Your cart is currently empty.
pedal commander
pedal commander

What Happens If You Don't Change Your Engine Oil in Time?

As a responsible car owner, it is of the utmost importance to remain consistently aware of your engine's requirements in order to guarantee its durability and performance. If you are aware of when to change the oil, you will be better equipped to preserve your engine from premature wear and damage. This will eventually save you time, money, and hassles in the big picture.

In this article, we discuss what happens if you don’t change your engine oil in time. If you don’t change your engine oil in time, you may have to face many serious problems, from overheating to engine damage. So buckle up and prepare to explore what happens if you don’t change your engine oil in time!

oil change dashboard light

Buildup of Contaminants

Engine oil flows through the engine, collecting dirt, metal particles, and other impurities. Over time, these impurities can build up in the oil, resulting in the formation of sludge. Regularly changing the oil is crucial to prevent the accumulation of sludge, which can cause blockages in the oil passages, hinder oil flow, and compromise the engine's lubrication and protection.

Reduced Lubrication and Increased Friction

Engine oil is essential for ensuring the smooth operation of various engine components, including pistons, crankshaft bearings, and camshafts. As oil ages, it undergoes thermal and chemical degradation, causing it to lose its viscosity and lubricating properties. In the absence of adequate lubrication, metal surfaces may come into contact, resulting in heightened friction and wear. This situation can lead to excessive wear on engine components, resulting in a shorter lifespan and potentially premature failure.


As time goes on, the oil gradually loses its effectiveness in absorbing and dispersing heat due to contamination. This can lead to elevated operating temperatures within the engine, potentially causing the oil to break down due to heat. When oil deteriorates as a result of overheating, its lubrication capabilities diminish, leading to increased friction and wear on engine components.

Corrosion and Rust

Engine oil is formulated with additives that provide protection against corrosion and rust on metal surfaces. However, these additives may diminish over time, particularly if the oil is not changed on a regular basis. It is crucial to ensure proper protection for the metal surfaces within the engine to prevent corrosion and rust. Failure to do so can result in additional damage and deterioration of engine components.

Engine Malfunction

In the end, the combination of decreased lubrication, heightened friction, excessive heat, and the buildup of deposits can result in severe engine damage. These issues can arise, resulting in pistons seizing, bearings spinning, cylinder walls scoring, or other significant mechanical problems that can leave the engine unable to function. In such situations, extensive repairs or engine replacement may be required, leading to substantial costs and inconvenience for the vehicle owner.

Invalidated Vehicle Warranty

It is important to change the oil in your vehicle regularly to maintain your warranty. Warranty provisions often require owners to follow the maintenance schedules recommended by the manufacturer. If you do not meet these requirements and damage or failure of covered components results, the warranty may become void, and you may be held accountable for the repair expenses.

What are the Signs Your Car Needs An Oil Change?

Recognizing the symptoms that your vehicle requires an oil change is critical for keeping the engine healthy and avoiding potential harm. Let us look at the oil change signs below:

oil change
  • Exhaust Smoke: Excessive smoke from your vehicle's exhaust could indicate the engine oil is past its prime. Old, deteriorating oil might leak into the combustion chamber and burn alongside the fuel, resulting in blue or greyish smoke coming from the tailpipe.
  • Oil Smell Inside the Car: A strong smell of burnt oil inside your vehicle's cabin may suggest an oil leak or that oil is leaking into the engine compartment and heating up, generating a detectable smell. This may necessitate prompt action to prevent further engine damage.
  • Loud Engine Noise: As the oil ages and degrades, it loses its capacity to lubricate properly, resulting in increased friction and louder engine noise as metal components rub against one another.
  • Dashboard Warning Light: Modern automobiles include oil change indicator lights or check engine lights that indicate when to change the oil.
  • Reduced Performance: Sluggish acceleration and decreased power output are common indicators of an oil change.
  • Oil Level Dropping: If you notice a substantial fall in oil level over a short period of time, it could be the result of an oil leak or excessive oil consumption caused by engine problems.
  • Metallic sheen in Oil: If you notice a metallic sheen while changing your oil, it could be due to metal particles suspended in the oil. This indicates engine components have undergone significant wear and tear, demanding further evaluation and possible repairs.

When Should You Change Your Oil?

Typically, oil changes are recommended every 3,000 miles or every 3 to 6 months. However, this interval has been extended to 5,000 to 10,000 miles or every six months to a year with modern vehicles and advanced oils such as synthetic oil. Nevertheless, differences in driving conditions, including challenging temperatures, frequent stops-and-go traffic, towing, or off-road terrain, might require more frequent oil changes. It is crucial to regularly inspect the level and quality of your engine oil.

when to oil change

FAQs About Oil Change

Is it possible to switch between different types or brands of oil during oil changes?

Using the same type and brand of oil is advisable to maintain consistency and compatibility with your vehicle's engine. Nevertheless, if you find yourself needing to change oil types or brands, it is important to make sure that the new oil aligns with the specifications advised by the vehicle manufacturer. This will help prevent any potential problems that may arise.

Should the oil filter be replaced each time the oil is changed?

It is generally advised to replace the oil filter when you get an oil change. The oil filter is designed to effectively eliminate any impurities and particles present in the oil, guaranteeing that the engine receives the best possible lubrication and operates at peak performance levels. Ensuring a clean and unobstructed oil filter is crucial to maintaining optimal oil flow and preventing potential engine damage.

Is it typical for my vehicle to use oil between oil changes?

It is expected to have a certain level of oil consumption between oil changes, especially in older vehicles or those with high mileage. Nevertheless, an excessive amount of oil consumption may be a sign of underlying engine problems that require immediate attention. These issues could include leaks, worn piston rings, or valve seal problems.