How Long Can You Go Without an Oil Change After the Light Comes On?

You need to know so many things about the oil change light that sometimes, we get overwhelmed with information we don’t even know where to start. Oil change lights are significant indicators that your vehicle needs an oil change sooner or later.

There are many things to know. However, we’re going to tell you the basics and the most essential information you’ll need as a car owner/enthusiast.

Some people don’t even know the importance of engine oil or what they do in vehicles. If you’re one of them, then no need to worry because we’re here to inform and help you with the basics of engine oils.

In this article, we’re going to learn when to get an oil change, signs that an oil change is needed, what the oil change light means, how long you can go without changing your oil, what happens if you decide not to change oil, and many more.

When to Get an Oil Change?

When to Get an Oil Change

For an informed answer to this question, the best way to find out when you should get an oil change is by checking your car’s manual. However, if you don’t have access to the car’s manual (like most second-hand car owners), you can try looking it up online from reliable sources.

This doesn’t mean that there are general indications of when you should get an oil change. An average car typically needs to change oil every 5,000 to 7,000 miles.

Usually, the car’s condition can say a lot about when you should change your engine oil. Here are other reasons that indicate when to get an oil change:

The Desired Time to Get an Oil Change

Regular Cars EVERY MONTH – You should perform an oil change every month as a regular check-up on your vehicle and its health.
Old Cars (With Low Maintenance) EVERY TWO WEEKS – Usually, old cars have worse gas consumption than average cars. They also tend to consume more gas than usual. That’s why you need to pay extra attention to the lubrication in your car.
Before a High-Mileage Drive IMMEDIATELY – When going far distances or on road trips, you must immediately change your engine oil to avoid overheating engines and inefficient gas consumption.

Bearing that in mind, you mustn’t run your car when there’s not enough oil in the oil pan.

It’s not only damaging your engine, but it’s going to be extremely dangerous on your part as well. If possible, look for the closest car shop to immediately change your engine oil that your maintenance services get attended to.

Common Signs That an Oil Change Is Needed

Have you ever wondered the early signs when an oil change is needed? You know, before the “oil change” blink. Understanding the early signs of having an oil change is essential to prevent yourself from spending more on fuel driving your car with the “oil change” lights on.

The main reason why an oil sensor is built is to notify the driver that an oil change is needed immediately. This may even require you to kill the engine and pull over and refill the oil pan yourself.

Here are some of the common signs that an oil change is needed:

The Engine is Too Noisy

The Engine is Too Noisy

Changing your oil can be one of the solutions to having a noisy engine whenever it stays idle or whenever you step on the accelerator. Perhaps you should check the engine oil level from time to time to regularly check the integrity of the oil dipstick.

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Faster Fuel Consumption

Faster Fuel Consumption

If you notice that you run out of fuel quickly, then maybe there’s not enough oil in the oil pan. Generally, because of the high temperatures, the engine oil will burn out over long periods.

If there’s not enough oil lubricating the engine, the motor will burn more fuel/gas since there’s not much oil left. This is bad because you will spend more on fuel than saving your money for other purposes.

Excess Vehicle Exhaust

Excess Vehicle Exhaust

Newer cars do not usually emit visible exhaust, so if you discover what seems to be smoke trailing behind your vehicle, this might indicate a massive issue. Excess exhaust is generally a sign that the lubricating oil is just too old to function effectively.

The three commons signs mentioned above will help you decide whether you need an oil change or not. We need our cars to be in good condition to guarantee our (the owner of the vehicle and the people that will ride it) safety whenever we use them.

Once you know the signs that an oil change is needed, you will be less exposed to the oil change light turning on on different occasions. If you determine these signs beforehand, you’ll save yourself a lot of time, money, and effort.

What Are The Reasons of the “Oil Change” Light Turn On?

What Are The Reasons of the “Oil Change” Light Turn On?

By the name “oil change” light itself, it basically means that you need to change oil sooner or later. The general reason why the light would turn on is that there are low levels of engine oil in your vehicle.

So, let’s talk about why the “oil change” light turns on. The main reason is low engine oil levels. It’s the most common sign of them all. Maybe it’s been a long time already since the last time you changed the oil.

A broken oil sensor is a rare instance, but it is entirely possible. Maybe your oil sensor is either defective or utterly damaged that it cannot detect if you have the right amounts of engine oil or if it’s turning on because it has malfunctioned.

How Long Can You Go Without An Oil Change After The Light Comes On

How Long Can You Go Without an Oil Change

Everybody wants to know how long they can go before they get an oil change to extend their money for a little bit. However, doing that might end up costing you more in the future.

How long can you go when the oil change lights turn on? The answer is simple, it depends. Too many factors affect the distance, time, and cost of running your car without changing the oil or having it checked up by your local car shops.

For example, you have to make sure that the oil change light is not broken. This is important because what if you recently just changed the oil and the lights turn up? Is there a leak? Is the oil sensor broken? Did I not put enough oil?

Keeping that in mind, whether or not you changed oil recently, you must kill the engine and pull over just to make sure you know what you’re dealing with to avoid damages to your car, hence, save a lot of money in repairs.

Regular Car Maintenance

If you usually have a regular car maintenance schedule for your vehicle, then the lights suddenly turn on. Multiple factors affect how long you can go. Depending on the car model and brand, the oil pan/storage will vary in each vehicle.

Technically, there’s no specific time to find out how long you can go. However, there’s an estimated time on how far you can go.

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After the lights turn on, you have at least 100 miles of safe travel. Since you have car maintenance, there won’t be any significant damages to the engine.

In terms of how long you have, until it severely damages your engine, it’ll be around an hour and a half, averaging at speeds that are 70-80 kph.

Having Low Oil in The Vehicle

Compared to having regular car check-ups and regular maintenance, you have a lesser distance to travel. Around an estimated 50 miles is the best space without hurting your engine too much.

Low engine oil means the engine is subjected to more friction. The more friction, the more it damages the engine and the components around it.

That’s why you only have 50 miles to change oil for an average car. That should be around 1 hour of travel, considering you’re going at speeds of 80 kph.

Leaks in the Oil Pan

Having leaks in the oil pan is one of the most unusual things that could happen. Nevertheless, it is a possibility and has happened to some drivers and car owners.

Having leaks in the oil pan is the worst possibility of the three. First of all, you don’t know if the oil’s dirty. Second, you don’t know if there’s enough oil and lubrication in your system. Third, what if the oil has run out and your engine starts increasing fuel consumption?

The earlier you can detect the leak, the better. However, you probably only have around 30 miles of travel and 30 mins of traveling time considering the situation that there’s a leak in the oil pan, and it needs to be fixed ASAP.

Just because having leaks in the oil pan has the slightest possibility of happening, caused by impact damages & worn-out oil pan gasket, it shouldn’t be taken for granted. If you see a suspicious oily puddle underneath your car, go to the car shop immediately and have it checked.

What Happens if You Don’t Change Oil for a Long Time?

What Happens if You Don’t Change Oil for a Long Time

Now that you know how long and how far you can go if the “oil change” light turns on, you need to know what happens if you don’t change oil for a long time.

We have given you some recommended times and frequencies of how long you need to get an oil change. Here are some things to note if you don’t get an oil change for a long time.

Here’s a list of what can happen if you decide not to change oil for a long time:

  • Overheated Engine & Parts Caused by Excess Friction

Since the engine oil provides lubrication, if it’s not present, it will produce excess friction where the parts will directly rub against each other, which can cause the engine to overheat.

The coolant system is not enough to make sure that the engine is not overheating because the coolant system cannot reach the same parts an engine oil does. As the oil ages, it breaks down and becomes thicker because of exposure to high temperatures.

  • Dirt Build-up

Besides lubricating the engine and reducing friction between parts, engine oil also does a great job by removing small particles and debris. Too much dirt will only make the engine work harder, resulting in a loss of power.

Dirt, dust, and other sediments can reach the engine and its components. That’s why the engine oil can help by carrying the dirt with them while they’re lubricating other parts as well.

  • Increased Wear of the Components

Relative to causing excess friction between the engine and its components, it will also damage the other parts. The longer you don’t change your oil, the more you risk damaging the engine.

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Does an Oil Change Take Too Much Time?

An oil change doesn’t take too long time. According to Toyota, an oil change takes about 30-45 minutes. Depending on the car oil as well, it may be a little bit costly if you’re going to buy a high-tier oil that’s branded, but it’s for your car’s maintenance services. You shouldn’t be cheap.

Changing oil by yourself is fun and can save you a lot of money instead of going to car shops paying someone else to do it. You can discover your car even more when you do these things on your own. Here’s How to Change Your Oil (COMPLETE Guide).

How Far Can an Average Car Go Without Requiring an Oil Change?

Usually, different cars with different brands also have additional durability. For starters, BMWs can last up for around 300,000 miles to 500,000 miles if it has the proper car maintenance services.

However, if you’re asking how far an average car go without requiring an oil change, it would be around 5,000 to 6,000 miles before you need an oil change, according to Lexus. This is a standard frequency to check your engine oil for an average car to see the oil’s quality.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Can You Go Without an Oil Change After the Lights Come on?

There are many answers to this question. For starters, if you needed an oil change soon, that would enable you to drive for at least 50-100 miles before you require an oil change. If you exceed the mileage, there’s a chance that you’ll damage your engine even further.

Sometimes, it can be a broken oil sensor, less oil pressure that’s keeping the oil change light turned on on rare occasions. You might have to get that checked out as well.

Does Failure to Changing My Car Oil Damage My Car?

Yes, absolutely. Engine oil is one of the most significant liquids in the car used to maintain the health of the engine’s heart. Failure to changing your oil will result in many different damages.

First, your engine’s going to be louder caused by the extra friction that will occur in the machine if it’s not lubricated correctly between other components. You may also experience an overheated engine where the car will be dangerous for you and the vehicle passenger.

What’s the Recommended Frequency of Changing Oil?

The recommended frequency of changing oil is between 5,000 miles to 7,000 miles. You can also do some oil check-ups every month to make sure you check the oil’s integrity (checking if it’s dirty, its viscosity, and oil level) to make sure you know when to change.

Is There a Way to Check if My Oil Needs to Be Changed?

Generally, cars have oil dipsticks that check the engine oil level and the oil’s cleanliness. You can read here:How to Check Oil Level to learn more on how you can check your oil yourself. It’s as simple as taking the oil dipstick out, wiping it, dipping it again, then check the oil level.

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