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How Often Do You Change Oil in a Diesel Truck?

When you buy your first new diesel truck, you need to know how to keep it healthy. After all, you’d hate to see your biggest recent investment go down the drain simply because you didn’t know the basics of how to care for it.

So, how often do you take your diesel truck in for maintenance? And how often do you change oil in a diesel truck?  And when do you know that you’ve gone too long between oil changes? 

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about oil changes for your truck. 

How Often Do You Change Oil In a Diesel Truck? 

If you follow a recommended diesel maintenance schedule, you’ll change your oil every 5,000 to 7,000 miles. This number matters especially for diesel trucks that do a moderate amount of towing. 

If you don’t tow heavy loads regularly, you could go longer. If you tow heavy loads frequently, then you should take your vehicle in sooner than every 5,000 miles. 

Whatever the case may be, do not let more than six months pass before you change your oil. For the best answer to this question, consult your owner’s manual. There you will find a recommended oil change schedule. 

Also, talk to your mechanic about your particular truck. If you have an older truck, you may want to have your oil changed more frequently since the engine parts are older and need constant lubrication.  

Factors That Affect Oil Change Frequency

Gas-powered engines typically need an oil change every 3,000 miles or every three months. So why can a diesel engine go so much longer? Much of this has to do with the way you drive and where you drive. 

For example, if you drive in a colder climate with rougher terrain, you will need an oil change more frequently since cold weather is hard on diesel engines. If you haul heavy loads or tow a trailer regularly, you should lean more toward the 5,000-mile mark rather than the 7,000-mile mark. 

The type of oil you use will also determine your frequency. Conventional, full synthetic oil, and synthetic blends each have a different duration. Synthetic oil in general lasts longer than conventional oil. 

Your driving habits also impact your oil change frequency. If you drive on the highway at highway speeds, you won’t need to change your oil as often as someone who drives in town and takes shorter trips. 

This may seem counterintuitive. After all, if you’re driving long distances, isn’t that harder on your truck? 

When you drive at lower speeds, you also have lower temperatures in your engine. The oil isn’t as warm, and gunk accumulates in the oil. This contaminates the oil and makes it less effective. 

When you drive long distances at higher temperatures and higher speeds, your oil heats up and your engine runs more smoothly. The oil is less likely to take on the same gunk and contaminants. 

Diesel Engine Oil Process

A diesel engine oil change looks much like a standard oil change. The only difference lies in the type of oil the mechanic uses and the frequency at which you have your oil changed. 

First, the technician will remove the drain plug and drain the oil from your engine. They will then remove the old filter and replace it with a new one. Then they’ll replace the drain plug and fill your engine with fresh oil once again. 

The mechanic will most likely also perform basic courtesy maintenance tasks as well. They’ll make sure your tires have adequate air and top off your fluids. They may even wash your windshield and windows. 

A good mechanic will also give you any recommendations for things they see when they change your oil. For example, they may note that you’re due for a tire rotation. 

All total, a diesel oil change an cost a bit more than your standard oil change. The fuel and oil cost more than the traditional gas and oil. Expect to pay between $50 and $70. 

Risk of Changing Your Own Diesel Engine Oil

If you want to save a little money, you’ll be tempted to change your own oil. After all, if the process is simple as the process above, why not try it yourself? 

Remember that you’re not a diesel technician. If you attempt to change your own oil, you may end up causing bigger problems than just the need for an oil change. Here are a couple of basic reasons you should trust the technician with your oil change. 


Changing your own oil will take time. You will need the time to learn how to do the task first. You’ll need to research which materials you’ll need and the steps you’ll have to take. 

You’ll also need time and money to purchase the right materials and buy the right oil. If you buy the wrong oil, you’ll end up costing yourself even more time and money. 

You also need to factor in the time for clean up as well as the time to find a place where you can dispose of the oil oil and oil filter. 

Plan on repeating this process every time you need an oil change. Plus, not everyone has a climate-controlled garage. You may find yourself changing your own oil in the heat of the summer or the depth of the winter cold. 


Professional oil technicians typically do not make rookie mistakes. You will make rookie mistakes when you’re learning how to change your own oil. Your rookie mistakes can lead you to hauling you vehicle into a technician anyway and then paying more for the repairs that you need than you would’ve had to pay with an oil change. 

Plus, when you take your vehicle to a professional, you can have peace of mind knowing that someone with expertise fixed your problem. You can drive your vehicle down the road with confidence. 

Change the Oil, Save the Truck

So, how often do you change oil in a diesel truck? You change it as often as you need to. Consider how you use the truck, where you use it, and how often you use it. 

Then talk to a mechanic and see what they recommend for your particular situation. Remember, you cannot change the oil too often. You can, however, change it to little, and this will cause catastrophic damage. 

Do you need someone to help you with your next oil change? If so, contact us. Our expert technicians can take care of your diesel engine quickly and get you back on the road again. 

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