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How Long Can a Car Go Without an Oil Change?

How Long Can a Car Go Without an Oil Change?

Getting your car’s oil changed is something all car owners have to do to keep everything running smoothly, but how long can a car go without an oil change?

Most modern vehicles that take standard motor oil can drive anywhere between 5,000 to 7,500 miles before needing an oil change, while cars that take synthetic oil can often go over 10,000 miles between oil changes.

Getting your car’s oil changed is a basic part of regular car maintenance, however, there is often a lot of confusion around how often if should be done.

So how often should you get your oil changed? Read on to learn more.

How Often Should You Change Your Car’s Oil?

Getting your oil changed frequently enough is incredibly important, as you engine needs to be sufficiently lubricated in order for it to work properly. But figuring out just how often you should get this done can be difficult, as every car is different.

The frequency with which you should get you oil changed can vary drastically depending on the make and model of your vehicle. So, the best thing to do is look at your car’s owner’s manual and see what the manufacturer suggests. 

How Often Should You Change Your Car’s Oil

Following the manufacturer’s guidelines is undoubtedly the best route to take, as they know exactly what their cars need to continue working as they should. While some manufacturers may suggest that the oil is changed every 7,500 miles, other vehicles may need their oil changed a lot more frequently, so checking the owner’s manual is the only way to know for sure.

When it comes to more general advice, you may have heard that you should change your oil every 3,000 miles. While this may have been good advice some time ago, the technology used in modern cars allows them to drive for much longer between oil changes than they could even just a few years ago.

Nowadays, you should make sure that you get your oil changed at least every 7,500 miles or once every six months, depending on which comes first.

If you drive your car a lot, you’ll need to get your oil changed more frequently, but even if you hardly drive at all, ensuring that you get your oil changed once every six months is still necessary to keep your car running in tip-top shape.

How Long Can You Drive Past The Oil Change Date?

The answer to this question yet again depends on a lot of different factors. It’s quite common to be given a sticker that shows the date and mileage for when you should come back and get it changed again, however, these dates and mileage will suggest that you need to get your oil changed a lot more frequently than you need to. 

For example, if your given oil change date is three months from the day you originally got it changed, there’s no reason to expect that you couldn’t wait another three months beyond that.

As long as you aren’t consistently driving more than a 1,500 or so miles a month, changing your oil every six months is all you need. 

However, it’s best not to wait longer than that six month mark to get your oil changed. While you may be able to get away with putting it off for a while longer, doing so risks doing a lot of serious damage to your engine, which can result in all sorts of costly repairs.

What Happens If You Go Too Long Without an Oil Change?

Waiting too long to get your oil changed can be an incredibly costly mistake. Engines need motor oil to lubricate and cool down many of the fast moving parts that allow you engine to run smoothly. Without sufficient lubrication, simply running the engine for any period of time could cause sever damage.

Oil also goes bad over time, even if the car isn’t driven that often. Simply by running through the engine, oil can pick up dust, dirt, and bits of metal that can cause the oil get sludgy and do more harm than good. 

Eventually, all those hot moving metal parts will begin to warp and break, resulting in incredibly costly damage that in some cases may require the entire engine to be replaced.

How Many Months Can a Car Go Without An Oil Change?

As stated before, a good general rule is to make sure that your car’s oil is changed every six months, unless you drive enough to warrant getting it changed more frequently. Even if you don’t drive much, getting your oil changed every six months is still necessary to ensure that your car continues to run as it should.

How Many Months Can A Car Go Without An Oil Change

The more you drive and the longer you go without changing your car’s oil, the more you risk doing severe damage to your vehicle. So, while in theory you may be able to get away with putting your next oil change off another month, doing this is not recommended.

Can You Go a Year Without an Oil Change?

In short, no. Again, even if you don’t drive your car much, it is still necessary to get the oil changed two or three times a year in order to ensure that your car continues to work as well as it should. This is especially true if you drive a lot.

What Are The Benefits Of Regularly Changing Your Oil?

Besides not completely destroying your car’s engine and avoiding a bunch of costly repairs, there are a variety of other benefits to making sure that your car’s oil is changed regularly.

First, there is a lot of room between your engine being able to work at its peak and it not working at all, meaning that though your engine might not immediately break without frequent oil changes, it definitely won’t perform as well as it should.

Ensuring that you frequently change your oil will ensure that your engine continues to work at peak performance by getting rid of any dirt or other contaminants in the oil that causes your engine to run slower and hotter.

Another great benefit to regularly getting your oil changed is that it will give you better gas mileage. Old oil slowing your engine down doesn’t just affect performance, but it means that your engine will work less efficiently too. 

Old dirty oil can also produce additional harmful emissions as it heats up and burns. These emissions are harmful to you and the environment so ensuring that you get regular oil changes can help reduce the amount of harmful pollutants that your car puts out into the air.

Frequent oil changes also present a unique opportunity to catch up on other maintenance or fix something before it gets too bad. Changing the oil isn’t the only thing you need to do to make sure your car runs properly, so getting your oil changed can give you time to get any other problems fixed or potentially catch something before it gets worse.

Key Takeaways to How Long Your Car Can Go Without an Oil Change

Most modern cars can go 5,000 to 7,500 miles, or six months, without getting its oil changed.

Cars that use synthetic oil can go longer between oil changes, usually around 10,000 miles.

You should check your vehicles owner’s manual to see how often the manufacturer recommends that you change the oil.

Putting off getting your oil changed can cause severe and costly damage to your engine.

Regularly changing your oil can provide benefits like increased gas mileage and peak performance and improved longevity.

Zach Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! Having owned a wide variety of vehicles in my life, I was astounded at how hard it can be to find answers to common automotive questions. Rather than sit idly, I decided to create this website to help others!