How Long Can You Drive Your Car without Oil Change?

An oil change is vital for the health of an engine. Most people used to follow the three months rule for an oil change. However, some cars can endure even five months of driving without an oil change.

So, how long can you drive your car without an oil change? Specialists in this field say that your engine can run thousands of miles without failing, even when it needs an oil change.

However, they point out the fact that driving without changing the oil for a long time can be damaging for the engine. Therefore, you may end up spending over a thousand fixing the engine where you could’ve only changed the oil.

Below, you will find more information about an oil change. But if you are in a hurry, just know that experts recommend changing your car’s oil when you have driven 3,000-5,000 miles.

Factors that Determine the Frequency of Oil Change

Not every car shares the same type of engine. Therefore, we need to consider specific factors to determine how often a vehicle needs an oil change. You can still follow the 3,000 miles or 3 months rule for an oil change. However, some cars can go 5,000 miles without requiring one. Here are the aspects that play a role:

Your Driving Routine

How frequently you drive, and the distance play a significant role in the oil change rate. For example, if you drive in central city areas and take multiple short trips throughout the day, your engine will require more frequent oil changes. On the other hand, longer trips keep your oil quality healthy.

Car Type

When we say car type, we are focusing on the model and age of the car. Newer cars can go much further without an oil change. Some luxury cars will even pass the 5,000 miles mark. Check your owner’s manual to find how often you should do this process.

Why is Oil Change Crucial?

What exactly is the reason one has to change their car’s oil frequently? There are a few reasons for that. To say it in one sentence, oil change keeps the engine healthy. Here are more detailed factors explained:

Sludge Removal

Oil becomes dirty if it remains in your car for a long time. Therefore, if you do not perform an oil change, the oil filter will pick up the dirt. The dirt and other unwanted particles eventually become sludge. Sludge can damage the engine and reduce your driving performance. An oil change gets rid of the sludge.

Better Mileage

Fuel is efficiently used when an engine does not have any sludge or dirt and is adequately lubricated. An oil change can save your money by improving the gas mileage. Over time, you will be spending less money when you are frequently changing cleaner oil.


An oil change ensures proper lubrication of the engine. Removing old oil full of dirt and sludge and replacing it with clean new oil increases lubrication. Therefore, your motor runs better and gets less damaged.

Cooler Operation

As mentioned before, changing oil lubricates the engine. When the fast-moving parts of the machine are properly lubricated, it prevents heat buildup. As a result, you don’t face overheating issues.

Increased Durability of the Car

The longer you go without an oil change, the worse your engine will become. Frequent cleaning oil replacement ensures the longevity of your car.

How Long Should You Wait Before Getting an Oil Change?

We recommend getting an oil change every 5,000 miles. Let’s say you have surpassed 5,000 miles, you can still go thousands of miles without an oil change, and your engine will operate smoothly. However, the quicker you do it, the better.

Don’t go over 7,5000 miles without changing the oil. If you keep driving without an oil change, your engine will have to suffer problems that can lead to massive spending on repairs. So, instead of testing your luck, get it resolved as soon as possible.

Disadvantages of Putting Off Oil Change

You may face the following consequences if you put off an oil change for too long:

  • The engine may overheat.
  • Increase sludge buildup, leading to massive engine damage.
  • Poor mileage performance.
  • And in the worst-case scenario, the engine will seize and require a replacement.

Final Note

Don’t gamble your fate by driving thousands of miles without an oil change. It is a simple and quick procedure that can improve your car’s health. Read your car’s owner’s manual for an accurate description of which oil to use and how frequently you need to change it. Some vehicles even have a dashboard signal for an oil change.

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