What Happens If You Don’t Change Your Oil?

Oil Light


With a busy schedule, it can be a challenge to keep up with your vehicle’s routine maintenance. While understandable, we certainly don’t advocate delaying service until it’s urgent. When customers visit our Traverse City service center, we often hear that they’re curious about what happens if you don’t change your oil. 

Oil works hard to keep your engine’s moving parts lubricated and free from friction. Over time, motor oil breaks down and becomes less effective at these important tasks. As a result, friction will increase and your engine temperature will rise. So, what happens if you don’t get your oil changed? Well, your engine’s components may get too hot and cause your engine to overheat. This can lead to serious damage and even warped components inside your engine. If you’re hoping to avoid discovering what happens if you don’t change your oil while out and about in Manistee, read more with us below. 

What Does Motor Oil Do?

Engine oil serves as a vital lubricant for your engine. Your vehicle’s oil takes on the following roles:

  • The main job of motor oil is to reduce wear and tear on moving parts caused by friction.
  • Motor oil may contain dispersants that are designed to remove sludge from the engine. 
  • Detergent within motor oil can also help clean varnish from the engine. 
  • With routine changes, motor oil can help neutralize acids, improve piston ring seals, and remove heat from the engine to keep it cool.

Take it from our expert team, you definitely don’t want to find out what happens if you don’t get your oil changed while taking on your Cadillac commute!

How Often Should I Change My Vehicle’s Oil?

While you may have heard in your driver’s ed days that an oil change was required every 3,000 miles, that’s no longer the case. With modern vehicles and automotive technology, most cars can travel between 7,500 and 10,000 miles in between oil changes. However, your unique usage and driving habits can impact that range. If you frequently travel long distances or use your vehicle for towing, you may need to visit our service center for more routine maintenance.

How Do I Change the Oil Myself?

Looking to change your own oil? Start by checking your owner’s manual to determine the type of oil your vehicle requires. Once you have the proper oil grade, follow the steps below:

  1. Elevate your vehicle with jack stands or steel ramps.
  2. Find your oil drain plug on the bottom of your oil pan. Place your oil basin directly under the plug, unscrew it, and give it enough time to fully drain. After about 15 minutes, you can replace the plug. 
  3. Locate and remove your oil filter with an oil filter wrench. At this point, you can expect a bit of extra oil to drain out when you remove the filter. So, be sure to keep your basin underneath to catch the excess oil.
  4. Grab your new filter and rub a bit of oil around the seal. This essential step ensures that your filter is watertight. 
  5. Place your new filter in its position and tighten it by hand. 
  6. Now that your old oil is gone and your fresh filter is in place, you can remove your oil cap and add your fresh oil. Pour in the specified amount, which can be found in your owner’s manual. 
  7. Before you clean up, check your oil level with a dipstick. If you’re still running low, add a bit more oil and check again. Repeat this process until the proper oil level is reached!

Turn to Serra Cadillac Of Traverse City for Automotive Care

Now that you’ve read our guide and understand what happens if you don’t get your oil changed, you’re ready to take on auto care like a pro. While you certainly can try your hand at a DIY oil change in your own Grayling garage, you’re always welcome to book an appointment with our team. At Serra Cadillac Of Traverse City, we offer quick and affordable oil changes for all makes and models. Be sure to explore our service coupons before your next visit, and contact us to learn more!

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