Simply put: your engine will suffer a hot and traumatic death. But that’s the short answer. Let’s get into exactly why this happens.
What Oil Does For Your Vehicle
Since your engine consists of numerous parts, many of which are moving at high speeds when you drive, your vehicle needs something to lubricate these components and keep everything cool. After all, this speed leads to friction, which leads to heat, which ultimately leads to damage. Engine oil keeps everything cool and running smoothly.
Eventually, your engine’s oil is going to collect a lot of dirt, grime, and harsh particulates that come off your engine. This makes your engine have to work harder, erodes and warps the engine’s components, and actually acts as a heat insulator – that’s the opposite of what you want.
Eventually, your engine will overheat, and that means the end of your engine’s life.
This is expensive – so expensive in fact that it may even be a better option to simply scrap your vehicle and purchase a new one.
When To Change Your Oil
If you have an older vehicle, it can be difficult to know the exact right time to change the oil. People often simply go by the color of the oil – if it’s dark and sludgy looking, it’s time to change it up, whereas light and transparent means it’s still good. People who really know their vehicles generally know how many miles before they need an oil change. Alternatively, many newer vehicles will tell you how much life your oil has left somewhere on the dashboard.
The general rule of thumb is to change your oil once every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, but there are some factors to consider:
- The year, make, and model of your vehicle.
- Whether you live in a generally hot or cold climate – hot climates mean more frequent oil changes.
- How you operate your vehicle – using it to haul around heavy equipment all day will require more frequent oil changes as opposed to simply driving to work and back.
When in doubt, check the owner’s manual.
Getting It Done Yourself Vs. Getting It Done Professionally
Changing your oil yourself is no major undertaking, but it can take time and end up being pretty messy. If you;ve never changed your oil or don’t have someone who can help you, it can also end up being a major inconvenience.
Taking it into an auto maintenance and repair shop is relatively inexpensive and all you have to do is hang out while they get the job done, which usually doesn’t take long. Auto shops usually will find other things in your vehicle that need maintenance that you might not have known about, such as dirty air filters or low coolant and other fluids. You can have these things fixed up as well.
It’s a satisfying feeling knowing that your vehicle is good to go for another 3,000 or so miles. Don’t put off that oil change – you won’t like what happens if you do.