What Happens When You Skip Oil Changes?

The much-repeated saying is that you should get your oil changed every 3,000 miles or three months. On modern cars that use synthetic oil, the limit is much higher. Skipping those oil changes, no matter how frequently (or infrequently) your owner’s manual says they are needed, is a recipe for trouble. Going a long time between oil changes (thousands of miles past the due date) is like playing with fire.

Engine Oil Checkup

Here’s why oil is the lifeblood of your car…

image - mechanic laying under car draining oil into a pan.In order to help them diagnose what is ailing you, a doctor will have you go to the lab to have blood drawn and analyzed. The lab will run it through a bevy of tests to determine how you compare to a baseline on certain things, and what might seem out of the ordinary. Basically, the condition of your blood gives the doctor clues to your overall health, as well as to more specific things.

Engine oil can be analyzed and used in the same way to help diagnose problems, or explain trouble symptoms, with your car. For instance, high concentrations of iron indicate that steel engine parts, such as the camshaft and cylinder liners, are not properly lubricated and wearing out. Metal content collects in the oil, and the oil filter eventually becomes overwhelmed and incapable of filtering the metal out of the oil. Traces of other metals in the oil can indicate the need for an oil change – and possibly other repairs. Chrome indicates ring or gasket wear. Aluminum is from pistons and bearings. Silicon might be dirt, and means the air filtration system should be checked.

Of course, you should not wait so long that such an analysis of the oil is what it takes for you to realize your car is in desperate need of an oil change. With the evolution of engines, the general rule today is every 3,000 to 10,000 miles.

Oil Lubricates and Cleans the Engine

What does engine oil do and where does it go?

Oil is a lubricant and prevents metal engine parts from coming into contact with each other. If parts do come into unintended contact, the engine can overheat and eventually the metal parts wear out, break, or even melt. Oil contains detergents that lift out contaminants and carry them to your oil filter, where the dirt is filtered out of the oil.

What Happens When You Skip Oil Changes
Pouring oil into the engine is one thing, but do you know where it goes or what parts actually get lubricated? Check out this image that shows the parts and areas of the engine that the oil runs through, lubricates, and protects.

Oil eventually wears out and needs to be changed.

Oil is subject to consistently high temperatures and breaks down over time. Sludge can form throughout the engine, making it difficult for oil to flow between moving metal parts. Viscosity modifiers also break down over time, which makes the oil thinner and less effective at lubricating moving parts at high temperatures. Also, metal, dirt, and other particulates build up in the oil, much of which is too small to be captured by the filter. Over time, detergents and additives meant to combat the contaminants and dirt will break down become less able to protect the engine. The oil becomes abrasive and speeds up wear on vital parts and systems, and shortens the life of the engine.

Get an Oil Change

You can prevent all of this by – you guessed it – flushing out the crud with an oil change. If you don’t change your oil and oil filter, eventually the filter will stop working and dirt will accumulate in the engine, contaminate the oil, and compromise its ability to lubricate and clean. Over time, even the best oil will lose its lubricating and cleansing qualities. Because of all the dirt and abrasive crud in the oil, metal engine parts will experience severe wear, risking failure and potential damage to the engine. Eventually, the whole engine will seize up and stop working, maybe even catch fire.

Conventional Oil or Synthetic?image - engine oil pouring out of bottle

The next big question is what kind of oil should you use? AAMCO Minnesota can help you make the right choice. Check out this great infographic to help you understand the different kinds of oil and which to use in your engine.

Come to AAMCO Minnesota for All Your Car Maintenance & Repairs

Now that you know the importance of regular oil changes, it’s probably a good idea to come by your locally owned and operated AAMCO Minnesota Transmission and Car Repair Center for an oil and filter change or a multi-point inspection. Whatever you drive, you can count on AAMCO Minnesota Transmission and Total Car Care to service and repair your automobile.

If you have questions about your car’s engine, oil changes, or about car repair and maintenance, AAMCO Minnesota can help. Stop by or call a local AAMCO Minnesota repair shop for a Multi Point Vehicle Courtesy Check for your transmission and related systems. We’ll winterize your car and get you ready for the cold, snowy winter driving months ahead. We can handle all your scheduled car maintenance and repairs, from brakes to factory recommended maintenance.

Other Articles About Car Maintenance & Repair

Checklist for Preparing Your Car for Winter

Take the Fear Out of Transmission Repair

Daydreaming on Your Cell Phone While Rubbernecking

Watch this video and learn why there is only one place to go – AAMCO. We’re the transmission experts with over 50 years of experience rebuilding and replacing transmissions, and all their 800 pieces. We’ve fixed over 40 million transmissions – way more than our competitors. And we offer a lifetime warranty. Because we have the skill to fix an 800-piece transmission, we can easily fix the rest of your car – brakes, shocks, mufflers, even your engine. Lots of things can make your engine light come on. Today it can be hard to tell what’s wrong with your car, especially if it’s your transmission. Our technicians are trained to keep up with the complex engineering of today’s cars. So, next time something goes wrong with your transmission or any other part of your car, bring it to your local AAMCO.

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Mission Statement

Our mission is to provide the best auto repair and maintenance in Minnesota. With 6 convenient locations and nearly 50 years in business, you can count on your locally-owned Minnesota AAMCO Center to provide expert transmission repair, brake service, tune-ups, oil and filter changes, electrical system repair, fluid service, and much more for your car, truck, or SUV.

Our comprehensive 36-step ProtectCheck® Inspection, expert technicians, and no-nonsense pay-only-for-what-you-need approach makes us the most trusted name in car care. Come see why people who know go to AAMCO.

If you would like to schedule an appointment, please visit here

 

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