As a vehicle owner, you know the importance of routine oil changes. If you read our previous blog, “Your Vehicle Needs an Oil Change,” you may even know the common indicators that your vehicle is overdue for a regular oil change.
However, many vehicle owners don’t know which repairs they may face due to long-term failure to change the oil. In this blog, we list six of the potential vehicle problems that could develop if you leave your oil unchanged for too long.
- Complete Engine Replacement
Vehicle owners who fail to change their oil for particularly long periods of time may experience many issues. However, all of these potential problems can eventually lead to one predictable result: engine failure.
Lack of oil changes can significantly reduce the life expectancy of your engine. In many cases, you may have to replace the entire engine or decide to upgrade to a different vehicle once the issue progresses too far.
- Component Corrosion
Fresh engine oil has a number of additives designed to preserve your engine components. These additives may include a cleansing detergent, anti-rust treatment, and friction reducing chemicals. If you invested in a higher quality motor oil, the oil likely has additives specific to vehicles like yours to improve performance.
Over time, the concentration of these additives decreases. When the additives are gone, your engine will become more vulnerable to corrosion of specific components. This type of corrosion can lead to failure of each of these individual parts, which necessitates replacements.
For example, when the anti-rust treatment in your engine dissipates too much, rust may begin to develop on the metal components under your hood. Over time, rust can eat away at the surface of these components, causing tank leaks and other serious issues.
- Decreased Engine Power
When you first got your vehicle, you likely enjoyed the power of the engine as you drove. Adequate motor oil ensures that your vehicle maintains the same level of horsepower over its lifetime by allowing all the engine components to move with as little resistance as possible.
As engine oil ages, it also congeals and becomes more of a sludge than a liquid. This change in the oil can gum up your engine’s moving parts, which may then result in sluggishness and eventual decrease in engine power.
When the horsepower decreases, you may notice more difficulty accelerating, going up hills, and traveling at consistently high speeds.
- Engine Clogs
In addition to decreased engine power, the thickness of old engine oil can also contribute to blockages. The sludge can become trapped in crevices and prevent normal engine performance. For example, sludge congealed around the starter could make it more difficult to make your engine turn over after the car has been sitting for a while.
Additionally, the debris that fresh oil clears away from your engine’s components can start to settle as the oil begins to thicken. This debris may consist of dirt, rust, and other particles of various sizes. In some cases, these particles can become lodged between moving parts and contribute to the other issues on this list.
- Engine Overheating
The lubrication provided by engine oil helps maintain an engine temperature within the ideal range. As the oil becomes a sludge, the friction inside your engine increases dramatically. As the friction increases, so does the average temperature when you operate the vehicle.
If the friction climbs high enough, your vehicle may overheat and stop working. This issue is particularly common in warmer climates where the ambient temperature can increase engine temperatures even further.
- Part Warping
When a vehicle engine is first assembled, all of the components fit together by design. The shape of each component allows for optimized movement and, by extension, optimized performance on the road.
When the friction and temperatures rise to abnormal levels under your hood, these circumstances may begin to alter the shape of specific components. For example, the conditions caused by unchanged oil can warp gears and valves.
Like component corrosion, which we discussed in section two, warping typically necessitates part replacement. Additionally, when one part becomes warped, the pressure that component exerts on the parts it touches can lead to widespread deformation. This issue may require the replacement of large sections of the engine.
Determine the correct interval and the appropriate motor oil type for your vehicle in order to prevent the eventual issues listed above. If you are not sure how best to protect your vehicle from these repairs or suspect your vehicle may already have one of these issues, discuss your options with an automotive service technician.
For comprehensive vehicle maintenance services, from oil changes to tire replacement, trust our experienced team at Evans Tire & Service Centers. We can help make sure your car always stays in good condition.