What Happens if You Don’t Change Your Oil?

Car maintenance is not what people think it is.

Sure, there are the basics that many of us know about like:

  • Checking fluids and topping off what needs to be topped off.
  • Keeping tires inflated properly.
  • Washing your car regularly.

But what happens when you don’t change your oil?

What kind of damage does that do?

And what if something goes wrong while you’re driving due to this negligence?

The oil keeps the engine running smoothly, so without it, the car could start to have problems. Find out in this blog post!

What Is oil, And What Does It Do For Your Car?

What Happens if You Don't Change Your Oil

Oil lubricates the engine, cools it down, and helps to clean out any buildup that happens in there.

It’s what makes your car run!

Without it, things can start to go downhill quickly. Its role is also to help keep combustion chambers clean.

You’ll notice more wear on parts of your vehicle, so they need replacing sooner.

As a result, you’re going to spend more money because those repairs cost more than if you had just changed your oil when needed. And this doesn’t even take into account what could happen while driving due to not changing the oil regularly.

An accident or breakdown might have worse consequences without being able to rely on good old-fashioned lube!

All engines need some kind of oil to operate efficiently. Still, each manufacturer’s motor requires its type of oil because all machines are different in construction and operation.

The Benefits and Importance of Changing Your Oil Regularly

Car care experts from the Car Care Council found that over twenty percent (22%) of vehicles had low or dirty engine oils due to lack of maintenance.

This can cause the engine to overheat and seize up, leading to what is known as a “catastrophic” engine failure.

Oil needs to be changed regularly because it breaks down over time and becomes dirty, clogging up the engine.

Benefits and Importance of Changing Your Oil Regularly

Below are the top benefits of changing your oil regularly:

1. Increased engine life

Cars are not only a mode of transportation. They’re also an investment. Regular maintenance ensures that your vehicle retains its value and lasts longer than usual. Hence, you keep getting the most out of it for years to come!

2. Lower fuel consumption (gas)

Car owners who take advantage of routine maintenance have better fuel economy and power in their vehicles and fewer problems with internal components.

When vehicles are not adequately cared for, they will end up using more fuel than necessary which causes their resale value at auction time to go down as well.

3. Reduced chance of breakdowns or accidents due to lack of lubrication

In 2019, America still had one of the highest rates of fatalities on roads. The National Safety Council estimates that 38,800 people lost their lives in car accidents, 2% less than last year’s 39,404.

To avoid accidents and fatalities, it’s essential to take care of your vehicle by changing the oil regularly.

4. Reduced chance of engine failure

A good lubricant is a key to a healthy engine. Without adequate lubrication, friction will build up and cause the engine to overheat.

This is why it’s crucial to maintain clean oil levels so your vehicle will not run too hot.

5. You’ll save money in the long run.

Owning a car is tough.

Over time the oil wears down and needs to be replaced with a new one. Waiting too long causes significant problems, including overheating or an undetected leak leading you to low pressure.

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Both of these issues will lead up costing some serious money at the mechanic shop in repairs!

To avoid this visit, conduct routine maintenance checks to help prevent all sorts of damage from old worn-out oil as well as leaks before they start causing any significant problems (and expense).

When you maintain your car, the Kelley Blue Book value of your vehicle on trade-in will be more excellent. Check your current car value on their website under the My Car’s Value page.

What Happens When You Don’t Change Your Oil?

What Happens When You Don't Change Your Oil

If you’re not changing the oil in your car regularly, it leads to what’s called an “engine seizure,” where your car just shuts off without warning!

It may sound like a drastic scenario, but this can happen at any time if you wait too long to change your oil.

Engine damage leading to higher repair costs and more frequent breakdowns as a result of mechanical failure. This is because, without regular changes, dirty oils could cause metal parts in the engine to rust prematurely!

Exposure to dirt for long periods also will wear out seals that keep fluids contained which leads to leaks around gaskets and other components. The consequences of these leaks can be costly to repair.

Take a look at this DIY engine oil change fail, with Scotty Kilmer from Auto Mechanic For The Last 50 Years!

When changing oils on vehicles, make sure not to forget about these tips:

  • like always keeping up with maintenance, and
  • making small investments every few months instead of buying an entirely new car.

When Should You Change The Oil In Your Car?

The frequency of this process depends on what type of engine you have in your car, the kind of oil you use, and what the manufacturer recommends for it.

Some cars need more frequent changes depending on how often they are driven or used for work, while other models might be able to go as far as 15,000 miles between services!

You can’t judge if there is anything wrong just by looking at how dark the motor oil looks. So, do yourself a favor and follow that service interval schedule provided to save money in the long run.

What Happens if You Don't Change Your Oil

For Old cars

We all know that older cars need oil changes, but not just like newer cars. Older vehicles have different needs in terms of maintenance because they see more wear and tear than newer ones.

The owner’s manual recommends a more rigorous maintenance schedule for those who drive their car under moderate to severe conditions. This includes short trips, extreme weathers like hot or cold climates, and operating in stop-and-go traffic with heavy loads such as carrying cargo.

If your vehicle falls into any of these categories, you should maintain it using a stricter routine instead of only changing its oil based on mileage alone.

For newer cars

The oil-life monitoring system in most newer cars will automatically alert drivers when their oil needs changing.

The service technician should also reset your car’s monitor before or after they install a new engine lubricant while changing its filter. However, if you want to do it yourself, then follow the instructions in your owner manual!

There are a lot of reasons why you should monitor your car’s oil level. The best way to prevent engine wear or damage is by checking the oil levels monthly and topping up as needed. If your newer vehicle doesn’t need an interval change, check it every month just in case.

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5 Signs That Show When To Change The Oil In Your Car

5 Signs that show when to change the oil in your car

The oil in your car has to be changed as part of the regular maintenance, and there are some signs which tell you when it’s time for a change.

1. Engine oil is dark in color

Clean oil is a light, amber color at first glance. As it collects particles of engine gunk from being used over time, the sterile substance will turn darker in tone and less translucent than before.

2. The car chugs or sputters when you accelerate

Your engine is a delicate machine that needs oil to avoid metal-to-metal brushing.

When your car starts making strange noises, it may be time for an inspection and tune-up because the lack of lubrication could lead to severe damage over time.

3. A burning smell from the exhaust pipe while driving with a light load

When an unexpected smell arises while driving, it can signify a more serious problem. The same is true when you experience the unpleasant odors of gas or exhaust fumes inside your vehicle.

This may be due to overheating and so appropriate maintenance should be scheduled soon before any major damage occurs!

4. Unusual levels of smoke coming out from under the hood

If you see a lot of smoke coming from your tailpipe, it’s time to get an engine check-up. Your car could have faulty parts or an oil leak.

5. You’ve driven more than what your car’s manual recommends for changing its engine lubricant

You know this one! The car starts running rough because it needs an oil change, but there’s no obvious sign yet.

The rule of thumb here is to check your owner’s handbook to find out which schedule is suitable for your vehicle and consider changing the type of oil if you’re traveling more than average per month.

How to Check Your Car's Engine Oil

Different Types Of Car Oils

In the long run, what type of oil you choose for your car can make a big difference in terms of how much money you spend on it!

The type of oil that you use in your car is essential for the life and performance of the vehicle.

Explore different types like conventional, full-synthetic, synthetic blend, and high-mileage oils, as well as help from our auto repair experts to find out which one suits your needs best!

Different Types Of Car Oils


The best part about conventional oil is that it’s so budget-friendly. It also does a good job of keeping your engine protected and running smoothly.

Conventional oil is not as refined as other types of oil. Its downside is that they’re naturally occurring materials which means they lack refinement, consequently offering a lower degree of protection.


Synthetic motor oil is a way to increase the quality of your engine’s performance.

This oil is more consistent and refined than conventional oils due to natural processes. But there’s something you should know – Full-synthetic motor oil is significantly higher priced than traditional oils.

Synthetic Blend

Synthetic blend oils are made with some traditional (conventional) types of oil and the more advanced synthetic oil.

These blends provide better protection than your average conventional automotive lubricant. Still, they are not quite at the same level as full-synthetic blends.

High-mileage oil

High-mileage oil is a blend of engine additives that help prevent wear and tear in the long term.

Although these products may be more expensive, they’re worth it to keep your car running at its best for as many miles as possible.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Car Maintenance

How long can you really go without changing your oil?

Cars can go much further without needing an oil change if you use synthetic oils, which means that your vehicle could last 10-15 thousand miles before it needs a tune-up.

Cars generally need to have their engine oil changed after 5-7,500 miles, but this number drops drastically for cars using synthetic oils because they will not degrade as quickly, and the engines can perform at high levels longer.

Does oil go bad sitting in an engine?

Yes. Oil breaks down with use, and sitting in an engine doesn’t help it last any longer.

When oil deteriorates, it can form sludge, which damages the car engine by clogging up all those tiny spaces where things need to move around freely for the engine to work correctly.

Can I just add oil to my car instead of getting an oil change?

When your motor oil becomes dark, cloudy, or gritty looking, it’s time for an engine overhaul.

Forcing old oil through the system will only lead to bigger problems down the line and could cause serious damage to the engine.

Can I go back to regular oil after using synthetic?

Yes, you can. You’ll just need to change the oil more often than what’s advised for regular oils so that it doesn’t break down as quickly.

Do I have to use a new type of filter if I switch what grade of oil my car needs?

No, changing types or brands of engine oil does not require you to change the filter.

Some car owners may feel safer and do, but it’s up to them. If you’re not sure what grade, look for warning labels on the oil itself or check the driver-side door of your vehicle.

Why is my car losing oil but no leak?

There are multiple reasons that your car can be losing oil, despite no visible leak.

The first and probably most likely cause is that the seal on the engine has gone bad. If this is the case, then a large amount of oil will be lost as time progresses or simply while being started up in colder climates.

Another potential reason for oil loss without an external leak would be a failed head gasket.

A faulty head gasket can allow small coolant traces into your combustion chamber, which might often result in a sputtering sound coming from your exhaust pipe during driving and especially when idling.

What are the signs of low oil?

There are several ways to know when your car oil is running low.

The most common way people notice something’s wrong with their car is that they have a slight knocking or tapping sound coming from the engine.

Another symptom, which can be more serious, is if the vehicle starts to ride very roughly and choppily.

Other signs are that you may notice your gas mileage getting worse and an oil leak near one of your tires which has caused it to flatten noticeably more quickly than normal.

It’s important for all auto owners to maintain appropriate car oil levels as this will ensure longevity for the engine while also maximizing fuel efficiency and lowering emissions.

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