to car and driver to driver. It depends on how much and how hard you drive the car – as well as where and when (e.g.., dusty conditions, high heat or cold, etc.) Amsoil – which I use myself – says you can go as far as 10,000 miles and a year or more in between; I split the difference and change mine out every six months or 5,000 miles – on the theory that oil/filter changes (about $60) are a lot less expensive than rebuilding engines. But it’s not just that.  An engine operating at peak efficiency will run better; it will start easier, run more smoothly – and just feel better. It will also give the best mileage it’s capable of, which – over time – can amount to savings great enough to make up for some of the money spent on oil and filter changes.

PS: Don’t forget to change other vital fluids on schedule, too! Especially axle/transaxle fluid/lube and transmission fluid/lube.

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Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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