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6 Signs You Need an Oil Change — and What to Do About It

It’s important to keep your car in good shape so that you can avoid expensive repairs down the road. One of the most important maintenance tasks that you can perform on your vehicle is getting the oil changed regularly. Not sure if it’s time for an oil change? Here are six signs that you need one or perhaps have a more serious problem — as well as instructions on what to do about it!

Sign #1: Your Car’s Dashboard Light Is On

The most obvious sign that you need an oil change is when your oil-change light on the dashboard comes on. This light is usually shaped like a little oil can, and it means that your car’s oil level is low, or the quality of the oil has deteriorated. This is a good sign that you need to change your oil as soon as possible.

Sign #2: Your Car’s Engine is Making Unusual Noises

If your car’s engine starts making unusual noises, it could be a sign that the oil needs to be changed. These noises can range from a light tapping sound to a loud knocking noise. Loud noises can be caused by a build-up of sludge in the engine, so it’s important to have your oil changed regularly to prevent this from happening.

Sign #3: Your Car’s Oil is Dirty

If you take a look at your car’s oil and it looks dirty, that means it’s time for a change. Dirty, black oil can cause all sorts of problems for your engine, so it’s best to get rid of it as soon as possible. You should also check the oil level frequently, as low oil levels can cause engine damage.

Sign #4: Your Car is Burning Oil

If you notice that your car is burning oil, it’s time for an oil change or a more serious repair. This can be a sign of a serious problem, so it’s best to take your car to a mechanic and have them check it out. In the meantime, keep an eye on your oil levels and top them off as needed.

Sign #5: Your Car is Overdue for an Oil Change

If you can’t remember the last time you had your car’s oil changed, it’s probably overdue. Most mechanics recommend that you change your oil every 5,000 miles or so, but this may vary depending on the make and model of your car and the type of oil you’re using. If you’re not sure, it’s always best to check your owner’s manual.

Sign #6: Unusual Exhaust Smoke

Not only are unusual noises a sign that you need an oil change, but so is unusual exhaust smoke. If you notice that your car’s exhaust is smoking more than usual, it could be a sign that the oil needs to be changed. This is usually a pretty easy fix, so it’s not worth ignoring. Having it attended to early can prevent more serious problems later.

What to Do If You Notice These Signs

Having covered a few of the easiest ways to know it’s time for an oil change, what should you do if you notice any of these signs? 

The best thing to do is to take your car to a mechanic and have them check it out. They’ll be able to tell you for sure whether or not you need an oil change and can perform the task quickly and easily. Leaving auto repair work to a professional is recommended as they have the experience and expertise to get the job done right. 

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are a few different signs that you need an oil change. If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to take your car to a mechanic as soon as possible. Ignoring the problem could lead to more serious issues down the road.

Photo by sefa ozel from Getty Images via Canva Pro