What Happens if You Do Not Change Your Oil?

Oil is arguably the most important fluid your car needs, besides fuel, and its upkeep is essential to the vitality of your vehicle. Oil lubricates, cleans, and keeps the car engine from overheating. Yet, many drivers push their oil well past recommended limits or skip oil changes altogether. They don't realize the risks these actions pose to their vehicles. However, the longer you go without changing your oil, the more issues your car will have.

LC Image - What Happens if You Do Not Change Your Oil?

1. Your Engine Will Seize

The primary function of motor oil is to lubricate the cylinders, pistons, and various other components that make up your car's engine. Without it, metal-on-metal friction can generate enough heat to effectively weld surfaces together and cause the engine to seize. If this happens, the damage will be extensive, and you'll need to replace the engine. Engine replacements can cost thousands of dollars. Often, drivers are better off selling their engine for scrap and purchasing another vehicle.

The way to avoid these issues is simple: Change your oil regularly. Oil is essentially the lifeblood of your vehicle, and the experts at Mavis Tires and Brakes can assist you with changing your oil consistently. At Mavis, it is recommended to change the oil every 3,000 miles. However, pushing your engine past that point can be harmful to your vehicle's health.

2. Your Engine Will Overheat

In some cars, the internal combustion engine also utilizes oil for a process called oil cooling. As the name suggests, oil cooling is the use of engine oil as a coolant. Car engines produce a lot of heat, which they transfer to the oil. Oil is then passed through a type of radiator called the oil cooler, which sends cooled oil back to the hot engine for continuous cooling.

This cooling system prevents the engine from overheating. Nevertheless, oil (and any anti-wear components present in the oil) breaks down at high temperatures. Its chemical make-up becomes unstable, and it doesn't absorb heat as readily. If you don't change the oil consistently, you increase your engine's chance of overheating.

3. Your Engine Will Become Less Efficient

The oil in your car also cleans the engine and prevents corrosion. As oil travels through the various components of your engine, detergents present in the liquid collect debris and other insoluble by-products. These detergents carry various contaminants to the oil filter, where they are summarily removed.

However, the longer oil circulates in your engine, the more debris and iron deposits it accumulates. If left unchanged, the thick liquid will gain a sludge-like consistency, making it difficult for oil to move between the inner parts of the engine, much less lubricate those mechanisms.

Furthermore, heat from the engine will deteriorate detergent additives and minimize the oil's cleaning properties. Continuous exposure to high temperatures increases the rate of oxidation in oil, which, in turn, promotes varnish and engine wear. 

4. Your Car's Health Will Decline

Car engines are sturdy, durable, and built to withstand constant use. If given proper care and consideration, your engine can last for over a decade. However, engines can't handle exposure to unchanged oil for extended periods of time. Therefore, if you've used the same oil well past recommended mileage limits, do yourself and your car a favor by not skipping your next oil change. Bring your vehicle to your local Mavis regularly to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape.