5 Signs Your Car Needs an Oil Change
There are some telltale signs that indicate when it’s time to have your vehicle’s oil changed. By knowing how to identify and address them, you can prolong the lifespan of your vehicle and keep it running smoothly.
Odd Engine Sounds
Loud and unsettling noises coming from the engine could signal a problem with its mechanical components. If the issue stems from low or dirty oil, you may hear clicking or tapping sounds caused by increased friction between the engine’s moving parts.
Poor Oil Level
If you have a long commute to work or enjoy weekend road trips, your car’s oil level is bound to decrease over time. Pay special attention to the oil reserve and avoid running your car with a supply that drops below the minimum level mark on your dipstick. On the other hand, if you hardly run your car or constantly refill the oil, yet notice a steady decrease, you could be dealing with a fluid leak.
If you don’t provide the engine’s moving parts with sufficient lubricant, you’ll increase their chances of grinding together and heating up, leading to a seized-up engine. If you schedule an oil change, you’ll likely avoid having to pay for costly engine repairs.
Unhealthy Color and Consistency
You’ll want to periodically inspect the appearance of the oil to see if it needs to be changed. First, pull your car’s dipstick out of its engine slot and clean it to remove any excess oil. Place it back in and take it out once more to check the color. If the oil is healthy, it will have a rich, honey-brown color. If it’s a dark brown or black color, it may be time to have it changed.
Additionally, you’ll want to watch out for oil with a gunky texture, as this could be a sign of dirt and debris deposits in the engine. If that’s the case, you’ll need to have the oil drained and replaced.
Warning Indicator Pops Up
If your “check engine” light goes off, you may feel confused as to what the potential problem could be. However, your engine may just be running with a low level of oil. Consider using the dipstick to check its volume. If your car has an active oil level indicator, this tool can also help you know when it’s time to have it inspected.
With any warning, you should have your car serviced by a professional. You never know if there are additional mechanical issues that need to be addressed.
It’s Been a While Since Your Last Oil Change
With busy schedules and day-to-day commitments, it can be difficult for many drivers to remember exactly when they had that last oil tuneup. While some cars have dashboard reminders to keep you up to date, others make it necessary for you to track this on your own. Making a schedule can help you plan ahead for an oil change and improve your vehicle’s efficiency.
By proactively monitoring your car’s performance, you can avoid exhausting your oil supply and engine capabilities.
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