Regular maintenance on your vehicle is crucial to ensure it will drive well and be safe for years to come. Oil changes are especially important for the longevity of your engine. When it comes to these regular oil maintenance checks, you don’t want to do them too often because then you’re throwing away money and not getting all the use out of it that you could. At the same time, you don’t want to leave things like an oil change for too long as it could damage your vehicle. So, how do you know when it’s time for an oil change on your vehicle? Here are 5 signs it’s time for an oil change.
A Dashboard Light
When your check engine or oil change light comes on this is probably the most obvious sign that something is up, and it’s time to take your vehicle in to the garage. The oil change light on your vehicle is programmed to come on when there’s not enough oil in the system of your vehicle for it to run as it should. If this happens, it means oil levels have gotten so low that your car is at risk of permanent damage due to insufficient lubrication.
Oil in your engine provides lubrication between parts so that they run smoothly, and it avoids metal-metal touching and friction. If there isn’t enough lubrication between parts this can create a knocking sound because parts are rubbing together without a barrier between them.
Dirty, or Dark, Oil
Regular, clean oil is usually an amber-like colour. As your car uses the oil it will become filled with particles that make it a darker colour. It won’t be super obvious as this gradually happens, it will one day just be dark. For this reason you will need to stay on top of checking your oil dipstick to determine how dark it is. If, when you pull the dipstick out, you cannot see the metal dipstick through the oil then it’s likely time to change the oil.
Most cars are recommended to have an oil change every 3,000 kms or 3 months, whichever comes first. Newer vehicles, though, equipped with better technology are now recommending an oil change be done every 6,000 kms or 6 months. If you do a lot of driving, or have recently gone on a long road trip, then going in for an oil change might be helpful for taking care of your car.
There are normally some vapours that come out of the tail pipe of your vehicle, but if you notice there is actually smoke coming out this could be a sign of an oil leak. It’s important to schedule maintenance, in this case, as soon as possible so that sever damage isn’t done to the vehicle.
Oil changes are one of the cheapest, easier parts of vehicle maintenance and yet it’s amongst the top activities to keep your vehicle from aging prematurely. Ensuring your vehicle’s engine oil is fresh and high quality will keep down the amount of wear and tear on your engine.
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