A surprising number of people here in the Chapel Hill, NC area think that their cars and trucks can safely drive farther than recommended between oil changes. But, even if you’re diligent about topping it up and keeping the right amount of oil in your engine, it’s still very important to follow the proper oil change schedule to avoid performance problems and the potential for more serious issues. There’s lots of bad information out there about oil change timing, so don’t trust anything but the advice you get from your Chapel Hill oil change experts at Auto Pro To Call. Here is a list of the problems you could face if you drive too far between oil changes, ranked from the most minor to the most extreme.
1. Reduced Performance & Economy
Engine oil is designed to reduce the friction between all of the metal parts in your engine. This keeps your engine running cooler and more efficiently, allowing it to deliver peak performance. As you drive, your engine oil picks up tiny metal shavings that are created by all of that metal-on-metal friction. This is especially the case with newer and low-mileage cars. These metal shavings are usually filtered out by your oil filter, but they will build up and start to increase the friction in your engine over time. This robs your engine of some of its performance and hurts your fuel economy, costing you more at the pump.
2. Harmful Engine Buildup
Old oil can allow sludge, dirt, and debris to build up on metal surfaces within your engine, especially if you’ve overdue for an oil change. This buildup can begin to make it harder for your engine to run properly. It can also allow corrosion and oxidation, harming your engine’s sensitive moving parts. All of this drains power and fuel economy from your engine and could lead to more serious problems if your oil isn’t changed regularly.
3. Excess Heat
Oil helps cool your engine as it’s lubricating it and help protecting it from dirt and sludge. This means that running your car on low oil or very old oil can allow heat to build up in sensitive parts, which could lead to warping and damage. Too much heat can cause one or more cylinders to lose pressure in addition to valve and timing problems, or even major failure of cylinder rings, valves, or other engine components. You can also run the risk of overheating your engine, in extreme cases.
4. Oil Filter Clogs
When you get your oil changed, you’re also getting your oil filter changed, which is an important part of keeping your engine running right. Going too long between oil changes can let your oil filter build up metal shavings and sludge, and it will eventually clog altogether. This will usually open a bypass valve so oil can continue to circulate, but it will be unfiltered oil. Over time, your oil will get thicker and thicker, which can strain your oil pump and sap your engine’s performance noticeably. Eventually, you could go dry and cause your engine to lock up or throw a rod.
5. Valve Problems
Running too little oil or extremely old, sludgy oil in your car’s engine will harm its valve train over time. This could cause a more noticeable “ticking” sound that we never like to hear. Eventually, it could even cause your valves to warp or fail altogether, making one or more of your car’s cylinders useless. These are often expensive repairs that can be avoided easily with regular maintenance from your trusted ASE-certified mechanics here at Auto Pro To Call!
6. Major Failures
In the most extreme cases of avoiding an oil change, engines can experience major failures. These include valve failures, as we’ve mentioned, but it can also involve engine overheating, cylinder ring breakage, connecting rod failure, and other major part warping and damage. Allowing an engine to run dry is a recipe for total disaster, often requiring a full engine replacement, which can cost you thousands.
Don’t Let It Happen to You!
All of these problems, from the most minor to the most major, can be avoided by having your oil and oil filter changed regularly by a trained professional. When it comes to oil changes here in the Chapel Hill, NC area, it doesn’t get any better than Auto Pro To Call! All you have to do is call us today at (919) 251-5438 or schedule your oil change online, and we’ll handle the rest. We’ll make it as easy as possible.