How Long Can You Drive Without Oil? When To Change Engine Oil

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According to automotive experts, the heart of the car is its engine. As the failure in the heart ends the life of human, the same goes vehicle. An engine requires oil for its proper and secure functioning. Without car oil, the engine is also just a useless metal container.

If your car is out of oil, you’d be curious to know how long can you drive without oil. Before dig into further detail you have to understand the importance of car Engine oil.

Importance of Car Engine Oil

Engine oil acts like blood for the engine of the car. It lubricates all the moving parts of the engine and reduces friction. Providing lubrication to the engine’s moving parts helps to extend the engine’s lifespan.

Knowing the importance of oil in the engine’s efficiency will never leave your engine empty. Its primary concern is running the engine smoothly and to its greatest potential.

It allows your engine to run at maximum capacity without fear of damage. It prevents the car’s engine from getting much heated through its moving mechanism among all parts of the engine.

Imagine how worst can the performance of your car engine without it. Let’s move to your main question.

How Long Can You Drive Without Oil?

According to automotive experts, starting your engine without the oil will get damaged within a few seconds. Minor damages will begin immediately without lubricating the engine’s moving parts. And catastrophic damage occurs within hardly 5 minutes depending upon the engine’s age, running speed, temperature, and other factors.

The engine’s moving parts start failing, burning, and breaking without oil. Experts say that the engine’s moving parts will take 5 to 10 minutes to seize if you don’t stop running the engine without the oil.

When there is no oil in the pump, it doesn’t pump the oil toward the engine, the crankshaft bearing runs dry, and results seize up the engine.

You have to spend thousands of dollars on repairing the damaged parts of engines due to no oil in the engine. So, shut off the engine immediately when you know there is no oil in the engine. Shutting off the engine in these conditions will prevent your engine from extensive damage and save you from repairing budget thousands of dollars.

The oil change, filter, and cap are also as significant as the oil level for your car’s engine. So, it’s essential to discuss these things also and queries that are often asked.

How Long Can You Drive Without an Oil Change?

There is no absolute answer to this question. Automobile experts recommend changing your engine oil every three to five thousand miles is the best way to prevent your car’s engine from any damage.

Numerous factors can alter that estimated average mileage, but most important is the oil quality, as synthetic oil allows more time between oil changes than conventional oil. The average estimate of mileage for synthetic oil is doubled (Almost 7000 miles) of traditional oil.

The other important factor influencing the oil change time is the traffic condition in the city where you drive your car. If you must stop your vehicle repeatedly while driving due to high traffic issues, you are causing more strain on your car’s engine. So, you will have to change your oil sooner before the estimated average mileage.

Why Do You Need To Change The Car’s Oil? 

As the moving parts of the engine demand a tough job of lubrication from oil, so, eventually, the chemical composition of oil starts to break down and loses its viscosity. After losing viscosity, it becomes thick and cannot move as freely as it should to ensure the engine’s smooth running.

Moreover, automotive experts say that little particles of metal and debris are produced because of interaction among the engine’s moving parts. These little shavings of metal and debris can clog up the oil filter. So, when the unfiltered oil enters the engine, it causes the malfunctioning of the engine.

So, a regular oil change is vital to prolonging the engine’s life till its lifetime. 

How Long Can You Drive Without an Oil Filter?

How Long Can You Drive Without An Oil Filter

If you start the engine without having an oil filter and drive away, the oil pump will pump all the oil out onto the ground through the hole. The hole becomes the result of the removal of the oil filter. The engine will hardly take up to a few seconds or minutes to be empty of oil. And the engine without oil can run for three to five minutes. After that, it will seize up.

However, if you replace the oil filter with something to keep circulating the oil in the engine, you still damage the engine. The oil circulation without an oil filter catches contaminants, which are dangerous for the smooth functioning of the engine. Furthermore, the accumulation of pollutants in the oil will destroy the engine. Automotive experts always recommend not driving a car without an oil filter except in severe emergencies.

How Long Can You Drive Without an Oil Cap? 

You can drive your car without an oil cap until the oil splashes out from the engine. In simple words, you can drive a car without an oil cap for quite a while. However, when there is not enough oil in the engine, it will seize up.

Experts recommend checking your oil cap before setting on a new journey.


Most of the damage to the car’s engines occurred due to the shortage of oil or metal contaminants in the oil. So, the regular maintenance of oil is essential for the smooth running of the engine. Routine care includes frequent oil changes, replacing defective oil filters, and keeping the oil cap in place. Move forward and have a safe journey. Thank you!


How Long Can You Drive Without Oil Pressure?

The engine can hardly run only for five to ten minutes without oil pressure. After that, it seizes up. Moreover, experts say the parts engine starts getting damaged within a few seconds without oil.

How Can You Run Your Car’s Engine Smoothly?

According to experts, Regular and proper maintenance ensures the smooth running of the car’s engine. The appropriate engine care includes changing the oil every 3000 to 5000 miles, replacing the defective oil filter, and many other things.

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Suanne Klahorst

Hello, my name is Suanne Klahorst and I'm the writer and Editor on CarDetailingDIY. I love to write and tell people what they need to know about car detailing and make sure they get good information to do the detailing by themselves.

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