What Happens If You Ignore Oil Changes?

a BRAKEmax technician performs an oil change for a customer

An oil change is among the most routine automotive services, with most vehicles needing one every 3,000 to 10,000 miles depending on their year, make, and model. This is also an essential service that you should never skip or delay. Not getting your vehicle’s oil changed on schedule often has multiple negative effects. The following are only some of them.

Cause Damage and Wear to the Vehicle’s Engine

Most devastating, ignoring an oil change can lead to serious engine damage. Oil is the lubricant that keeps the engine’s moving parts from grinding against each other, which can wear components down and create excessive heat. Over time, oil itself breaks down and needs replacing in order to effectively fulfill its role.

If you ignore an oil change too long, your vehicle’s engine can seize up or experience some other serious problem. Should this happen, you may need to rebuild the engine, replace the engine, or buy a new car.

Even if you do not ignore the oil to this extent, delaying an oil change by just a short while can still cause damage. A slightly delayed oil change can increase engine wear, and that increased wear can lead to more problems when the vehicle is older. In other words, putting off oil changes can diminish the life span of your vehicle’s engine no matter what.

Lead to Lower Resale Value Down the Road

Whether your vehicle’s engine is completely destroyed or only worn down a little more than necessary, both situations will lead to the vehicle being worth less when you go to sell it or trade it in. A rebuilt or replaced engine will result in a much lower fair-market value, and a worn engine that sounds rough will make potential buyers wary of the car’s condition.

Void Any Vehicle Warranty That Is in Place

If you drive a new or certified pre-owned vehicle that is under a manufacturer’s or dealer’s warranty, do not expect the warranty coverage to be valid if you skip an oil change. Since oil changes are so essential, not doing them regularly can eventually void a vehicle’s warranty.

Impact Engine Performance in Multiple Ways

As oil breaks down, it negatively impacts the engine’s performance in multiple ways. Although you may not immediately notice these changes because they happen gradually, they have real-world impacts on your vehicle and how it drives.

First, your engine will sound louder and run rougher if the oil in it is too old. The increased noise comes from the engine’s parts rubbing against one another more, and that noise is not pleasant to listen to or good for the engine.

Second, the engine will not be able to produce the same amount of power. The rubbing of the engine’s parts produces friction and heat, and that heat is energy that would otherwise transform into horsepower and torque. Due to the excess friction, however, it is simply warmth that dissipates and serves no practical use.

Third, the reduced horsepower and torque will make your engine a little more sluggish. The vehicle will not accelerate as fast as it can when fresh oil is in the engine. The engine will also have to work harder when pulling a trailer if you ever use the vehicle to tow.

Reduce Fuel Economy in City and Highway Driving

Your vehicle’s fuel economy will also diminish, and you will need more fuel for both city and highway driving. This will cause you to fill up at the gas station more often, spending more on fuel than you should have to.

To schedule an oil change for your vehicle, contact the professionals at BRAKEMax.

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