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Is 6000 miles without an oil change enough to destroy an engine?

I have a 2006 Ford Escape. The engine needs complete replacement, or so ford tells me. I’m at 38 months, so I’m just out of warranty, despite being at a hair over 30k miles.

They seem to be implying, without saying so out loud, that they don’t know what happened, but they won’t agree it was a faulty engine, because there’s a gap in my history.

That seems crazy to me, but I put it to the car talk community, should a car still be running, if there’s no major flaw, if you go 6k miles without an oil change?

How often should the oil be replaced according to your manual?

If you constantly went 6k miles between oil changes with oil that’s NOT rated to go that long…then YES it could destroy your engine. If it was just ONE time or just a few times…then NO I seriously doubt it could destroy the engine.

What is the dealer saying that failed in the engine?? Threw a rod??? Sludge??? Bearings??? Headgasket???

Many cars don’t require oil changes until 7500 miles, so any statement that 6000 miles between oil changes would ruin a car is pure nonsense. BMWs often go 12,000 miles. I bet your manual says something like 5000 miles, or more.

There is no way a motor with 30k and 6k oil changes should fail.

Unless you have an engine that is prone to oil sludge, the 6000 mile oil change interval will not ruin an engine. Many car owners change their oil far more infrequently and their cars last a long time without any engine problems.

As for getting maximum life from your engine, you’ll get numerous opinions on how often you should change your oil and the kind of oil to use. Your owner’s manual is a good place to start.

According to ALLDATA… the normal service table has you change the oil every 5000 miles. The severe service has you change it every 3000. Check your owners manual to be sure.

A couple of questions.

Was the oil level checked and maintained during the 6000 mile interval?

What are the symptoms? Is the Escape driveable? Maybe a second opinion is in order.

What is specifically wrong with the engine?

Ford was offering a 7/72 powertrain warranty with their Certified pre-owned vehicles, I don’t know if this applies to new vehicles though.

That depends…Toyota had a problem for a 3 year period with their 3.0l V6 engine. In an attempt to get lower emissions out of the vehicle they increased the operating temp this causing sludge. If you didn’t change the oil every 3k miles then you risked the engine sludging. There were cases of engines destroyed by 30k miles.

It recieved oil changes every 3, usually through a mom and pop joint, like jiffy lube. There’s a single gap of 6k miles. I did the expensive ford recommended dealer maint (right at the dealer) at 9k and 18k miles. I had a jiffy lube oil change done at 24k. The engine failed at 30k. So it was just one time that I went as high as 6k miles without an oil change.

Another twist: Jiffy lube apparently wrote on the oil filter that the engine was low on oil at the 24k mark. I wish those guys had told me that!

I’m with the general flow here - it is implausible that 6,000mi between a couple of oil changes did in an engine, strange things like Toyota’s sludge problems (noted above) notwithstanding.

The “low oil” thing is unlikely to have made a difference - unless your dash oil light came on. Did it?

I wouldn’t refer to Jiffy Lube as “mom & pop” - Jiffy Lube is big corporate chain, which is the opposite of mom & pop. Stop taking your vehicles to Jiffy Lubes or any similar quickie change places - they are notorious for creating engine killing problems.

Which brings back the original question - if you want some better ideas of what is going on then you need to give folks more info. What was the vehicle doing that it ended up in the dealer shop? How has it been running? What was it doing the last time it was running? What does the dealer say is wrong with the engine? Personally, I would be looking for a second opinion from a local independent mechanic.

Here’s the missing information…JIFFY LUBE.

Jiffy Lube is NOT known for doing quality work.

I do believe that the engine shouldn’t have failed at 30k miles…

HOWEVER…I’m also NOT overly surprised since JIFFY LUBE is in the mix. You also mentioned that Jiffy Lube wrote a note on the filter that the oil was low at the 24k oil change…and you’re complaining that they didn’t tell you about it…SORRY…but you should be checking the oil level yourself.

Have you EVER opened the hood?? Do you know how to check your oil?? Is there anything else you’re NOT telling us.

During this 6000 mile period, did you ever bother to CHECK THE OIL LEVEL?? Yes indeed, going 6000 miles between changes could be a problem if there was only 1 quart of oil left in the crankcase…

Usually the oil change interval is 5000 miles so if you went 6000 miles it should not destroy the engine. However did you check the oil ever during that period?

The problem is you violated warranty it sounds and beyond that it is expired. There may well be a flaw but you are “out of gas” so to speak on meeting warranty conditions and timewise.

IMHO Ford is weaseling out of it.

Realize BMW’s have 8-9 quarts of certain spec synthetic in the sump. A quart or two low does not beat up the oil like a 4-5 quart sump with conventional oil in it.

Jiffy lube apparently wrote on the oil filter that the engine was low on oil at the 24k mark.

They were kind enough to leave you a note and you were too lazy to look on the oil filter to see it? Shame on you! :wink:

Much easier to write this on the filter housing than the customer receipt…

Reason #4,100,234 to avoid these idjits.

While waiting 6,000 miles to change the oil should not kill the engine, it is long enough that Ford can say your warranty has been voided. Your warranty was not only voided, it has expired, making this whole discussion academic.

There are so many other things that could go wrong with an engine besides oil starvation. What [b]specifically[/b] is wrong with the vehicle? When was the last time you checked the oil?

The missing information that we need is how long a period of time it took to accumulate those 6,000 miles, and under what conditions that vehicle was driven during that time period.

If–and this is just for the sake of argument–it took you 8 months to accumulate those 6,000 miles, or if those 6,000 miles were accumulated by mostly local, short-trip driving, then the engine was not maintained properly.

Please tell us how long a period of time elapsed between the previous oil change and the “6k” oil change. Please tell us the typical daily driving regimen for the vehicle during that time period.

Without that information–as well as responding to the questions about whether you regularly checked your oil and replenished it as necessary–it is not possible to give you a good answer. As usual, there is too much vital information missing.

Let’s just say that engines are iffy and the Owner’s manual gives the best guidance about warranty violations or coverage. If 30,000 miles is the limit, they don’t have to do anything. I knew people who bought cars and never changed the oil and traded it in at 30,000 miles. They kept running.

does your owner’s manual specify an oil change interval relavent to your driving conditions? read it.just might give you an insight.and it would be interesting to hear about the dealer’s diagnostics regarding your engine failure.
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