Running Old Oil in Your Car

Running Old Oil in Your Car

Running Old Oil in Your Car - What Exactly Happens?

A regular engine oil change is one of the most basic vehicle maintenance tasks every car owner must do.  Oil helps keep the engine’s mechanical parts, such as the piston, camshaft, and valves, running smoothly through ample lubrication.

Engine oil also collects particulates, which are broken down by detergents present in the oil. This process ensures that the engine will run smoothly until the next scheduled oil change.

Depending on the specific oil that you used and the present condition of your car, the oil change interval may range anywhere between 3,000 to 10,000 miles. 

However, as basic as this maintenance task is, there are still many vehicle owners who skip changing their car’s engine oil.  A lot of them actually run their cars on old car oil for several thousand miles more before deciding to get the oil change.

So, we know skipping the oil change isn’t a good idea, but what exactly happens to your car when you do this?

Skipping the Oil Change: The Effects

As said, many car owners forego the scheduled oil change either on purpose or sheer absent-mindedness. Reasons aside, it’s important for you to know what this seemingly harmless oversight could do to your car’s engine. Here are some of the possible effects of running on old car oil:

Running Old Oil in Your Car Oil Change Reminder

1. Premature wear. Engine oil is the lifeblood of engines. Keeping your engine oil changed regularly ensures its smooth functioning and prolongs its service life. 


Proper lubrication prevents the metal engine components from rubbing against each other and causing premature wear. So, unless you want your car’s engine to age prematurely, you should change its oil within the suggested interval period.


2. Poor engine performance. If you’ve ever heard the phrase ‘running like a well-oiled machine,’ then you should understand this one easily. Keeping your car’s oil changed regularly and with a good engine oil will help keep it running like new. 


Conversely, running your car on oil that’s been sitting inside the engine for far too long will surely affect its performance. It doesn’t take rocket science to understand this basic mechanical fact.


3. Sludge build-up. Sludge build-up occurs when the old car oil inside your engine starts to solidify because the oil is no longer in an optimal state due to age. 


When there’s sludge in the engine, there won’t be proper flow of oil to major engine components such as bearings, camshaft, valves, crankshaft, and the like. This could lead to premature wear of engine components or worse, a total engine replacement.


4. Engine replacement/rebuild. If there’s a worst nightmare that any car owner could have, it has to be an engine replacement. This normally occurs when the engine components have completely worn or if the oil gets fully drained because the owner failed to change it on time. 


Considering just how expensive a new vehicle engine is, it’s something that should give any car owner enough reason to stick to the oil change schedule.

Skipped Your Scheduled Oil Change? Here’s What To Do

So, for whatever reason, you’ve skipped the oil change. You may ask yourself, “what should I do?”

If you’re clueless as to how you could correct the situation, we’ve managed to come up with a few things that can help assuage the situation:

1. Check the engine oil using the dipstick. Your car’s oil dipstick is that long metal stick that shows the current oil level, and it is a great indicator of the vehicle’s oil level and quality. 


If the oil still looks clear, it’s good for a few hundred miles. If it’s already gritty in texture and has a cloudy look, then it’s indicative of losing the lubricating qualities it should have.


If you’re unsure of the location of the dipstick, be sure the check in your car’s manual. Be careful not to confuse the oil dipstick with transmission or power steering dipsticks.

Running Old Oil in Your Car Dipstick Reading

2. Top-up, if needed. If the oil is still looking good but is already below the normal level when you do the dipstick test, then you should only do a top-up. This is an inexpensive way of ensuring that your car will still perform well until your next oil change.


3. Bring your car to your mechanic immediately. Unless there’s a noticeable symptom like your car’s check engine light suddenly turning on, you may not really know the extent of damage, if any, of your mistake. 


If you’re unsure whether or not your car’s engine has suffered some damage, the best thing to do is bring it immediately to your trusted mechanic. Your mechanic knows how to determine engine damage using diagnostic tests such as leak down and vacuum, so you don’t have to keep wondering.


Doing these things can be a lifesaver (or wallet-saver) for you as they may help avoid costly repairs. 

The goal of these tips is to reduce any further damage to your engine after making the mistake of skipping an oil change. The best solution to oil-related troubles, however, is prevention. Following your auto mechanic’s oil change timeline is the absolute best way to keep your car in tip top shape and running smoothly. 


Running Old Oil in Your Car? Call Your Trusted Automotive Experts

American Auto Care/ASR offers value for money car repair services for clients who want only the best.  We are located in Southern California, serving residents of Murrieta and nearby locations. Our expert mechanics can service all vehicle makes and models, whether foreign or domestic. We can handle sedans, trucks, SUVs, and the like.

Running Old Oil in Your Car Happy Auto Mechanic

We are the best go-to place for vehicle owners who need help on a variety of problems. Our team of skilled and certified vehicle mechanics can work on the following:


  • engines


  • air conditioning



  • belts and hoses



  • ignition timing



  • tune-ups and regular maintenance


  • overheating and radiator problems


Why hire us? Plenty of reasons.

For one, we have an in-house team of fully trained mechanics who are all licensed and certified. They can zero-in on the cause of your car’s problem and apply the necessary fix. 

For another, our company prides itself on the way we value each client, so we always warranty our work.  Prior to doing anything, we discuss the issue in detail with our clients, what our mechanics will do to address the problem, and how much our clients will pay us. Only when we get their greenlight do we spring to action.

Finally, we work hard to ensure that all our clients get the best service possible. We provide after-service assistance to them should they have other concerns related to their cars. With us, every client is a VIP. 

If you have car-related concerns, please feel free to call us today at (951) 461-2507. We’d be glad to serve you soon!

Tags: running old oil in your car, old car oil, skipping an oil change, car maintenance, oil change