Engine oil is to your car what blood is to your body. Oil lubricates moving parts, reduces the heat caused by friction, moves dirt through the oil filter, and ultimately prolongs the engine life. It’s crucial to keep up with routine oil and filter change to ensure the engine remains healthy. Not sure whether the time’s up to have your car’s oil changed? Here are seven signs your car needs an urgent oil change.
1. Check Engine light
An unmistakable sign that something is off with your “engine oil” comes from your car’s dashboard. The red light, shaped like oil, often drips out of a spout. If this light illuminates when driving, pull over quickly and turn off the engine. The check engine oil will warn you of all kinds of problems, including low battery, transmission problems, burnt-out tail lights, and low oil levels. It generally comes on when the oil pressure in the engine falls below safe levels. Don’t ignore the oil change light, as the risk of damage due to lack of lubrication could lead to engine failure.
2. Strange noises
When you start your car, do you hear a knocking noise? A roaring or growling engine means the car’s oil is dirty or insufficient. Remember, oil gets old and worn out after some time. That’s why car makers recommend an oil change every 55,000 miles. To protect your engine’s moving parts, top up the oil as soon as you hear the ticking sounds. Refer to the owner’s manual to see how much oil your vehicle needs to run smoothly. Don’t forget to check the draining bolt. It should be tight and leak-free.
3. Dark, dirty oil
Pay attention to the color of the engine oil. Clean motor oil is translucent and amber, similar to the color of honey. However, once the oil circulates through the engine block to lubricate moving parts and redistribute heat, it will start to darken. Such changes in the oil’s color and viscosity may stop it from working. Change your car’s oil when it becomessludgy or gritty engine.
Long delays between a fresh oil change and normal wear and tear can make engine oil dirty. Putting off oil filter change can also result in dirty oil. Replacing dirty engine oil with fresh motor oil could avert problems down the road.
4. Dark smoke
Dark smoke coming out of your car’s exhaust? That’s another sign your engine oil is dirty and needs replacement. Black exhaust smoke from your car’s tailpipe means the engine is burning too much fuel at once. When it runs for long intervals without oil changes, the oil will turn to sludge and clog oil alleys, starving the engine head of oil.
New engines run smoothly. But after years of use, its conditions may worsen due to the accumulation of combustion products. Engine deposits might lead to dark smoke. With dust also blocking the air filter, chances are sufficient air may not reach the cylinder. As a result, more fuel will be burnt. Ultimately, this causes dark smoke from the exhaust, regardless of whether the injectors are working.
5. Oil smell
If you smell oil inside the car, that’s a sign of a potential oil leak, so don’t shrug it off. When the oil levels drop, or the oil gets dirty and oil, you might start smelling burnt engine oil while behind the driver’s seat. These smells indicate that your car needs an oil change, and the time is up to schedule an appointment with your mechanic, or local auto repair shop. Gas or exhaust fumes mean your vehicle is overheating.
6. Low oil level
If you always check oil levels with a dipstick regularly, you will notice that engine oil sits between two markers. The oil dipstick has hash marks inside the stick’s tube and may vary in number and depth depending on your car. These marks indicate the level motor oil should reach.
It’s important to keep an eye on oil color, condition and consumption once a month to avert problems down the road. If you don’t see oil on the dipstick, or it’s below the minimum after measuring with a warm engine and temperature, that’s a sign to top up fresh engine oil.
Add a quart of oil or just enough oil. Ensure the oil level gets into the specification range between minimum and max. Adding more oil that’s necessary can cause an engine oil overfill, and create a new set of problems.
Poor fuel economy
When was the last time your car was serviced? We recommend taking your car for service every 10,000 km or six months. Running an engine on sludgy or dirty oil will reduce your car’s fuel economy. When oil thickens or gets old, it loses its ability to flow through engine parts as well as its lubricating powers, making the engine work harder. So, the engine will run hotter and less efficiently, robbing your car of gas mileage and horsepower. If you don’t remember the last time you serviced your vehicle or you have excessive mileage, that’s a strong indication oil change is due.
Want to Change Engine Oil? Visit Heath’s Auto Service
If you want to get more years out of your car’s engine and avoid performance issues, prioritize oil change. A routine oil change will ensure your car runs smoothly and prevents moving parts from wearing out fast due to friction. At Heath’s Auto Service, we can ensure your car stays in tip shape with routine oil change and maintenance. From routine fluid checks to brake inspections and regular tune-ups, our ASE-certified technicians can provide you with the best auto maintenance services. Call 480-631-9581 or fill out the appointment form online to schedule an oil change at our auto repair shop in Scottsdale, Arizona.