What Happens If You Go Too Long Without an Oil Change – Regular oil changes are one of the most important aspects of car maintenance.
However, many drivers may not realize just how crucial oil changes are for maintaining their engine’s health.
In this article, we will explore the importance of regular oil changes, the consequences of neglecting them, and how often you should change your oil.
Signs You Need an Oil Change
One of the easiest ways to determine if your car needs an oil change is by paying attention to any symptoms your car may be displaying.
Here are some common signs that you may need an oil change:
Low Oil Level
One of the most common signs that you may need an oil change is a low oil level. Checking your oil level is a simple process that can be done by using the dipstick located under your hood.
If your oil level is low, this could indicate that your engine is burning oil, or you may have a leak.
Check Engine Light
Your car’s check engine light can illuminate for a variety of reasons, including low oil pressure. If your check engine light is on, it is best to take your car to a mechanic to have it diagnosed.
If you hear knocking or ticking sounds coming from your engine, this could be a sign that your oil level is low or that your oil is dirty.
As oil ages, it loses its ability to lubricate the engine properly, resulting in increased wear and tear on engine parts.
If you notice blue or black smoke coming from your exhaust, this could indicate that your engine is burning oil.
This could be due to a variety of reasons, including a leaky valve guide or worn piston rings.
When you check your oil level, take a look at the color and consistency of the oil. If the oil is dirty or has a gritty texture, this could be a sign that it is time for an oil change.
If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to take your car in for an oil change as soon as possible.
Neglecting to do so can result in serious damage to your engine.
Consequences of Skipping Oil Changes
If you neglect to change your oil regularly, the consequences can be severe. Here are some of the most common problems that can occur due to neglected oil changes:
Increased Wear and Tear
The oil in your engine plays a crucial role in lubricating engine parts and preventing metal-on-metal contact.
Over time, oil breaks down and loses its ability to lubricate properly, resulting in increased wear and tear on engine parts. This can lead to decreased engine performance, reduced fuel efficiency, and even engine failure.
As oil ages, it can form a sludge-like substance that can clog oil passages and reduce oil flow. Sludge buildup can also cause engine parts to stick together, resulting in reduced performance and potential engine failure.
As oil breaks down, it becomes less effective at absorbing and dissipating heat. This can cause your engine to overheat, resulting in potential engine damage or failure.
Neglecting to change your oil can eventually lead to engine failure. This can be an expensive and time-consuming problem to fix, so it is best to avoid it altogether by regularly changing your oil.
By neglecting oil changes, you are putting your engine at risk of serious damage.
It is important to prioritize oil changes as a necessary part of car maintenance to avoid these consequences.
How Often You Should Change Your Oil
One of the most common questions about oil changes is how often you should change your oil. The answer to this question varies depending on several factors, such as the age of your car, your driving habits, and the type of oil you use.
Most car manufacturers recommend changing your oil every 7,000 to 10,000 miles or every 6 to 12 months, whichever comes first.
However, if you frequently drive in stop-and-go traffic, tow heavy loads, or drive in extreme temperatures, you may need to change your oil more often.
Older cars may require more frequent oil changes to maintain their engine health.
It is important to check your car’s owner’s manual for specific oil change recommendations for your vehicle.
Following the manufacturer’s recommendations is a good starting point, but it is also important to pay attention to any symptoms your car may be displaying and adjust your oil change frequency accordingly.
How to Change Your Oil
While it is always recommended to take your car to a mechanic for an oil change, some drivers prefer to change their own oil. If you decide to change your own oil, here is a step-by-step guide to getting you started:
Gather Your Materials
You will need the following materials to change your oil: a new oil filter, the correct type and amount of oil, an oil filter wrench, a socket wrench or adjustable wrench, a funnel, and a drain pan.
Locate the Oil Filter and Drain Plug
The oil filter and drain plug are usually located under the car. Consult your owner’s manual to locate them.
Drain the Oil
Place the drain pan under the drain plug and remove the plug using your wrench. Allow the oil to drain completely.
Replace the Oil Filter
Remove the old oil filter using the oil filter wrench and replace it with the new one. Make sure to lubricate the gasket with a small amount of oil before installing the new filter.
Refill the Oil
Using your funnel, pour the correct amount and type of oil into the engine. Make sure to check your owner’s manual for the correct amount and type of oil for your vehicle.
Start the Engine
Start your car and let it run for a few minutes to circulate the new oil. Check the oil level using the dipstick and add more if necessary.
Dispose of the Old Oil
Dispose of the old oil and filter properly. Most auto parts stores and mechanics will accept used oil and filters for recycling.
Changing your own oil can be a cost-effective way to maintain your car’s engine health, but it is important to do it correctly to avoid causing damage to your engine.
Regular oil changes are one of the most important aspects of car maintenance. Neglecting oil changes can result in serious damage to your engine and potentially costly repairs.
By paying attention to symptoms that indicate it is time for an oil change and following manufacturer recommendations for oil change frequency, you can ensure that your engine stays healthy and performs at its best.
If you are unsure about changing your own oil, it is always recommended to take your car to a mechanic for an oil change.