Getting your oil changed can be a pain. It takes effort, it costs money, and you have to carve out time in your day to drive to the shop and sit there and wait while it’s happening.
Without regular and consistent oil changes, however, your engine could quickly die an untimely death or be cursed to spend the rest of its life in a compromised state of health. So while oil changes can be annoying, they’re absolutely necessary for the health of your vehicle.
Inside an engine, a lot of very precise parts are moving around at a very high speed. It’s extremely hot. Explosions are involved. To keep things from melting down, engine oil is pumped throughout to continually provide a cooling, lubricating bath for all of those rapidly moving parts.
When your engine oil is compromised, extensive damage is possible in quick order. That’s why you need to change your engine oil so often – if you don’t, all that heat, friction, and wear and tear will quickly damage the engine and become an expensive headache for you.
Your modern vehicle has a set of specific instructions on how often to change the oil to keep the warranty intact. Those instructions vary from car to car and the info can be found in the car’s owner’s manual, but it’s typically around every 5,000 km.
In a post from Reddit, user u/AdLongjumping9339 gives us a frightening demonstration of what can happen if you delay your oil change for too long.
The short video shows a small magnet plucking metal particles out of a container of engine oil removed from a vehicle whose owner went 10,000 kilometres and a full year past their last scheduled oil change.
Those metal particles belong inside of the vehicle’s engine, not circulating around in its engine oil causing even more damage. These loose metal particles are the result of the harm caused when engine oil breaks down and degrades, but isn’t changed out.
Old engine oil offers little lubrication and speeds up wear and tear, and this vehicle was driving around with spent engine oil for long enough to dramatically reduce its lifespan. More driving in this state could have turned the engine’s internals into coleslaw.
The culprit? Poor user judgement around the use of the vehicle’s oil life monitoring system, which some vehicles use to display an in-dash warning when an oil change is coming up.
According to the post, it’s likely that multiple oil change warnings were simply reset to clear the in-dash message, but without an actual oil change taking place.
What’s the lesson learned? As user u/KennyBlankeenship reminds us, resetting your oil life monitor doesn’t actually reset your engine oil.
Stretching or skipping an oil change can put your vehicle’s warranty in jeopardy, cause accelerated engine wear or permanent damage, and reduce the resale value of your vehicle down the line.
Remember that doing timely oil changes actually saves you money in the long run, so please don’t let this engine coleslaw happen to you.