What Happens When You Forget To Change The Oil?

Many people don’t take the oil change seriously. It has happened to me to drive 100 miles more than I should, but there are some people that totally disregard the oil change intervals and go on for 10,000 – 20,000 miles with the same oil. This is not good for the engine and can cost you a lot in the long run. So, what happens when you forget to change the oil?

What Happens When You Forget To Change The Oil

What happens when you forget to change the oil on time? If you forget to change the engine oil on time, the oil will oxidize as it is being used and the viscosity of the oil will start to increase along with the number of contaminants. Basically, you will have a dirty engine oil with a greater viscosity level than it is required for your engine.

How Bad Will It Be If I Forget To Change The Oil On Time?

How bad will it be if I forget to change the oil on time? If you forget to change your engine oil on time, the oil’s viscosity will increase due to oxidation, violate components being burned off, and increased number of contaminants. As the viscosity of the oil raises, the oil flow gets disrupted and your engine won’t have the needed protection to prevent wear.

One of the most important properties of the oil is its viscosity rating. If you take a look at a bottle of oil, it may say something like 5w30. That number is giving you its viscosity rating.

The 5w is indicating the viscosity rating when the oil is cold (the W standing for winter) and then the number 30 is indicating the oil viscosity when it is hot.

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Generally speaking, the viscosity of that oil will remain the same throughout the useful life of that oil. But, as that oil is used to lubricate the engine, it oxidizes. That oxidation occurs because of the heat generated from the engine itself. Once the engine oil starts to oxidize, the viscosity level starts to increase.

To be more specific, there are multiple reasons for that increase in viscosity. The viscosity grade can increase because the volatile components start to burn off eventually and the number of contaminants will increase.

Is your engine oil due for a change? Visit our Car Fluid Guide Website to learn the importance of changing your oil on time, which type of engine oil is best for your vehicle, and much more.

Why Engines Tend To Consume Oil

All engines will burn oil at some point. As engines age, they tend to increase the amount of oil that they start to consume. So, why do engines consume oil? There are three major sources for that oil getting into the combustion chamber and then burning off:

1. Valve Guide

As your intake valve is moving up and down, you have engine oil lubricating that interaction. That engine oil can leak down within the intake and then eventually work its way into the engine where it is burned in the combustion chamber.

2. Positive Crankcase Ventilation System

Within your engine, there is a build-up of high pressure beneath the pistons as the engine works. That high pressure needs to go somewhere. So, there’s a ventilation system that allows that high pressure to be routed back to your intake. Some of the oil that forms within your crankcase can then be routed back into your intake and as a result, it can get burned.

3. Cylinder Walls

Your engine uses oil to lubricate the cylinder walls with the piston-cylinder interaction. So, a third location where that oil will be interacting with the combustion chamber and thus burning off.

What Is The Danger Of Engine Burning Off Oil

What is the danger of the engine burning off oil? The danger of the engine burning oil is your car will have less and less oil, leaving the engine without a lubricant. As a result, the engine will get way too hot and a ton of wear is going to occur because you’re gonna have a metal on metal interaction.

This poses a problem because as you have less and less oil in the engine, that remaining oil is going to have to work even harder to protect your engine. So, because there’s less of it overall within the engine, it’s going to start to oxidize faster and as a result, you’re going to start to have more negative effects occurring.

Also, if the oil starts burning off it leave behind contaminants. The percentage of contaminants, especially those dangerous metal contaminants which could be from the engine are going to increase within that oil. That can lead to additional wear.

Car Care Hacks

Hi there. I am a certified Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) mechanic since 2018 and a car detailer for 10 years.

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