What Happens if You Don’t Change Your Oil? Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late!

October 20th, 2021 by

Most car owners have been tempted to drive a few more miles and skip that oil change. But do you know how bad missing a car engine oil change can be for your vehicle? Despite being an essential car maintenance activity, most people are guilty of postponing an oil change while convincing themselves it won’t cause much damage. At Sweeney Cars, we want you to enjoy your car for as long as possible, so read up on the importance of routine engine oil changes.

What Does Engine Oil Do?

Oil is the engine’s lifeblood. It lubricates the moving parts while circulating around the engine and absorbing and driving heat from individual engine parts. Typically, engine oil gets pumped through the filter and onto the bearings, valve train, piston, and other engine parts. After that, it flows back to the oil pan for recycling, taking heat from the engine parts with it.

Besides lubricating and cooling the engine, oil contains additives for keeping engine components clean. For example, most motor oils include antioxidants to prevent oxidation, thus minimizing wear and tear. Some even have dispersants that bind to engine debris, such as carbon deposits, to prevent blockage.

As it does its work in the engine, oil often picks up dirt and other pieces of debris. If it gets too dirty, it will undoubtedly become ineffective. Likewise, keeping the motor free of debris goes a long way toward enhancing its life span. That’s why it’s essential to schedule regular oil engine changes.

What are the Dangers of Skipping an Oil Change?

Each car manufacturer recommends oil changes after a specified number of miles. Failing to stick to the prescribed oil change interval can have several repercussions, including:

Wear and Tear of Engine Components

A car engine comprises many moving parts that need constant lubrication. By lubricating these components, engine oil helps reduce their wear and tear. Once the prescribed oil change interval lapses, the engine oil quality starts to deteriorate. This is because it can no longer lubricate the moving parts from friction properly. You might be faced with the expense of replacing worn-out parts or, worse, the entire engine.


Your car’s coolant system alone cannot keep temperatures in the engine block low. In this regard, engine oil reaches places the coolant doesn’t. With continuous use and exposure to heat, engine oil breaks down and becomes thicker. The thermal breakdown prevents oil from absorbing heat as it should, increasing the risk of overheating. Engine parts might warp over time, and the gasket becomes at risk of blowing.

Debris Buildup

One of oil’s most important functions is cleaning the inside of the engine block. It clears debris and small particles to ensure the motor runs smoothly. With time, however, the oil accumulates particles that render it ineffective. When this happens, debris will plug the oil channels and cause the engine to lose its power.

Suppose you fail to change your engine oil as recommended — it will solidify or gel inside the engine block and eventually turn into sludge. Hence, oil won’t flow to all engine parts, which starves essential components such as camshafts, bearings, and crankshafts of life-giving oil. Ultimately, the entire engine can suffer serious damage.

Higher Fuel Consumption

For many drivers, fuel consumption is one of their biggest worries behind the wheel. Many don’t realize regular engine oil changes can improve their gas mileage. When engine oil turns into sludge, the motor must work harder to provide adequate power. It also requires more fuel to produce the same amount of engine power.

Sludge accumulation in the motor means the vehicle might release toxic fumes as the old engine oil burns. As a result, you might end up violating Ohio’s stringent Air Pollution Control Law and put yourself at the risk of being fined.

Voided Vehicle Warranty

The greatest perk of purchasing a new car from our dealerships in Youngstown, Ohio, is it comes with a warranty that guarantees your peace of mind. Nevertheless, failure to have the car serviced regularly (which includes an oil change) means you’re breaking the terms of your warranty. In this scenario, the vehicle manufacturer might render it null and void.

At Sweeney Cars, we provide scheduled and pickup and drop-off car service. We only use manufacturer-approved engine oil to ensure your car keeps running for as long as possible and its warranty remains intact. Our technicians keep detailed records of your car’s maintenance history should you ever need to provide the documents.

Total Engine Failure

Blown Head Gasket on car engine

Image via Flickr by tonylanciabeta

Undoubtedly, this is every car owner’s worst nightmare. Often, engine failure happens over time, especially if you avoid changing the oil for too long. With nothing left to lubricate the engine parts or remove debris, continuous contact between the metallic engine parts will cause severe and irreversible damage. Ultimately, you’ll blow a gasket or the entire engine will seize up and stop working.

When driving in Youngstown, especially on Interstate 680, it’s common to come across motorists with blown head gaskets by the road. Poor oil engine change scheduling is one of the main culprits. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do about a blown gasket or seized engine. You’ll be forced to pay for a costly repair, which could be precariously close to purchasing a new car.

Key Takeaways

As a car owner, you likely have many questions about your vehicle’s maintenance and well-being, like what happens if you skip an oil change. Just know it’s never a good idea and can result in costly repairs. The good news is changing your engine oil is affordable and typically takes less than 30 minutes.

Now that you understand the significance of changing your engine oil, it’s time to think about scheduling your next service with Sweeney Cars. We’re the go-to professionals for engine oil changes and general car service in Youngstown, Ohio. We specialize in Buicks, Chevrolets and GMCs, but our skilled technicians can work on any new or used car. Call us or visit our state-of-the-art facilities to learn more.

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