How to Tell if Your Car Needs to Get an Oil Change
The recommended length of time and distance between getting an oil change is every 3 months or 3,000 miles. Of course, many drivers go above this guideline and their vehicles are fine. However, some may wait too long and run into issues later. Here’s how to tell if your car needs to get an oil change.
READ MORE: How to Change a Flat Tire
5 Signs to Change your Oil
- The oil is dark in color. As oil circulates, debris is collected in the form of rust and other foreign particles. Since dirty oil negatively affects how well a vehicle runs, it’s important to change your oil using the guideline we mentioned earlier. Clean oil is an amber color, while dirty oil is dark brown or black.
- Your oil change light turns on. This indicates that your oil level is too low. You may also see the “check engine” light turn on for low oil or a different issue. If you see this light, you should take your car in to a mechanic immediately.
- Louder engine noise. The purpose of oil is to reduce friction between the moving parts of the engine. No matter how often you drive your car, the oil inside will break down. Eventually, the oil will no longer do its job to protect your engine and you will start hearing it get louder.
- Smoke exiting the tailpipe. Although translucent emissions are visible in cold climates, you should never see smoke leaving your exhaust pipe. This is a sign of an oil leak or a bigger problem with part of your engine.
- Oil smell inside the vehicle. This is a very serious sign as oil may be leaking or your car is overheating. A very hot engine can lead to oil burning in the exhaust area. If your car is overheating, your engine is at risk and a fire can start. Sooner or later, your cheap oil change will turn into a large repair bill if you put off the maintenance your car needs.