What Happens If You Don’t Change Your Oil?

man servicing an oil change

Oil is one of your vehicle’s essential fluids. It provides lubrication for all of the tiny parts in your engine to ensure that they run properly and that your vehicle can produce the performance that’s expected of it. If you’ve missed one or two of your scheduled maintenance visits, you may be wondering “What happens if you don’t get your oil changed?” In short, your engine’s performance will suffer, and if you don’t replace it for a long period of time, you risk facing a major repair from damaged or seized parts. 

Learn more about what happens if you don’t change your oil with Dick Hannah RAM below, and if it’s time for an oil change, schedule an appointment with our service department

What Does Motor Oil Do?

So, what does motor oil do? Motor oil is a lubricant for your engine. It ensures that there is no friction between engine components and that your vehicle is running efficiently. You can read more about the different roles oil can play in your engine below:

  • Motor oil reduces wear and tear on the moving parts in your engine. 
  • Motor oil that comes with dispersants is designed to clean sludge from the engine, as well as varnish.
  • When changed regularly, motor oil can help neutralize acids that form from fuels, improve piston ring seals, and cool the engine by moving heat away

As motor oil ages, it begins to separate and break down. This makes it less effective as a lubricant, plus it makes it easier for tiny debris to pollute the oil which then moves into your engine and may clog its parts. If your oil cannot lubricate properly and it’s filled with debris, the heat in your engine will build, causing it to overheat and potentially cause some parts to be damaged or seize together. This type of damage can lead to a costly repair – or it may cause the vehicle to be inoperable altogether. 

How Often Should I Change My Vehicle’s Oil?

Now that you know what happens if you don’t get your oil changed, you’re probably wondering how often you should change your oil. Generally, most vehicles can go 7,500 – 10,000 miles between oil changes. However, if you use your vehicle for high-performance jobs on your Portland job site or if you like to take it racing on a track near Beaverton, then you’ll need to have your oil changed more often. The best way to gauge when you need your oil changed is to check your owner’s manual. 

How Do I Change the Oil Myself?

If you’re a DIY home mechanic – or if you just want to save some money – changing your oil at home is easy! Follow the steps below and you’ll have your car back on Hillsboro roads in no time! 

  1. Jack your car up with a car jack or steel ramps.
  2. Secure your car with jack stands or wheel blocks.
  3. Find the oil drain plug on the bottom of your oil pan underneath your engine. 
  4. Place an oil basin or a large tub directly underneath the plug, unscrew the plug and allow the old oil to drain out completely – this may take up to 15 minutes. When all the oil has drained, replace the plug. Keep the oil basin or tub underneath your car.
  5. Locate your oil filter underneath your engine, and remove it with an oil filter wrench. Expect a bit of extra oil to drain out when you remove the filter.
  6. Grab your new filter and rub a bit of car oil around the rubber seal – this is an essential step to ensure your filter is watertight and won’t dry out prematurely. 
  7. Set the new filter in place, then tighten it by hand
  8. With your old oil drained and a new filter in place, you can remove the cap to your oil well. Pour in the specified amount of new oil, which you can find in your owner’s manual. 
  9. Replace the cap to your oil well.
  10. Check the oil level by using the dipstick. If you’re still low, add another ounce and check the level again. Once you get a proper oil level reading, you’re ready to go!

Get Your Vehicle Serviced at Dick Hannah RAM!

Now that you know more about what happens if you don’t get your oil changed, stop by Dick Hannah RAM to have your vehicle serviced and inspected for any damages. Make sure to browse our Vancouver service tips for more step by step guides on DIY vehicle maintenance. If you have any questions, reach out to us and our service experts will help you however they can! We look forward to working with you!

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