How Long Can You Go Without an Oil Change (Surprising Facts) (2024)

You need to check, repair, or replace different car components. Regular oil change service is crucial to the smooth running of your car.

Usually, a mechanic provides a motorist with the approximate mileage for the oil change. Unfortunately, very few motorists follow through with their car’s mileage. Hence they do not ensure they follow the mechanic’s recommendation. It is because your vehicle runs even after surpassing the recommended distance covered for undertaking an oil change.

Many motorists do not consider oil change as vital. These motorists postpone or overlook their stipulated oil change mileage. They do not understand the impact of their delay on the well-being of their car. The truth is, it is best not to gamble with how long you can go without an oil change.

This article put together a guide on how long you can go without an oil change.

Table of Contents

How Far You Can Go Without An Oil Change?

Most vehicles generally require an oil change after every 5000 to 7000 miles. It is generally not advisable to go beyond the oil change intervals recommended by the manufacturer of your vehicle. Failing to change your oil regularly can lead to reduced engine performance and potentially costly repairs.

Whereas it is possible to drive all the extra miles stated, you will realize a decline in the engine’s performance. Further, negligence to change the oil while you continue to drive your car will lead to the engine’s self-destruction.

The engine oil turns into sludge during this driving period and cannot lubricate the moving parts. Friction between the moving parts progresses, triggering overheating. At the same time, the parts begin to grind against each other. These parts will wear off quickly and result in expensive repairs.

If you continue driving your car, the engine can cause the gasket to blow or seize. When your engine seizes, no automotive expert can repair it, and you will have to replace it.

Why Does My Vehicle Need an Oil Change?

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You should ensure oil changes as per the recommended scheduling to maintain your engine’s performance.

Below are reasons why an oil change is necessary for your car.

Provide the Required Engine Lubrication

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When your car is moving, its engine is generally under pressure. The engine’s internal components move continuously and work together. The engine oil provides constant lubrication for the parts. This prevents wearing out through friction and grinding against each other.

For your vehicle to be efficient, you need to make sure you sustain your engine oil above the recommended amount stated in the owner’s manual.

Reduce the Engine’s Temperature

When your car is in use, the engine generates a lot of heat as the movable parts collaborate to provide you with the performance you expect. Friction between the movable parts increases the engine’s temperature.

As the engine oil circulates to lubricate the moving parts, it prevents heat generation from friction. Thus, the engine oil assists in cooling down the engine and reduces its temperature.

Remove Engine Dust Particles

While using your car, the engine oil collects dust and dirt when circulating through the engine. Eventually, the oil becomes dirty and loses its functionality in cleaning the engine. An oil change removes the dirty oil and replaces it with new and clean oil.

As a result, the new oil begins the process of collecting dust or dirt from your engine, safeguarding your car’s engine from damage.

Improve Fuel Economy

Dirty engine oil reduces the performance of your car. Your car’s engine temperature is not maintained correctly because the oil is not lubricating the movable parts. Also, grinding of the movable elements within the engine occurs, leading to low performance of the car. It results in more fuel consumption. To avoid increased fuel consumption, ensure you change your engine oil in time.

Expands the Lifespan of Your Engine

Not changing your engine oil in time enhances damage to your engine. Contaminated oil causes friction and grinding of the movable parts. Hence, increasing the wear and tear of engine parts. So, it reduces the lifespan of your car’s engine.

Additionally, the contaminated oil decreases your engine’s performance. Your car’s engine struggles to function, and its performance deteriorates at a faster rate. Therefore, you should understand the importance of an oil change and routine maintenance in expanding your engine’s lifespan.

When Should I Get My Oil Changed?

Ideally, when you should get your oil change depends on your car. Factors such as your car’s year of manufacture, make, model, and other details influence your engine oil change.

Typically, old cars use maintenance schedules that focus on miles covered. You may change your engine oil after covering 3,000 miles or slightly more for old vehicles.

But for new cars, automotive experts do not recommend this. The experts confirm that it is unnecessary and benefits the repair shops only. The majority of car owner’s manuals suggest a routine oil change every 5,000 to 7,500 miles to sustain the car’s performance.

Moreover, newer cars have oil-life monitoring systems that automatically notify you when you need an oil change. The simple systems inform you when you need an oil change based on time interval and mileage. Advanced systems look at your driving situations and tell you when your car’s oil starts to worsen.

After an oil change, your automotive specialist should reset your car’s oil monitoring system. It ensures you keep a proper maintenance schedule.

What Happens if You Don’t Get an Oil Change for a Long Time?

Not undertaking an oil change can have disastrous effects on your car. It begins with your car’s oil becoming dirtier and thicker. Such oil cannot lubricate your engine’s parts effectively.

This leads to friction and grinding of the components resulting in engine overheating. Your car’s performance and engine fitness deteriorate as you continue to use your vehicle without changing the oil.

Consequently, your engine parts warp, the gasket can blow, or the engine may shut down. All these damages to your engine need more funds than undertaking a regular oil change. If you would like to enjoy driving your car for a more extended period, ensure you change the oil every so often.

How Often Should You Get the Oil Changed?

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The distance covered and environment determines how often you should have your car’s oil changed. The engine oil you use might also influence your oil change frequency. There are different kinds of engine oil in the marketplace where some may take longer to become dirty than others. Improved engine technology allows a car to move 5,000 to 10,000 miles without an oil change.

If you drive in a dusty area often, your car’s oil will get dirty quickly, and you will need an oil change frequently. It would be best to be keen on your oil monitoring systems or continually check the engine’s actual oil running.

The critical thing to understand about an oil change is to know that once your engine oil is dirty, you should replace it. And, the distance you have traveled does not matter. Automotive experts only provide a standard approximation of when they expect the engine oil to have become dirty.

Wrapping Up

You can stay from 5,000 to 10,000 miles of traveling on average without changing your engine oil. But note that the older your car, the fewer miles you should stay without changing the oil. Most importantly, an oil change is vital to your car’s continuous use and efficiency. You need to constantly check your car’s oil to ensure the engine operates at its best.

Finally, do not agree to incur huge costs due to delay in changing your car’s engine oil.

How Long Can You Go Without an Oil Change (Surprising Facts) (2024)


How Long Can You Go Without an Oil Change (Surprising Facts)? ›

Most vehicles will need an oil change every 5,000 to 7,000 miles. If you're using synthetic oil, the maximum oil change interval increases to about 10,000 miles. Keep in mind that those numbers are general guidelines and that the actual interval will depend on your car's make and model.

How long can you realistically go without an oil change? ›

However, engine technology has improved greatly over the years. Due to this, cars can generally go 5,000 to 7,500 miles before needing an oil change. Furthermore, if your vehicle uses synthetic oil, you can drive 10,000 or even 15,000 miles between oil changes.

What happens if you go too long without an oil change? ›

Complete Engine Failure – If you go long enough without an oil change, it could cost you a car. Once the motor oil becomes sludge, it no longer removes heat from the engine. This can lead to a complete engine shutdown that will require a brand new engine – or a new ride – to fix.

Can I go 3 months without an oil change? ›

The quick-lube chains usually recommend it be done every three months or 3,000 miles, but many mechanics would tell you that such frequent changes are overkill. Indeed, most car owner's manuals recommend changing out the oil less frequently, usually after 5,000 or 7,500 miles.

What happens if you go 10000 miles without an oil change? ›

If your engine oil turns to sludge, it won't be able to lubricate anymore, and your car engine will seize up. That means the metal parts fuse together under intense friction and heat. It's almost impossible to fix, probably requiring a new engine or even a write-off of the car.

Can you go 2 years without changing oil? ›

Can I change oil every two years? No. Almost no automaker recommends that oil should be left in the crankcase for more than one year—no matter the mileage.

Is it bad to go 1000 miles over an oil change? ›

I wouldn't beat myself up over it. 1000 miles overdue is about 14% over a recommended change of 7500 miles. Oil breaks down very slowly and there won't be a magic transition where it just stops doing its work at 8000 miles (normal change interval theses days is usually 7500 miles) and is worthless at 8500 miles.

What are signs of engine failure? ›

Ignoring such an incident could lead to your motor sustaining permanent damage and reaching the end of its life sooner than you ever expected.
  • Check Engine Light (also known as the CEL) ...
  • Loss of Power. ...
  • Gas Mileage Drop-Off. ...
  • Unfamiliar Noises. ...
  • Engine Stalling. ...
  • Engine Continues Running With the Ignition Off.

What would happen to your vehicle if you never change your oil? ›

Oil absorbs heat from the engine components to avoid overheating. Without fresh oil, your vehicle's pistons can weld themselves to the cylinders. Without regular oil changes, dirt and debris can build up and inhibit the engine.

Is it OK to go 1 year without an oil change? ›

“While synthetic generally holds up better and can serve for more miles, it is equally important to not extend oil changes beyond the time interval recommended by the manufacturer—typically six months or a year if it is a motor that is not driven many miles or on many short trips.”

Can I go 3000 miles over my oil change? ›

Most carmakers abandoned the 3,000-mile (4,828-kilometer) interval long ago, opting instead to advise their customers to go 5,000 or 7,500 miles (8,046 or 12,070 kilometers) between oil changes [source: MEMA]. Some people even go 10,000 miles (16,093 kilometers) or more without any guilt -- or damage to the engine.

Can a car go 6 months without an oil change? ›

Oil, like anything, degrades over time, and if you have oil degrading in your engine for months and months and months, that's not good for your vehicle. Bad oil could cause any number of costly issues, so if it has been six or so months and you haven't had your oil changed, make an appointment today.

Can a car go 5000 miles without oil change? ›

Today, most manufacturers recommend oil changes between 5,000 and 10,000 miles — sometimes more with synthetic motor oils. Some manufacturers may list a time interval, as well, which can be six months or a year.

Is time or mileage more important for oil change? ›

So, if you've hardly driven at all in six months or longer and haven't hit that 3,000 or 5,000 mile threshold, it is still recommended to change your oil anyway. Oil always degrades over time, so the quality of the oil continues to deteriorate as the months progress.

What is the longest oil change interval? ›

The shortest oil change interval is 5,000 miles, and the longest is 15,000 miles. When it comes to scheduling your oil changes, the first and most important rule is to reference your owner's manual.

Can you really go 20000 miles without oil change? ›

Oil companies and automakers would like you to change your oil at 15,000 or 20,000 miles, especially with high-quality synthetic oils. Still, there are real dangers in adopting such long oil change intervals, especially if your car wasn't made for it.

Can you go a few hundred miles over oil change? ›

If the bulk of your mileage is highway miles then yes absolutely. If you go 300 miles over the manufacturers oil change guideline you're fine, provided your engine oil level is in the normal range.

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