Q: Went too long without oil change and started hearing metal clanking noises. What should I do?

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Last mechanic didn’t leave next oil change sticker. So I completely forgot to change oil and assumed that the oil change light would go off. But I started to hear metal clanking noises under the hood once I drove it today. And I got a mechanic to inspect it and he said that I have to replace the whole engine. But I read on a mechanic website dealing specifically with Mazda’s that if the oil change light didn’t go off that the damage isn’t too extensive and that a simple oil and filter change would do the trick. What should I do?

My car has 159500 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hi Delmy. Thanks for contacting us today. The truth is, without removing the valve covers and inspecting the internal engine components, there is no way to be 100% what damage has occurred and what repairs are needed. When you have oiling and lubrication issues and hear metal-to-metal contact, that typically means that excessive heat is building up, these metal components are quickly wearing and can eventually completely break down. It’s also a statement of fact, that just because an oil light didn’t illuminate, doesn’t mean that there is internal damage. It is the best and most affordable option to have the engine oil and filter changed to see if this resolves the problem. If it does not, then you have internal engine damage and replacement would be required. If this is the case, you’ll be better served to sell the vehicle and purchase a replacement, as the cost to replace the engine will likely exceed the value of your 2005 Mazda 3.

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