What Happens if You Go Too Long Without an Oil Change

If you’re like most people, your car is only as good as its oil. The engine needs to be kept well-supplied with this liquid and it also has beneficial properties that can keep it running smoothly.

The oil acts as a “glue” for metal parts and helps them move freely without causing friction or wear on moving parts. Your car’s engine relies on the lubricant in its crankshaft (which connects the pistons) and connecting rods to provide proper functioning.

So, how long can you go without an oil change and what happens if you go too long without an oil change?

If you go too long without an oil change, you increase the risk of having your engine damaged and incurring huge repair costs because the oil inside your engine would be used up, enabling your engine to collect trash that settles in the oil which can clog and cause engine damage.

Without having enough lubrication available at all times, these parts would become stuck together which could result in breakdowns such as engine failure or piston seizure due to overheating caused by lack of lubrication.

Can You Go Too Long Without an Oil Change?

The type of oil you use and the type of oil filter you use will determine how long you can go between oil changes. Ultimately you should not go too long without changing the oil in your car’s engine.

If you use synthetic oil, then it’s possible to go longer than 5,000 miles before changing your engine’s lubricant to avoid your engine developing faults or engine failure.

However, if conventional or non-synthetic oils are used regularly in vehicles built before 1980, then driving with out-of-service filters could lead to decreased engine performance over time as sludge builds up inside them.

The recommended mileage interval for changing oil varies depending on what kind of vehicle is being driven:

  • For cars under five years old (less than 10 years old), change your oil every 3 months or 12,000 miles;
  • For cars more than five years old but less than 15 years old (10+ years), change your engine’s lubricant when its mileage reaches 7500 miles after each new fillup

What Happens if You Go Too Long Without an Oil Change?

If you go too long without an oil change, your car’s engine may start to suffer. Here are some of the effects:

The Oil Becomes Dirty

The oil that was last poured into your car becomes dirty. The longer you wait between oil changes, the more likely it is that dirt will get into your engine and clog up its working parts. This can cause damage by reducing the efficiency or even causing engine failure altogether.

If you go too long without changing your oil, you risk having problems. The oil can become dirty and sludge can build up in it.

Once sludge builds up in the engine, the oil won’t be able to remove heat from the car’s engine and this is very dangerous for the engine.

Your Engine Becomes Less Effective

Your car’s engine becomes less effective. When you have gone more than a few months without changing the oil in your car’s engine, there’s a very high possibility that there will be deposits in your car’s oil system

These deposits will gather around these areas where they make contact with moving parts like pistons and crankshaft seals and making contact with these parts can reduce their effectiveness by as much as 30%.

This means that the amount of power that is produced by the car’s engine per hour would be reduced. Think about how strong we would feel after skipping breakfast for nine years straight, that’s what the engine will feel like.

A Decline in Driving Quality of the Car

The oil doesn’t just lubricate the different parts of the engine of a car but it also keeps the car’s engine clean so when the oil is left unchanged for too long, there is a decline in the driving quality of the car.

Engine Shut Down

Not changing the oil for a long period can also cause the engine to shut down completely and replacing a car’s engine is very expensive and sometimes it is even advised to just get another car.

Oil Leak and Clogged Filter

The oil can leak out of the engine, or the filter may get clogged and no longer be able to catch all of the debris floating around there.

If this happens, then over time dirt will cause wear on parts like pistons and bearings that require lubrication every few thousand miles (or kilometers).

If this happens enough times with regular maintenance intervals at least once every 3 months it’s possible for some parts to become worn out so much that they won’t last any longer than necessary before needing replacement altogether.

Some other parts might not last as long but still, need regular maintenance after each time they’re used which could make them prone to failure if left unchanged for too long without being taken care of regularly.

How Long Can You Go Without an Oil Change?

In recent times, due to the upgrade in the engine technology of different car engines, they can now last anywhere between 5,000 to 8,000 miles before it is required that the oil is changed.

However, if you use synthetic oil for your car, an oil change can last between 10,000 to 15,000 miles before you change it.

In most cases, how often you’re required to change your car’s oil is dependent on the model of your car, how much you drive your car, and the conditions you drive your car in(the type of road you drive on).

Some cars need an oil change every 3,000 miles. The best way to know is by following the oil change interval that is recommended by the manufacturer.

Advantages of Changing Oil When Due

The benefits of changing your engine oil when due are:

1. Reduced Engine Wear

The engine uses oil as a lubricant, changing it regularly will help keep it running smoothly and efficiently. This means less friction between moving parts which makes for better performance over time and the engine’s life is also extended.

2. Increased Gas Mileage

The longer the amount of time between changes, the more harmful contaminants build up inside your engine causing sludge which reduces fuel economy by hundreds per mile.

This is prevented when the oil is changed when due, that way the oil doesn’t already turn to sludge.

3. Optimally Functioning Engines

When the oil is changed when due, there’s always oil to lubricate the different parts of the engine when the car is in motion and this helps the engine to function optimally.


If you go longer than the recommended time, your engine may be at risk. The best way to prevent this is to make sure that you change your oil as recommended by your car’s manufacturers.

If you’re still not sure, have your vehicle checked out by a professional mechanic who can give you an expert opinion on whether or not it’s time for an oil change yet!