What Happens If You Don’t Change Your Oil?

Just like our own health, our cars need routine check-ups and maintenance to stay healthy and function properly. And to do this, your vehicle needs its lifeblood, the oil.

The engine oil is the most important fluid in your car as it helps to lubricate all the moving parts of your engine. It also plays an important role in dissipating heat. Yet, a lot of people seem to forget the importance of it. So what happens if you don’t change your oil?

That’s is exactly what we are going to answer in this article. So make sure to keep reading!

What Happens If You Don’t Change Your Oil?

If you don’t change your oil, it will start to degrade. This means the oil will lose its ability to lubricate and protect all the moving parts in your car’s engine. Not only may it void your warranty, but also cause excessive wear, decreased performance, and in the worst case, complete engine failure.

So let’s take a closer look at a few consequences of neglecting to change your oil.

1. Voided Vehicle Warranty

A new vehicle warranty is usually something that provides peace of mind for car owners that decide to pay expensive bucks for a new car. If something happens to the car, you at least know the warranty will cover the repair. But is that always the case?

It turns out, no, it’s not always the case. In fact, poor personal care of your vehicle is often considered a violation against the warranty, which includes not changing your oil.

This is something you should be able to read in your car’s owner’s manual. It often states that under no circumstances should the oil change intervals exceed a certain number of miles or a certain period of time.

So if you know that you’ve put off that oil change for too long, you may need to foot the bill yourself for any damages resulting from failure to follow routine vehicle maintenance.

2. Excessive Engine Wear

One of the most serious consequences, and the start of bigger problems, is excessive engine wear. As motor oil ages, it starts to degrade. This means that the oil lubricating properties that help protect the engine’s moving parts becomes less effective. Resulting in increased friction and heat.

Not only do you risk overheating the engine, but gaskets and seals also wear out faster.

Over time, this can cause extensive damage to the engine, and you may not even notice the damage it caused until it’s too late to repair.

This is something that car manufacturers are well aware of, and as you probably can figure out by now, this is the reason we have routine oil change intervals.

3. Decreased Engine Performance

So far, you’ve learned that the oil helps to lubricate the engine and dissipate heat – but it also helps to keep the engine clean. As oil circulates through the engine, it picks up dirt and debris. These contaminants are then caught by the oil filter, which prevents them from circulating back through the engine.

But eventually the oil filter will become clogged. When this happens, the dirt and debris will instead bypass through a relief valve that circles the dirty oil back through the engine.

Over time, the build-up of dirt can cause your engine oil to become sludge-like. This will force your engine to work harder and harder, and you’ll notice your car not responding to the gas pedal as it used to.

4. Increased Fuel Consumption

As a result of the excessive engine wear and decreased engine performance we talked about, you’ll need to compensate for the loss of power. This means you may notice your car guzzling more gas as it gets worse and the engine takes more beating. So if you had to stop for gas more often lately, this might very well be the answer.

So changing your oil regularly is probably more important than you expected, and don’t forget that you need to change the oil filter too.

5. Complete Engine failure

Neglecting to change your oil in time may not seem like a big deal, and it might be many reasons why people find excuses to do so. But while you might be able to drive with the mentioned conditions above for a while, what happens if you don’t change your oil could eventually cost you your car.

When your oil can no longer draw heat from your engine or properly lubricate the moving metal parts, chances are your engine will quickly overheat and either blow a gasket or even seize up.

Both are costly repairs and often not even worth the cost, depending on your car’s age and value. And on top of this, as mentioned earlier, don’t expect to get anything from the warranty if it turns out you failed to follow routine vehicle maintenance.

How Long Can You Go Without an Oil Change?

It’s hard to say how long you can go without an oil change before your car breaks down. However, you should be aware that excessive wear may accelerate if you drive longer than recommended without changing your oil.

I’ve seen cars go for years and years without an oil change, but in the end, it’s also these cars that break down with engine-related failure just because of that.

So we can’t recommend enough that you change the oil and filter according to the routine intervals which you should find in your car owner’s manual.

Why You Should Change the Engine Oil at Recommended Intervals

First of all, if you change your oil at recommended intervals, you don’t have to worry about all these problems above. Of course, anything can happen to your car, but you’ll know it’s not because you decided to put off the oil change.

Also, an oil change doesn’t take more than 30 minutes to complete, and you can expect to pay around $60 to $125 for it, including the oil filter. So it is safe to say that it’s not very costly considering what could happen if you don’t do it.

However, if you are thinking about changing the oil on your own, remember to first ensure that you don’t breach the warranty by doing so. Otherwise, it’s a good way to keep the costs down even further.

Final Thoughts

Now when you know a little more about what happens if you don’t change your oil, it’s up to you to take action.

Taking good care of your engine oil will help to prolong the life of your engine and keep your car running smoothly. And if you consider the time and cost of changing the oil, it shouldn’t be an excuse to put it off.

Read More: Does Motor Oil Expire?

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Rickard Cefalk

Rickard is the owner of Caraspect.com and a dedicated and avid do-it-yourselfer who has always enjoyed working on his own vehicles since childhood. He now devotes his time to sharing his expert knowledge of car maintenance and other car-related information through his website.

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