10 Signs Your Car Needs an Oil Change

January 26th, 2023 by

How many miles you can go between oil changes depends on the type and age of your vehicle. A surefire way to know whether your car is due for an oil change is to look at the sticker or paperwork from your last one. It should tell you by which date or mileage you need to take the car in, but there are other signs your vehicle needs an oil change. Click the link below to call our service center in Fairfield, OH!

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Unusual Sounds From Your Engine

Nobody likes to hear unfamiliar noises from their car, especially from the engine. If you hear a knocking sound from your motor, it could be something as simple as an overdue oil change. When the oil is old or thin, it doesn’t do its job properly, which is why you may hear a knocking sound when the car is in motion. This should resolve after an oil change.

If you hear a ticking sound coming from your engine during ignition, it may indicate the need for an oil change. When you start your car, the oil circulates throughout the engine. But with dirty oil, it takes extra time for the engine to start, which triggers the ticking sound.

It’s the oil’s job to lubricate the engine and all its parts to ensure a smooth ride. However, old and dirty oil doesn’t lubricate as well as clean oil. Instead, parts will rub together when they shouldn’t. This can lead to unusual sounds, including knocking, ticking, or grinding. When you notice unusual noises from your engine, take it to your mechanic in Fairfield, Ohio, right away to avoid further damage to your car.

signs car needs an oil change

Dirty or Grimy Oil

When you check the oil, you must pay attention to its texture. It should be translucent or yellowish. As oil moves through the engine, it will darken in color. Darker oil doesn’t mean you need an oil change, but you don’t want your oil to be dirty or grimy.

It’s also essential to pay attention to the oil’s consistency. Do you see any particles of dirt or grime on your dipstick? Gritty, thick, or grainy oil won’t lubricate the engine the way it should. Additionally, if the consistency of the oil reminds you of your breakfast yogurt, it’s definitely time for an oil change.

Your Oil Level Is Low

If the oil level is low, you risk damaging the engine, so you’ll need to check it with the dipstick. Once you’ve pulled it out, wipe it clean, insert it again, and pay attention to where the oil marks the stick. It should be between the minimum and maximum lines. Checking the oil level regularly is an excellent way to detect leaks. Bring your vehicle to a trusted mechanic for service when your oil is low. Otherwise, you may permanently damage the engine, which is a costly repair compared to an oil change.

Dashboard Warning Lights

Some cars have a built-in warning system to alert you when it’s time for the next oil change. Other warning lights on your dashboard can also signify an overdue oil change. For example, you may notice that the check engine light is on. If you’re lucky, an overdue oil change could be the reason.

Smoke From Your Exhaust

Vehicle emissions are a genuine concern. Most modern cars don’t have smoke coming from the exhaust pipe. However, when the engine oil is too thin or dirty, you may leave more than a cloud of dust behind you. If you see smoke coming from your exhaust pipe, it could indicate that your car needs an oil change.

Abnormal Vibrations

If you notice unusual vibrations in your vehicle, it’s always a reason to be concerned. If your car vibrates while idling, the fix may be as simple as getting an oil change. Of course, it’s a good idea to mention the vibrations to your mechanic and rule out any other problems.

A Burning Smell

If you notice a burning smell inside your car, it’s a warning sign that something isn’t right. It often has to do with your engine overheating. If you don’t have enough oil, or it’s dirty, it won’t keep the engine cool. A burning smell inside your car could also indicate an oil leak. In either case, you need to schedule a service appointment in Fairfield, Ohio, right away before there’s any damage to your engine.

You Travel Often

If you’ve put more miles on the car because of extended traveling, you’ll need to schedule an oil change sooner than anticipated. You may also want to get an oil change before you go on a road trip across the country just to make sure your vehicle is in top shape. As a general rule of thumb, the more you drive, the more often you need to change the oil.

Your Gears Don’t Shift

Whether you drive an automatic or a manual, the gears must shift inside the engine for you to accelerate and decelerate. If you notice anything unusual with the changing gears, it could be that your oil needs to be replaced.

Why Your Car Needs Regular Oil Changes

You may be tempted to skip or postpone the oil change for your car, but regular maintenance is essential. It improves your vehicle’s gas mileage, decreases harmful emissions, extends the life of your engine, and leads to better motor performance. You also want to keep up maintenance, such as oil changes, to protect your vehicle’s warranty.

When To Get an Oil Change

If you’re unsure whether you need an oil change, it’s probably safer to get one. There’s no downside to replacing the oil in your vehicle, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Most cars need an oil change every 3,000 miles. If you drive a newer vehicle, you may be able to wait 6,000 miles or six months, whichever comes first. Getting the oil changed regularly is a great way to prevent expensive car repairs and breakdowns in the future. Call our service center at (513) 829-6900 if you need an oil change in or around Fairfield, OH!


Image Credits: Pouring Oil to Engine by Daniel Andraski is licensed with Pexels License

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