What Happens if You Don't get an Oil Change?

Submitted by Tech Support on Sun, 02/14/2021 - 16:24

From total engine failure to losing your “I adulted today” sticker, the list of things that could go wrong is long.

Here is a list of some of the things that can happen to your vehicle (and your wallet) if you don’t get an oil change.

It can be tempting to push those oil change intervals longer than you should (and let’s face it, we’ve all done it), and today engines are built to go 5,000 miles or more in between, but what’s really going to happen to your vehicle if you don’t perform that most basic of proactive maintenance activities, the oil change?

In order to better understand all the negative things that can (and will) occur if you don’t change your oil, we first need to understand what it is exactly that oil does to and for your engine.

Oil has three essential jobs; to lubricate your engine components, cool your engine components down, and trap dirt and debris. As engine oil ages, it doesn’t lubricate, cool, or clean as well, and that’s when your problems all begin.

Here’s what happens when you don’t change your oil as recommended:

Not changing your oil may void your vehicle warranty.

Many new, used or leased vehicle warranties require you to have your vehicle regularly serviced by a reputable technician or service center, and document that your oil has been changed at the manufacturer’s recommended intervals. Failure to do so could result in warranty or repair claims being denied, costing you money and forcing you to be liable for even seemingly unrelated component failures.

Poor MPGs and engine performance.

Your engine oil is supposed to be a liquid. Over time, it will eventually turn into a kind of sludge as it goes about doing its job; collecting debris, dirt, metal shavings, unburned fuel, etc. Your engine components will then have to start fighting their way through this sludge to turn at thousands of revolutions per minute, decreasing your fuel mileage and noticeably impacting your engine performance. That means it will take you longer to get up to speed, it will be harder to pass other vehicles, tow your wake boat, or merge safely, and you will also pay at the gas pump.

Engine component failure.

As your oil ages, it will continue to lose its ability to lubricate all the moving parts in your engine, dissipate heat and trap debris. If oil galleys become plugged, moving parts that are supposed to effortlessly glide against one another will start to grind, scrape, and eventually bind, causing breakage. If your engine can’t maintain a safe temperature, it will begin to overheat which can cause everything from an expensive tow bill to catastrophic failure, which leads us to our next (and the most exciting item on our list).

Total Catastrophic Engine Failure.

That’s the sound of bare metal touching bare metal at thousands of revolutions per minute. That’s the sound of metal warping, snapping, breaking, or even exploding. The sight of antifreeze and steam billowing out from underneath the hood of your car, and fluid of every color and consistency pooling underneath it. You may even get to see engine components that are supposed to be inside the engine, being shot outside, and if that sounds bad, this is where things are just starting to get really expensive. At this level of neglect, your car doesn’t just need to be fixed anymore, it likely needs entirely replaced, and you have just put several zeros at the end of that repair bill.

As you can see, getting an oil change is an incredibly important, if not the most important component of your proactive maintenance routine. If an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, then a quart of prevention is worth many times more than an expensive repair bill.

And thanks to modern tech, most vehicles have gotten really good at reminding us when they need their oil change even if we ignore the sticker on the inside of the windshield, so don’t delay, get your “adulting” scheduled today.

What are some of the benefits of scheduling proactive maintenance for your vehicle with us? Read more about regular oil changes for your vehicle or fleet