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Every car owner should carry out regular maintenance. One of the services that often gets overlooked is the oil change. Oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle, and it gets deteriorated and dirt over time. How long can you go before your car starts having problems? It is a problem between quality and time of use.
Like most car owners, you probably think about changing your oil every few months. Some car dealerships recommend 3 or 6 months, but more frequently, it will be more costly to you. But do you know that you can go quite a bit longer between changes without causing any damage to your engine?
This post will explore how long you can go without an oil change and what factors might influence that time frame. We’ll also give tips for ensuring your car stays in good condition during oil changes. So read on to learn more.
In This Article:
How Long Can You Go Without An Oil Change?
Engine oil change time depends on several factors, such as engine type, driving conditions, and the type of motor oil used. Light vehicles such as cars, SUVs, and trucks require frequent and heavy-duty engines do not require frequent motor oil changes.
Most modern cars’ dashboards indicate the right time to change the oil. However, that indicator does not check the oil purity once it reaches the manufacturer’s recommended mileage, the dashboard indicator triggers.
How long can a car go without an oil change (cars, trucks, and SUVs)?
How long a car goes without an oil change depends on the engine and the type of motor oil used. The recommended motor oil change interval for light vehicles (passenger cars, SUVs, or trucks) is usually every 7,500 miles (12,000km) or once a year, whichever comes first. However, you can go over 7,500 miles with modern synthetic blended lubricants. Full-synthetic motor oil can give you 10,000 or even 15,000 miles (16,000 to 24,000km). This mileage varies by vehicle age and driving conditions.
For most modern cars, manufacturers recommend synthetic-blended oils or fully synthetic oils. These oils are more advance than conventional mineral-based motor oil. If your vehicle is large, regularly towing, driven under very high loads, and in stop-and-go traffic, you should ideally check your oil every six months or 12 to avoid excessive wear on the engine. When shopping for new motor oil, always use the engine manufacturer’s recommended SAE grade and API service categories to get the best performance.
Heavy-duty engine oil change intervals.
Heavy-duty engine oil change periods typically 13,000-16,000 miles (20,000km to 25,000km). These heavy-duty engines, such as commercial transportation and agriculture vehicles, are built to handle larger loads. These engines develop sludge more than passenger vehicles. Therefore more detergents and dispersant additives are needed to remove and clean sludge from combustion engines.
These engines operate high temperatures than passenger cars and small trucks and have lower RPMs. Therefore these engines need thicker motor oils than thinner ones.
Oil changes (and other kinds of car services) are pretty expensive. Changing oil is not an extremely complex process, and you can drain the old fluid and refill your oil reservoir with fresh motor oil. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommended SAE grade and API service classification when choosing new oil.
New car engine first oil change time.
Changing brand-new car motor oil every 1,000 to 1,500 miles or within the car manufacturer’s specified period is recommended. Generally, every manufacturer specifies the first service period and strictly follows that guideline otherwise, your car warranty may be void.
The reason for a sooner motor oil change is that brand-new engine parts wearing can be higher than the old car at the initial stage. Therefore, fresh oil can be contaminated with impurities.
What Happens If You Go Too Long Without An Oil Change?
Going too long without an oil change can cause anything from complete engine failure to damage to internal components. Some of the internal parts damage examples are increased wear on moving metal parts, clogged oil filters, and damage to plastic and rubber gaskets due to exposure to high heat. Over time this oil deteriorates due to contamination and high heat.
If you do not stick to the recommended oil change interval, we can summarize what can happen as
- Increase metal parts wearing.
- Over-heating engine.
- Thicken motor oil and build dirt.
- It increased fuel consumption.
- It clogged oil filters.
- Releases toxic smoke. (result in exhaust emissions test failure).
- The engine will sound loud.
When motor oil is used beyond the recommended period, it thinning and turns into sludge, and reduces the strength of the lubrication film on moving parts. Once this happens, the friction on the metal parts of your engine will increase and eventually increase the metal parts wearing and heating. This overheating can damage the engine’s rubber and plastic parts.
Furthermore, motor oils come with various additive chemicals to improve the base oil performance, improve the lubricant operating temperature range, and extend lifespan. Some additives are anti-wear agents, corrosion and rust inhibitors, detergents that neutralize varnish, dispersants, friction modifiers, viscosity modifiers, anti-foaming agents, antioxidants agents, and much more.
When using engine oil for a long time without changing the oil, these additives’ effectiveness reduces and can damage your engine parts and sealers, increasing corrosion and reducing overall fuel economy (gas mileage).
Going a long way without a motor oil change would cost you more than the motor oil change cost. Most cars have a light indicator on their dashboards that alert when an oil change is needed, and the light will typically go on for around 7,500 miles.
Before you change motor oil, check the owner’s manual, which contains all the accurate details about car maintenance.
The oil used for too long or gone through dirtier driving conditions needs to be changed more frequently. Motor oil changes are also critical for keeping the car’s engine clean to run efficiently and reduce metal parts wear.
What causes engine oil deterioration?
Lubricant protects your engine until it reaches its lifespan or becomes degraded. Over time, oil deteriorates because of contamination, oxidation, additives depletion, and thermal breakdown. When the motor oil thickens, it does not protect your engine’s moving parts enough, and it will speed up engine part wearing and increase heat, forming corrosion and damaging other rubber or plastic parts and oil filters. As the additives degrade, they reduce the oil’s anti-acid molecules, leading to rust and corrosion.
How Many Months Can You Go Without An Oil Change?
If you go for more than 12 months without an oil change, you run the risk of seizing your engine. Because if there is enough quality lubrication, the engine will damage. Most cars have a 12-month or 7,500-mile recommendation, and generally, synthetic oil can be used for 12 months.
Oil change intervals for older cars.
Used car’s motor oil change period is between 7,500 – 10,000 miles (12,000 – 16000 km) or once a year which comes first. The manufacturer of your vehicle determines the intervals between oil changes. Full synthetic motor oil can go 10,000 or even 15,000 miles without issues. These milages are different driving conditions and car ages.
What are the signs of deteriorated oil?
Deteriorated motor oil symptoms are oil turning thicker and darker. Most of the fresh oils are transparent and light brown. In hot climates, oil flows easily, but deteriorated oil flows very slowly. Most decayed oils are similar to black oil, and highly aged oils are less likely to flow out.
How long does oil last in a car not driven?
Cars not driven for long periods do not need an oil change once a year. A car parked in a garage in a warm climate can last about 2-3 years without changing the oil. Here you must use high-quality oil. Motor oil manufacturers recommend storing unopened motor oil for up to 5 years on shelves, including mineral-based and synthetic lubricants. (source).
How long you can go without changing your oil depends entirely on the driving you do. Motor oil breaks down over time due to excessive heat, pressure, and engine parts grinding against each other (friction) in the combustion engine. When the oil is contaminated, its thickness is reduced, and adequate protection is not provided.
The recommended motor oil change interval is usually every 7,500 miles (15,000 KM) or once a year for cars, trucks, and SUVs. When using full synthetic motor oil, it employs 10,000 milages. For heavy-duty engine vehicles like commercial vehicles, mining, and agriculture vehicles, motor oil change periods are typically 13,000-16,000 miles (20,000km to 25,000km) or once a year, whichever comes first.
We do not recommend mixing different brands of motor oil, as it reduces the thickness of the oil and causes the oil to get dirty quickly.
Always use only the engine manufacturer’s recommended motor oil API service category and the SAE motor oil grade when changing motor oil.