If you're asking yourself, “how bad is it to skip an oil change?” Look at these negative consequences of skipping an oil change:
- Engine wear and tear
- Reduction in engine performance
- Missed reminders
- Reduction and the fuel economy
- Missed inspections
- Reduction in the resale value
- Shorter vehicle lifetime
- Bad emissions
- Voided warranty
- Oil sludge
- Major breakdowns
Following scheduled maintenance is one of the most critical things that any driver should do to maintain the vehicle and prevent major breakdowns. However, many times things get in our way during life, and we might miss some of these scheduled maintenances.
An oil change is one of the very common scheduled maintenance that you never want to skip because it leads to various negative consequences. Therefore, before skipping an oil change, ask yourself the question, “how bad is it to skip an oil change?”
Once you read this article, you'll get an idea about all the negative consequences you'll experience when skipping an oil change. Then, you'll think twice before missing your next oil change appointment!
Why is it important to change engine oil?
Before we discuss the details about “how bad is it to skip an oil change?” It is very important to understand the main role of oil in your engine and the purpose for an oil change in the first place.
If you're driving a car with a combustion system, the engine consists of various interacting moving components. As these components interact with each other, they generate friction that could result in higher temperatures. That's why your engine requires some level of lubrication to prevent overheating that could damage the engine.
Therefore, as part of your engine maintenance, you'll have to maintain a proper motor oil level all the time to prevent dealing with major breakdowns that could cost you a lot of money. Not only will you have to maintain the proper oil level, but also you need to change it frequently.
Oil changes over time, losing some of its main characteristics that help cool down the engine. When this happens, it will be like you're driving a car without oil at all. Therefore, you must follow your vehicle owner’s manual’s recommendations and change the motor oil when necessary.
Remember that changing your vehicle's oil differs significantly bending on your vehicle type and the type of oil you're using. For instance, if you are using conventional oil, you'll need to change your motor oil more frequently than someone else using full synthetic oil.
How bad is it to skip an oil change? Negative consequences of skipping an oil change
Although there are many scheduled maintenances in our vehicles owner’s manual, some inexperienced drivers might underestimate the importance of performing these scheduled maintenances. Therefore, understanding “how bad is it to skip an oil change?”
Let's take a closer look at some of the negative consequences that you will experience when skipping an oil change:
1- Engine wear and tear
Your vehicle's engine oil is a minor component, but it plays a major role. When skipping an oil change, it's very easy to deal with significant engine wear and tear that gets more severe over time.
As we highlighted before, the engine requires lubrication all the time. When the internal components do not get this lubrication, they interact and sometimes grind against each other to cause severe wear and tear.
2- Reduction in engine performance
Since the engine doesn't receive enough lubrication with dirty oil, it will work much harder and be stressed all the time. Therefore, you'll notice a clear reduction in the ends is overall performance, which impacts the way you accelerate and function in your car.
3- Missed reminders
Not only do you miss the oil change, but also, you'll skip other reminders. When you perform the oil change regularly, your mechanic will help you and remind you that your vehicles do a different type of maintenance. For example, if you're heading towards the winter season, your mechanic might remind you to inspect the windshield washer reservoir or probably consider investing and a winter wheel.
Therefore, you will maintain your vehicle and prevent engine damages when performing oil changes and never skip and miss any important reminders.
4- Reduction and the fuel economy
Fuel economy is linked to engine performance, and when the oil is dirty and when the engine is very stressed out, it's very easy for your car to consume more fuel than before. Therefore, if you don't want to pay extra money on gas, you must maintain good clean motor oil all the time.
5- Missed inspections
When you go to change your vehicle's oil, your mechanic can tell whether your car is dealing with some problems or not. Your mechanics will detect any early signs of vehicle problems before you can even notice them.
Therefore, when performing the proper oil change at the right time, you'll get the luxury of free inspections and prevent dealing with major breakdowns because you did not have the right level of experience to detect these symptoms, indicating some failing components in your vehicle.
6- Reduction in the resale value
When you perform regular maintenance, you can keep receipts and paperwork showing that you've been taking good care of your car. Then, in the future, and when you decide to sell your car, these receipts and paperwork can help you ask for a higher price.
However, if the potential buyer realizes that you used to skip oil changes, he can immediately expect that what's under the hood's not been taken care of properly. As a result, there could be some major problems in the engine and the surrounding components. Thus, the buyer won't pay your asking price and will ask for a significant reduction and the vehicle's value.
7- Shorter vehicle lifetime
When you skip an oil change, you'll miss the chances of all sorts of reminders that help maintain your car and prevent major breakdowns. As a result, don't be surprised to deal with sudden issues in major components like the engine or the transmission. Thus, it's not surprising that your vehicle might fail prematurely because it wasn't taken care of properly.
8- Bad emissions
The more fuel your engine consumes, the dirtier the emissions are coming out of the combustion process. Therefore, at some point in time and depending on the severity of how dirty or oil, your vehicle might get to a point where you can't have condition tests because your car is emitting too many contaminants with an atmosphere that impacts people's health and the overall environment.
9- Voided warranty
Depending on your automaker, you might deal with voided warranties if you're not maintaining all scheduled maintenance. Thus, you must review the contract carefully and get an idea about how important it is to never skip an oil change because who wants to deal with paying major repairs because of the voided warranty?
10- Oil sludge
The dirtier the engine oil, the higher the chances of building sludge inside the engine. When sludge builds up inside the engine, it leads to major problems beyond what you can deal with when your engine is overheated because of its skipped oil change.
Therefore, think about the long-term consequences that your vehicle might suffer from when skipping an oil change because it won't be a simple issue, and it will cost you thousands of dollars on repairs if not costing you the entire vehicle.
11- Major breakdowns
Finally, if you skipped the oil change for so long and you did not notice any of the mentioned symptoms, you'll end up with catastrophic outcomes, including a completely failed engine.
You will deal with the sudden breakdowns without any other warning signs, and when these breakdowns happen, they happen in inconvenient situations where help is not very close to you, and we are towing service will cost you a lot of money.
How long can a car go without an oil change?
It's all depends on your vehicle's condition and the type of oil you're using. Most cars using conventional oil can go without an oil change for between 5000 miles and 7500 miles. However, if you're using conventional oil, you can go without an oil change with up to 15,000 miles in some instances.
Therefore, if you're not a fan of frequent oil changes, it might be worth it for you to invest in synthetic oil. First, however, you must go through your vehicle's owner’s manual and confirm that your vehicle is compatible with this type of oil because some older engines might not perform well when using this oil.
Note that conventional oil is much cheaper than full synthetic oil, and that's why many drivers choose conventional oil. However, if you do the math and look at the long-term benefits of using full synthetic oil, you'll find that it's worth investing in synthetic oil in some instances.
Does the car run better after an oil change?
Yes, as we indicated earlier, skipping an oil change impacts your vehicle's performance. However, if you delay the oil change for a long time, you'll see a significant improvement in your vehicle's overall performance.
That's why right after performing the oil change, you'll see how smooth your car runs and how easy it is to drive it at different speeds. Therefore, we always recommend that you perform the scheduled maintenance on time to enjoy your vehicle and not only prevent measure breakdowns but get the most out of your car for the longest time.
What are the signs you need an oil change?
Although we've indicated that certain thresholds are indicated when you need to change your vehicle's oil, sometimes you might need to change the oil before hitting the thresholds.
Let's take a closer look at some of the common signs you need an oil change:
- You'll deal with more smoke coming out of the tailpipe
- You'll notice a reduction in your vehicle's oil level
- You'll notice that your engine is much louder than before
- If you perform a visual inspection, you'll see that the oil has a weird, different texture than before
- You'll need to visit the gas station more often than before because your vehicle has an issue with the fuel economy
- The check engine light might illuminate frequently
- In some instances, you might deal with shaking, especially if your vehicle is set to idle
- Finally, you might experience some weird ticking noises, especially when you start your car.
Can a car go 20,000 miles without an oil change?
In some very high-quality synthetic oils, yes, this might happen. Some very powerful synthetic oils might be enough for your vehicle to drive for the entire year without needing an oil change. However, it is still critical that you watch your vehicle's overall performance and monitor for any of the mentioned symptoms indicating that your vehicle is due for an oil change.
Some automotive experts recommend changing your oil before a certain season starts, like the winter season.
Your motor oil is responsible for lubricating the engine and preventing overheating that could damage the engine over time. Therefore, it is critical to maintain the oil level at the right mark and change it when necessary.
Asking yourself, “how bad is it to skip an oil change?” is extremely important because it gives you an idea about why you should never skip an oil change. Typically, when delaying oil change, you deal with engine wear and tear, significantly reducing the vehicle's performance, fuel economy, harmful emissions, voided warranties, and others.
If you got to a point where your skipped oil change caused major problems, it's never the end of the world because you can always sell your vehicle and use its money to buy a better car that doesn't have major problems.
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