What Happens to Your Car When You Skip an Oil Change | Scott's Fort Collins Auto

What Happens to Your Car When You Skip an Oil Change

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Motor oil doesn’t last long, which means that after you drive a certain amount of miles you’ll need to get it changed. Your car’s oil helps keep your engine lubricated, has detergents to break up deposits, and more. If you are due for an oil change but think “I’ll just skip it and do it later,” you could be causing permanent damage to your car.

Understanding Oil 

All traditional vehicles need oil, but do you know why? Essentially, engine oil serves as a lubricant to help things move around. Additionally, it also helps fight corrosion and overheating. When you have the oil placed into your car, it then travels throughout the engine to parts that need constant lubrication. The parts you can typically find oil at are the: 

  • Oil pump, which carries the oil through the engine 
  • Filter, which removes contaminants to keep the engine clean 
  • Pressure relief valve, which allows oil to go directly to the engine 
  • Spurt hole, which carries oil to the cylinder walls 
  • Galleries, which allows the oil through to all parts 
  • Sump, which is essentially a pan the bottom of the engine that holds oil when it’s not moving around the engine 

The oil’s first job is to lubricate and coat all moving parts within the engine so they glide against each other. Secondly, the oil also works to clean the engine and get it free of debris that can build up along these parts. It’s because of this that you need to change the oil regularly. 

Why You Have to Change Oil Regularly

Oil isn’t made to last forever, so it has to be changed frequently. Overtime, oil breaks down due to high temperatures. Once it begins to breakdown, the oil can’t work as normal to lubricate the various parts. Along with this, the oil can also settle and cause corrosion, which can cause immense damage to your car. 

US News explains that one of the biggest dangers of not changing the oil on time is sludge buildup. Sludge happens when oil oil solidifies in an engine. When sludge builds up, oil isn’t able to flow as normal through the engine, which means those parts aren’t being coated and conditioned. This can cause irreparable damage to the engine, meaning you risk having to have your engine replaced. 

Risks of Skipping an Oil Change

By now you know that skipping an oil change can cause damage to your car, however, do you know what to look out for? If you’re past due for an oil change, keep an eye out for these signs

  • Your oil light is on – it’s easy for us to ignore these lights, but if this light comes on you should get your oil changed as soon as possible.
  • Weird noises – it’s never a good sign to hear weird sounds coming from the engine, so if you begin to hear parts clanking together it could mean that the oil isn’t doing it’s job as a lubricator.
  • Dark oil – typically, oil is an amber color and you should be able to slightly see through it. When you’re past due for a change, the oil will become dark and dirty. To best notice this, check your oil on your own once a month. 
  • Oil smell – if you smell oil, you probably have a leak. If you smell gas or exhaust fumes, that means your car could be overheating. You need to seek help from a professional to get to the bottom of the problem.
  • Exhaust smoke – if you notice smoke coming out of your car’s tailpipe, your engine needs to be checked as there could be an oil leak.

A good rule of thumb to prevent these signs of an oil problem is to have your oil changed every 6,000 miles for more modern cars. If you notice any of these things happening to your car, make an appointment with Scott’s Auto now. 

Oil Change, Filters, & Lube

Sometimes it feels like every time you turn around it’s time for an oil change. We know this is just another thing to add into your schedule, but we work quick to try and make it as painless as possible. If you’re due for an oil change, call Scott’s. Our team can have you in and out in as little time as possible, and, with two convenient locations, it’s easier than ever to stop by.

During the time of COVID-19, we are now offering the following FREE services:

  • No contact drop off and pick up 
  • Pick up and delivery in the Fort Collins and Loveland area
  • Towing with repair (restrictions apply) 

Call us now to learn more! Fort Collins: (970)-682-4202 or Loveland: (970)-541-4404.

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