5 Signs It's Time For An Oil Change

Photo by Rinald Rolle on Unsplash

5 Signs It's Time For An Oil Change

You know an oil change everyone once-in-a-while is essential, and you may even know why…but do you know when it’s time to get one? Figuring it out is actually easier than you may think! 


Regular oil changes are an important part of keeping your vehicle in good condition and prolonging the life of your engine. Knowing the signs of an oil change can help you take care of your vehicle and ensure it runs at its best.


This article will discuss five signs that you need an oil change, including dark or sludgy oil, low oil levels, exhaust smoke, unusual noises, and mileage.

1. Low Oil Levels

Checking your vehicle’s oil levels is an integral part of regular maintenance. If your oil levels are low, it could signal a leak or that it’s time for an oil change. 


To check your oil levels, simply pop the hood of your car and locate the dipstick. You'll put the dipstick into your oil reservoir and let it sit for a minute. I like to do this after the car has "cooled down" for a bit, as I find you get a more accurate read. 


When you've let it sit for enough time, gently pull out the dipstick and wipe the oil off with a clean rag before reinserting and removing it to check the oil level. 


If the oil is lower than the minimum mark indicated on the dipstick, it’s time to get an oil change.


Suppose you have new drivers heading out on the road or have never explored under the hood before. In that case, I’d highly suggest pulling up a video tutorial on your phone and learning how to check your oil! This is important to know what to do as a vehicle owner. 

2. Dark or Sludgy Oil

Dark or Sludgy Oil is one of the first indications that you need an oil change. If the oil in your car appears dark or sludgy, it's likely time for a new oil change. 

Sludgy oil means a buildup of dirt, debris, and grime inside the engine, which can cause severe damage if left unchecked. It is essential to check the oil regularly and to get an oil change as soon as possible if it appears dark or sludgy.


You can look up photos of what oil should look like and what overused oil looks like and compare them to your oil if need be. 

3. Exhaust Smoke

If you notice smoke coming from your vehicle's exhaust, it could be a sign that your oil needs to be changed. 


Exhaust smoke is a sign that the oil in your vehicle is burning and not performing its duties properly. If you notice exhaust smoke, it is vital to get an oil change as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your engine.

Exhaust smoke is not only an indication of needing an oil change but can also be a sign of other issues. It can be caused by worn or damaged spark plugs, a faulty oxygen sensor, or a clogged air filter. It can also indicate a faulty fuel injector, a blown head gasket, or a leak in the exhaust system. 


If you notice exhaust smoke, a professional must check your vehicle out to identify the cause of the issue and get it fixed as soon as possible. Do not wait for your next scheduled appointment! 

4. Unusual Noises

Unusual noises from your engine could indicate that your oil needs to be changed. Suppose you hear strange noises such as tapping, squealing, or grinding. In that case, it could mean that the oil in your engine is not providing adequate lubrication and protection to the moving parts. In this case, getting an oil change as soon as possible is crucial to prevent further damage.

5. Mileage

One of the easiest ways to determine it’s time for an oil change? Simply check your mileage!


Generally speaking, most vehicles should have an oil change every 3,000 to 5,000 miles or every 6 months, whichever comes first.


The recommended mileage for an oil change varies from vehicle to vehicle, so it is important to check your owner’s manual to determine the specific mileage for your vehicle. Once you reach this mileage, it is time to get an oil change. 


It is important to note that if you drive your vehicle in extreme conditions (such as hauling heavy loads or driving in high temperatures), you will likely need your oil changed more frequently. Regular oil changes are essential to keep your engine running properly.

Visit Us At Autotrend 

We can help you with your oil changes and more here at Autotrend Auto Repair! Here’s what one of our customers said about our oil change services:


“Great service, made my appointment online which was super easy. Great customer service and an absolutely fair price for maintenance inspection, oil change, and wheel alignment. I’ll definitely be coming back regularly.” -- Adam S. 

We strive to provide our clients with a stress-free auto repair experience. Please schedule an appointment for maintenance or service from our expert mechanics. See you soon! Don't forget to Like us on Facebook for news and updates.


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