9 Signs Your Car Needs an Oil Change

Regular oil changes are essential to keeping your engine lubricated and your vehicle running at its best. You can determine that your car might need an oil change in many ways. Ignoring or delaying an oil change can deprive your vehicle of an essential lubrication function, weakening or even damaging your engine. This article will cover the most common signs your car needs an oil change so that you can be better prepared to recognize these signs and act.

7 Signs You Know It's Time to Donate Your Car

  1. You've reached the end of the recommended mileage between changes
  2. The simplest way to know if your car needs an oil change is to keep up with what your owner's manual says about how often you need to change the oil. For most cars, it's a range between 5,000 and 10,000 miles. Some cars can go up to 15,000 miles between changes, but it's always best to consult your manual and not leave it to chance.

  3. Discolored or dirty oil
  4. If the oil in your car looks dark, thick, or dirty, it might be time for an oil change. This discoloration happens due to debris building up in the oil and leaving it alone will only cause problems in the future. If the oil no longer looks clean, it is likely time to switch it out.

  5. You hear clicking sounds while driving
  6. When the oil becomes old or contaminated, it does not properly lubricate the engine. This means that your engine components might start bumping into each other, producing a metal-on-metal sound that will be audible while driving. This is a clear sign you are overdue for an oil change. It can severely damage the engine components if they are hitting each other without a lubrication barrier.

  7. There is smoke coming from your exhaust
  8. While some smoke might be normal in colder climates, seeing dark or gray-colored smoke from your exhaust pipe indicates there is not enough oil circulating in the system. This is often a precursor to a vehicle overheating, and you should schedule an oil change as soon as possible. There may also be an issue with your coolant system, which a mechanic can diagnose.

  9. You smell burnt oil
  10. This can go along with exhaust smoke. If you start smelling burnt oil while driving, it's probably time for an oil change. Usually, this means there is a leak somewhere that is dripping oil onto the hot engine, causing a burnt oil smell. Do not hesitate to book an oil change whenever you smell burnt oil because the leak will not go away on its own.

  11. Decreased fuel economy
  12. If you aren't getting the miles per gallon you used to get, then bad oil could be to blame. The older the oil is, the more it thickens. The increased viscosity puts more resistance against your engine's components, which drain your fuel tank faster.

  13. Warning lights on dashboard
  14. Some cars have a built-in oil sensor, which will trigger a specific light if the oil is low or needs replacing. Other cars might illuminate the check engine light for an oil issue. In any case, seeing a light on the dashboard might signal you need to change your oil soon.

  15. Vehicle overheating
  16. If you see smoke from the hood or the temperature sensor comes on in the car, you should stop driving immediately and change the oil as soon as possible. While this may also be related to the coolant system, overheating can also be caused by an oil leak or other issue with the oil. Do not drive a vehicle that is overheating, as you risk severely harming your engine in the process.

  17. Engine performance issues
  18. High-quality, regularly changed oil is essential to keeping your engine working properly. Without lubrication, the engine system cannot function as designed. If you are experiencing performance issues, such as problems starting your car, you should look into getting your oil changed. This might be what is causing your engine to experience decreased performance.

    These nine signs are all indications that you should change the oil in your car. Whether you choose to change the oil yourself or schedule a professional service is up to you, but it is important that you listen to your car. Operating a vehicle with old or insufficient oil can create major problems for your engine that will be much more expensive to repair in the long run. You can manually check your oil level at any time, and your car's manual will tell you exactly what type of oil you need to purchase.