Making sure you change the oil in your car regularly is your best game plan to keep your car’s engine healthy and running for a long time.
You were headed home yesterday after a round of golf when you noticed your oil change light had come on. Your first reaction was “oh, not again.” Changing oil every 3,000 miles (or at whatever interval your owner’s manual advises) just seems so over eager and a bit fanatical. You’re wondering if you can just skip this oil change.
The short answer is yes, you can delay or even forego an oil change. But doing so could harm your engine in a big way.
U.S. News and World Report explains: “Oil will break down over time due to high temperatures in the engine (known as thermal breakdown). Because of this, the oil isn’t capable of providing the necessary lubrication for metal parts after an extended period of use. Without lubrication, the moving joints in the engine will start rubbing against each other and cause premature wear. Oil also has a limited capacity on how much particulates it can hold. By not changing the oil, particles already in the oil will begin to settle and cause corrosion.”
That isn’t all. U.S. News adds, “One of the biggest dangers of not changing your oil is sludge buildup. Sludge occurs when old oil begins to gel or solidify in an engine. When sludge begins to build up, oil isn’t able to flow freely through the engine and can cause oil starvation to crankshafts, bearings, camshafts, and other valve train components not be lubricated. In time, this can cause major damage to the engine and, in the worst situations, require an engine replacement or rebuild.”
The bad news, according to U.S. News is that, if you skip an oil change, it’s virtually impossible to tell if you’ve damaged your engine. You might be lucky and your engine might be unharmed. More likely, you’ve caused some sort of wear or sludge buildup. Your best bet at this point is to get the oil changed and ask your auto care pro to perform a leak down or vacuum test to see if there are signs of potential problems. If so, your auto care mechanic can advise you on ways to prolong your engine life going forward.
If you don’t have a regular auto care specialist you can trust, talk with the reliable auto care and auto repair pros at one of Madison Auto Care’s seven conveniently located NAPA service centers: Clausen Auto, Handel Auto, Genin’s Auto, Capitol Tire, Odana Tire, Hansen’s Auto, or Aeschbach Auto.
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