How Long Can A Car Go Without An Oil Change

How Long Can A Car Go Without An Oil Change

Last Updated on May 30, 2023 by Chase Manhattan

Combustion engines require an oil change regularly. Unlike with electrical vehicles, drivers need to worry about not missing the schedule for changing oil. Every car owner should know when their car needs an oil change.

Engine oil change cycles depend on the type of engine the car has. Most cars require an oil change after 7000 miles. Engines that use synthetic oil require an oil change after 12 000 miles. After missing the oil change cycle, a car should not pass over 2000 miles. 

Every car engine works differently, some use more oil, some use less oil. Some engines can go longer without an oil change, some less. So, as a responsible car owner, you need to find out how much oil the engine uses. Additionally, it’s important to regularly check your oil levels.

With that being said, here are some tips and tricks to help you understand how engine oil change works. How long can a car go without an oil change?

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How Often To Change Oil In A Car

How Often To Change Oil In A Car

A common misconception is that oil refilling and oil changing are the same things. Every time you change the oil, you need to refill the oil as well. But every time you refill oil doesn’t mean that you need to change the oil.

Some cars require an oil refill between oil change cycles. These cars can go much longer without an oil change. Cars that do not require an oil refill need more oil change cycles.

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For regular oil change cycles, you need to know your car’s engine type, the oil it uses, and if it needs oil refills. 

Let’s explain the difference between an oil refill and an oil change. When you refill oil, you just add more oil to the engine. It’s as simple as that, you open the hood, you find the oil tank, and you add oil.

Oil changing is a bit different. Changing the oil is a process where the old oil is removed from the engine, and then adding new fresh oil. It’s done by letting the old oil drip out.

Cars that use conventional use should have an oil change after 5000-7000 miles. Cars that use synthetic oil or synthetic blends should have an oil change after 9000-12000 miles.

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Used, burned oil gets bad after a certain amount of time. Burned oil turns into chunks of goo that prevent the oil from cooling the engine and greasing all the metal parts.

Why is this important though? Well, missing oil refills may be the reason why a car needs more oil change cycles than usually. That’s why you need to know your car.

Once you know that, you can figure out how often you need to change the oil in your car. You can find this information in the car’s manual. Otherwise, just ask a mechanic that has experience maintaining your car model.

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How Long Can You Drive Without An Oil Change

How Long Can You Drive Without An Oil Change

Due to financial reasons, pure laziness, or a lack of nearby mechanics, car owners put off an oil change. It’s very common for car owners to do an oil change later than they should.

You shouldn’t put off an oil change but sometimes you just can’t visit a mechanic, regardless of the reason.

Don’t worry though missing an oil change isn’t that dangerous as long as you don’t make a habit out of it.

You can drive an extra 2000 miles without an engine oil change. After those 200 miles, you should do an oil change as soon as possible.

If you miss an oil change once, your car should be fine as long as you do the change after 2000 miles.

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Why Cars Need Engine Oil

Why Cars Need Engine Oil

Oil is one of the critical things that a car can’t run without. Still, there’s no substitute for engine oil. Every car with a combustion engine uses oil and needs an oil change.

If you understand why oil is so important for cars, you will get serious with your oil change cycles. Why do cars need engine oil?

  • Oil has multiple purposes in the function of the car. 
  • The oil lubricates the engine parts. 
    Car engines have a lot of metal parts that grind against each other. This wouldn’t be possible without good lubrication. That’s where the oil comes in, it makes sure the parts stay undamaged from the friction.
  • Oil acts as an engine coolant. 
    Even with the oil, the friction from the engine moving parts creates a lot of heat. Here’s another function of engine oil, it cools all the moving parts. It basically prevents the engine from overheating. It regulates the desired temperature in the engine.

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Why Do Cars Need An Oil Change

Now that we’ve explained why cars need oil, we also need to explain why that oil needs to be changed.

As already mentioned, the moving parts in the engine create heat. All that heat burns the oil and turns it into sludge, a gooey substance.

When the oil turns into sludge, it’s not able to lubricate the engine parts nor cool the engine. More importantly, burned oil collects dust which causes damage to the engine.

That’s why you need to remove old, burned oil and replace it with a new one. Not replacing the old oil will eventually result in engine damage. And, if that happens, you basically need a new car.

So, make sure to always replace engine oil in time.

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Related Questions And Other FAQs

What Are Overdue Oil Change Symptoms

When a car runs with old, burned-up oil, it will show decreased performance. Some signs of overdue oil change are bad fuel efficiency, black gooed-up oil, a symbol on the dashboard, and a burning smell.

Can You Go A Year Without An Oil Change

No, you can’t go a year without an oil change. Even if you are not using the car, the oil will turn stale and bad. Usually, engine oil is changed after 7000-9000 miles. Or, after a year if the car has not passed those miles. You should change your car’s oil every year along with the air filter.

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