7 Signs That Say You Need An Oil Change

June 30th, 2022 by

One of the best ways to keep your engine in top condition is by getting regular oil changes. The type of oil change you get varies based on the make and model of your car, but every gas-powered car needs one.

There are rules of thumb to help you decide whether or not to take your car in for an oil change. Take a look at these 7 signs it’s time to take your car in for an oil change service right away.

1. Engine Noises

Even if you have an older model car, it’s not normal to hear clicking sounds coming from your engine. Oil helps to keep your car engine lubricated.

When oil levels get low, there isn’t enough oil available to protect your engine. This means parts could be rubbing together that aren’t supposed to.

The sounds you hear when its time for an oil change are a great reminder of how devastating skipping an oil change could be. These noises represent how sensitive your engine is to not having the right amount of lubrication.

2. Burning Smell

Another way to tell it’s time for an oil change is if you notice a burning smell after starting up your car. This isn’t the same smell that lingers with simple things like leftover food in the backseat.

You’ll notice a sharp, smoky smell when your engine is too hot. The oil you put in your car helps to keep the engine cool. Going too long without an oil change forces the engine to work too hard with grinding parts and no temperature control.

Even if you’ve just had an oil change and notice a smell, take your car in for service right away. It could be a sign of an oil leak which could be a costly repair.

3. Oil Consistency Looks Different

The consistency of your oil is much different right after an oil change compared to beforehand. When it’s time for an oil change, your oil will likely be dirty and have a poor consistency.

Right after replacing your oil, it’s usually transparent. Check your oil’s consistency by taking out the dipstick when you think notice other symptoms like engine noises or smells.

4. Oil Level is Low

Some cars have a known leak that needs to be checked regularly. When oil levels are low, you need to take your car in for an oil change right away.

This is especially true with older model cars whose engine parts might not be in top condition. Check your oil level with a napkin by taking out the dipstick and wiping it clean.

Next, place the dipstick back into the oil and remove it to see where your oil levels are. If it’s dry or down near the tip of your dipstick, it’s time for an immediate oil change.

5. Service Light is On

Some drivers are lucky enough to have warning lights that come on when oil levels are low. This oil light is indicated by a symbol that resembles an oil container.

While these lights are helpful, you’ll still need to watch out for other signs to see how urgent your oil change is. Some warning lights come on right before an oil change while others come on at the time service is needed.

Don’t rely completely on your car’s computer to make this decision. Check your oil levels and consistency to see what your car needs and when.

The best solution is to play it safe by taking your car in for service as soon as you see the light. In some cars, the oil change light can also mean other services are needed like O2 sensors.

6. Exhaust Smoke

Starting up your car during the colder months almost always equals smoke from your exhaust. This isn’t usually cause for alarm unless the smoke turns from white to blue.

Bluish and dark grey smoke might be a sign your engine isn’t getting the oil lubrication it needs. It’s a symptom that’s usually paired with a burning smell from the engine but might also stand alone.

The dark smoke can also be a result of an oil leak. Be sure to get the problem looked at right away to avoid having major issues with your engine.

Oil changes aren’t just about keeping your car from smelling bad or having embarrassing smoke trailing behind you on the highway. Engines do lock up when you push them too hard without oil.

Once this happens, it’s time to rebuild or replace your engine. That price is likely to be 100 times the cost of a regular oil change so take the easy route and focus on routine care.

7. Bad Gas Mileage

Another sign it’s time for an oil change is when you notice you’re filling up your car more often than usual. Bad gas mileage is a sign your car engine is working way too hard and is burning through fuel faster to get the support it needs.

This happens when your engine oil is old and becomes thick making it hard for the parts to move like they normally do. There are other reasons your car can have bad gas mileage but the simplest solve is to get an oil change.

What If I Miss My Oil Change?

You’d be surprised how many busy people forget simple routine maintenance like getting an oil change. Oil changes keep the heart of your vehicle, the engine, pumping.

When you skip oil changes, your car won’t always respond immediately with the signs above. You might get lucky driving your car without any symptoms for hundreds of miles before noticing anything is wrong.

But keep in mind that this wear and tear on your engine build up if you continue to miss oil changes over time. There might not be a consequence in the next few months or even years, but you are shortening the lifespan of your engine which is both costly and unsafe.

For more information or to check out our service specials, contact us today.

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