The right interval between oil changes for your vehicle depends on numerous factors, from the age of the car to the type of motor oil you use. Because there is no one-size-fits-all recommendation for when you should change your oil, many vehicle owners find it difficult to keep up with this simple but essential maintenance step. While you should do your best to ensure that your vehicle receives timely oil changes, you should also know the signs that your car is overdue for an oil change. Prompt action when your car has gone too long without oil can improve performance, decrease the risk of costly repairs, and prolong the life of your engine. In this blog, we list seven common warning signs that you should schedule an oil change as soon as possible.
- Engine Noises While Driving
When your vehicle has enough motor oil, the liquid coats many of the moving parts so that these components perform their functions smoothly without excess friction. Often when a vehicle has gone too long without an oil change, the liquid level becomes inadequate.
When your car doesn’t have enough engine oil, you may hear knocking, grinding, or thumping coming from under the hood while you drive. These sounds can also result from certain other engine block issues so have a mechanic look for the cause as soon as possible.
- Oil Level Is Low
Whether or not you notice abnormal engine noises, you can check the oil level to determine if your vehicle is in dire need of a change. You should pop the hood and pull out the dipstick at least once a month, but if it’s been a while since you last checked, you should do a check as soon as possible. If the engine oil level looks extremely low, don’t just top off the reservoir. Chances are that if your oil has had time to be used up to that degree, the quality of the oil has also been affected.
- Appearance of the Oil Changes
As engine oil circulates, it picks up dust and other debris. Over time, these particles make the oil turn from pale amber to brown or even black. Generally, this color change by itself is not a symptom of serious oil problems. However, if the oil also appears gritty or chunky, it needs to be switched out for fresher oil to prevent buildup, obstructions, and performance problems. Your oil may become this dirty over long periods of time or due to driving conditions. For example, if you often drive in dusty conditions, your engine oil may become clogged more quickly.
- Vehicle Acceleration Is Delayed
A car with low or low-quality oil tends to not handle as well as a vehicle with the appropriate amount and type of oil. One of the first signs that the time since your last oil change has begun to affect your vehicle’s performance is slowed acceleration. Your vehicle may seem like it resists picking up speed or it takes more time to build up speed.
- Check Engine Light Is On
In many vehicles, a check engine light is one of the first cues that an oil change is needed. Even if your vehicle has a dedicated oil gauge light, if it’s been a long time since your last oil change, your car may exhibit a check engine light instead. If your oil changes haven’t been consistent and the light comes on, schedule an oil change first. In many cases, this simple maintenance task with get rid of the dashboard light. If the light persists, have a mechanic read the code to determine what other maintenance may be necessary.
- Car Shakes While Idling
When your car’s engine experiences excess friction, it can manifest numerous different symptoms. If your motor oil runs low or becomes excessively dirty, the lack of lubrication may cause vibrations when the car is idling. This type of shaking indicates a serious friction problem that could contribute to overheating and necessitate replacement of worn out parts sooner rather than later. Have your oil changed as soon as possible if you notice this warning sign.
- Sounds While Starting
Old motor oil, especially oil with a lot of debris in it, takes longer to circulate through the engine block when you first turn on the car. If you notice a ticking sound when you start your engine, what you’re hearing is the unlubricated valve train that needs oil. If possible, do not start driving until this ticking noise stops and see a mechanic for an oil change right away to resolve the issue. Use the signs listed above to ensure that you can identify when you vehicle needs oil services in order to stay in great condition.
When you need an oil change, trust the Evans Tire & Service Centers. We offer cost-effective prices on a wide variety of engine oil types in order to accommodate as many clients as possible.