Your engine relies on clean oil to lubricate the moving parts and keep it cool. Over time, the oil in your vehicle can accumulate nasty sludge and debris. It also breaks down, making it more difficult to perform the way it should. Once this happens, it’s time to schedule an oil change as soon as possible. So, how do you know when your oil needs to be changed? Read on for a few telltale signs.
The Oil is Dark in Color
When motor oil is clean, it’s a beautiful amber color. Over time, the oil darkens due to the buildup of particles and dirt it collects when you drive. A good rule of thumb is to check your oil every month and take a closer look at its condition. Remove the dipstick, wipe it off, then put it back in to get a good reading. When you remove it that second time, you should be able to clearly see the dip stick through the oil. If it looks thick or really dark, it’s likely time for an oil change.
Your Engine is Making Noises
Engine noise can be a symptom of all kinds of problems, and dirty oil is one of them. When the oil is clean, it provides a barrier between your engine parts to prevent the metal from rubbing together. This is what helps ensure your car runs quietly and smoothly. When the fluid is dirty or breaking down, it can no longer lubricate these parts and you’ll start to notice knocking sounds. If you hear rumbling or any other loud noise coming from your engine, take it to a professional mechanic for a diagnostics test.
Most newer vehicles have an oil light that illuminates on the dashboard if something is wrong. When this light turns on, it usually means there’s not enough oil in your engine. Check your oil levels using the dipstick to see if you need to add any more oil. In most cases, if the oil levels are low, you likely need a complete oil change anyway. The vehicle’s check engine light might also come, indicating that your car is at risk for damage, so always take it to our shop for a full assessment.
Excess Exhaust Smoke
Every car produces some level of smoke or exhaust that comes out of the tailpipe. But thick smoke or smoke that is unusual in color indicates there’s a deeper problem. If you notice heavier than normal exhaust smoke, it may mean you have an oil leak. Whether it’s the oil or something else, too much exhaust smoke is a definite indicator of some kind of engine problem.