Which Season is Harder on Oil : Winter vs. Summer ?

Joined
May 3, 2015
Messages
211
Location
MD
I just think winter is hard in a car. Period. The whole car. Start your car up in ten degrees bellow zero temperatures and drive to work. You’re going to experience some stuff, some weird stuff (sometimes). I’ve had my blower motor start squeaking. I’ve had my dash board start blinking (alternator maybe??). Windshield wipers frozen to the windshield. The suspension, I swear, feels like a bag of rocks until it too warms up a bit.

And winter is hard on oil. It doesn’t reach operating temps quick enough (or at all). There’s too many temperature fluctuations...too many cool downs, too many cold starts, too many trips where it never even reaches a point where you’ll burn off condensation. You’re getting maybe some more fuel dilution. Never mind the road SALT. All over that car...bypassing your air filter. I hate winters.
I think extreme cold is worse for most materials and chemicals that cars are made with and use. I had a car sitting for about a week and a half in a hard freeze (high temps of low teens and overnight lows around -5F) and man did those tires have a flat spot for about 10 miles until they warmed up enough. I've had brakes not work right for a few applications after sitting in freezing rain too.
 
Joined
Feb 6, 2021
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878
Location
Massachusetts
Everything is hard on oil the way I drive. In the winter it gets fuel dilution, in the summer it gets cooked by heat from a heavy foot in stop and go traffic.
 
Joined
May 30, 2010
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14,833
Location
North Carolina
There's no substitute if you let you idle your car (warm up) for a minute or two before driving off.
Mpfi, no problem. But some DI engines will have a ton of fuel dilution ( especially in cold weather and short trips) doing that. I would not with a DI unless it's 20 below and you need heat to tolerate driving.
 
Joined
Nov 18, 2020
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274
Location
The Netherlands
Winter for sure, i can repeat all the reasons but i see they are all already mentioned by others.

On modern cars summer time is not a problem whatsoever. The cooling systems and oils coolers/heat exchangers are all over engineered so the oil never sees any extreme temps.
 
Joined
Apr 28, 2020
Messages
520
Location
North Dakota
Mpfi, no problem. But some DI engines will have a ton of fuel dilution ( especially in cold weather and short trips) doing that. I would not with a DI unless it's 20 below and you need heat to tolerate driving.
Some is key...my MDX does almost nothing but short trips and warm up idles all winter and doesn't seem to have a concerning level of dilution (J35). I can smell a little gas pulling the dipstick but oil level doesn't noticably change.
 
Joined
May 30, 2010
Messages
14,833
Location
North Carolina
Some is key...my MDX does almost nothing but short trips and warm up idles all winter and doesn't seem to have a concerning level of dilution (J35). I can smell a little gas pulling the dipstick but oil level doesn't noticably change.
Yes not all. My mazda will show higher and higher on the dipstick with winter short trips.
 
Joined
Jul 7, 2014
Messages
2,828
Location
Winnipeg MB CA
There was a thread here a few months ago which proposed that oil life was inversely proportional to the amount of fuel consumed. It made a lot of sense to me.

The formula for oil life was:

Oil capacity x 200 = maximum volume of fuel burned before oil is changed.

E.g. 5 l sump x 200 = 1000 l
Oil should be changed after engine has used 1000 l of fuel.

At 20 l/100 km, the engine will use 1000 l of fuel in 5000 km.

At 10 l/100 km, the engine will use 1000 l of fuel in 10,000 km.

Given that engines use significantly more fuel in the winter, I would say winter is way harder on the oil.
 
Joined
Apr 12, 2013
Messages
80
Location
44'N/88.5'W
I vote for winter as well. Living here in NE Wisconsin where we have a legit winter with frequent negative temps, I believe it's a much more harsh environment for everything mechanical...and living for that matter.
 
Joined
Mar 9, 2013
Messages
17
Location
Iowa
I'd say winter just because it can take a long time for temps to rise high enough on short trips. I e taught all 3 of my kids to take the long way home on cold days just to get some added heat I to the fluids rather than just letting the thing idle for 20 minutes before driving.
 
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