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Do you have questions about when you should change your car's oil?

Cars work best when you stay on top of your oil changes. Used oil may not spell immediate disaster for your vehicle, but it can cause damage to it if the problem becomes allowed to persist.

So, if you've ever wondered "How often do I need to change the oil in my car," we've got some advice for you. Below, you'll find oil change tips that let you know when your car should go into the shop.

Keep reading to learn more!

Pay Attention to Your Oil Change Information

If you've received an oil change before, your oil technician may have given you a sticker or a piece of paper with instructions on when to come back in.

Usually, this might include a date or an exact mileage. If it does, make sure you have cleared time in your schedule to take your car in for an oil change once you reach that date or that mileage. 

Sometimes, you may reach the mileage before the date arrives. When this happens, still take your car in as soon as possible.

Watch for Your Maintenance or Oil Change Light

Most cars use a specific light on your dash to let you know your oil needs changing. This might appear as a symbol, the words "oil change," or the word "maintenance."

To determine which light indicates you may need an oil change, look at your driver's manual. You should also familiarize yourself with the rest of the lights on your dashboard. They give you valuable insight into your vehicle and how it's operating.

Know How Often You Need Your Oil Changed

Experts used to recommend cars get their oil changed every 3,000 miles. Now, though, vehicles run in a more efficient manner.

Many experts now think most cars only need an oil change every 5,000 miles. Still, if you have an older car, the 3,000-mile rule may still apply. Consult your owner's manual or your local car shop for a more direct estimate.

Loud Engine Noises

Does your engine make a loud noise? Do you sometimes hear knocking in it but don't have a clear explanation as to why?

In these cases, your oil might need changing. Take your car to the shop, describe the problem, and ask the technician to look at your vehicle. This ensures the engine doesn't have any additional problems. Then, ask for an oil change.

Dirty Oil

Clean oil has a clear, amber color. When it cycles throughout your car, though, it begins to pick up grime and other particles in the engine.

This renders the oil darker and dirtier. If you want to know when to change your oil, periodically check its color. As soon as you detect it getting dirty, get it changed.

Smoke Comes Out of Your Exhaust Pipes

Do you ever see smoke coming out of your exhaust pipes?

When a car runs, the pipe pumps exhaust (which usually has a clear consistency and contains carbon monoxide) out of your vehicle. If you have an oil leak, the oil mixes in with the exhaust, turning it into a smokey color.

So, if you see the exhaust start to blacken, get an oil change.

You Smell Oil Inside Your Car

Smelling oil inside your car never constitutes a good sign. It usually means your vehicle has an oil leak. So, one of our best oil change tips consists of getting your oil changed when you smell a leak. 

Yet, you may also smell fuel and exhaust fumes at the same time. If you do, it means your engine might overheat and cause serious damage to your car. It could ruin the engine, prompting a replacement, or even cause your car to catch fire.

If your car overheats, pull over on the side of the road immediately and call a tow truck. Should you need it, call the local non-emergency police line and ask officers to come and direct traffic away from your vehicle while you wait.

Which Type of Oil Should You Get?

Car owners shouldn't just know when to get their oil changed. They also need to know what kinds of oil work best for their car.

In general, the more mileage your car has on it, the better oil you will need to get. Consider getting high mileage oil for any car with a mileage of over 75,000 miles. This includes 5W-20, 5W-30, 10W-30, and 10W-40.

If you have lower mileage, consider getting conventional motor oil. 

Not sure which type of oil to get? Call your local automotive shop and get a professional opinion. 

What Happens When You Don't Change Your Oil?

When you fail to get your car's oil changed on a regular basis, several things can occur.

First, the oil might become too thin. When this happens, parts of the engine may bang against each other. This also means the parts of the engine get improper lubrication. 

The oil might also grow too hot. Usually, the coolant shares the responsibility of cooling the engine with the oil. Yet, if the oil does not circulate in an efficient manner, it doesn't have the chance to cool down. This causes the engine to become too hot and prompts problems for the car and makes it risky to drive.

Ready to Apply These Oil Change Tips?

Are you ready to take these oil change tips seriously and get your car on an oil change schedule?

Changing your car's oil should consist of a prominent part of its regular maintenance. If you haven't had your car's oil changed in some time, don't worry. A quick trip to the local shop gets your problem fixed and sets you on a proper schedule. 

When you find it time to take your car in for an oil change, come see us! Contact us for more information!

Categories: News, Car Care Tips, Service