If you, your friend, or a family member own car, you might be aware of the importance of oil change. Possibly, you have seen the oil being changed at an auto shop and wondered why it’s done. Many things, from tires to batteries need to get checked and repaired from time to time. However, changing the oil is probably the most important part of any vehicle’s routine maintenance. This important maintenance task involves removing old oil from a vehicle’s engine and replacing it with new, clean oil. Often, the engine oil filter is also changed during an oil change.
Why Do Cars Need Oil?
Oil is needed because all automobile engines have numerous moving parts. The parts create friction and heat when they move and rub against each other. Oil lubricates the engine and absorbs heat, allowing the internal components to function properly without overheating. As the engine keeps running, engine oil degrades and wears out over time. And when this happens, the oil loses its ability to lubricate the engine and absorb heat. Even the most sophisticated models need oil as it is the engine’s lifeblood. So, irrespective of the car’s make and model, maintaining this fluid is critical. Luckily, checking and replacing oil is a simple task. The latest models come with an in-built reminder that alerts the driver when an oil change is required based on usage. However, it is still a good idea to check the fluid yourself and replace it if needed. Read further to find out some common signs that indicate your car’s engine needs fresh oil.
1. Oil Change Light
The easiest way to find out when oil is due for replacement is by keeping an eye on alert light. If there isn’t enough oil, you will see a light illuminated on the dashboard. To find out the cause of this warning light you can perform the dipstick test. No matter why the engine light is illuminated, make sure to check it as it indicates something is bad and the engine could be at risk of damage due to lack of lubrication.
2. Dirt or Oil Turn Dark
If you see fresh engine oil in the bottle, you will notice a slightly translucent liquid in amber color. When this oil is used for too long, dust particles start accumulating, resulting in turning its color dark. As you keep driving the car, you will have no idea if the oil inside the engine has turned dark. Since it is not visible outside, you need to be vigilant and perform an internal visual inspection at least once a month. To check the oil color, remove the dipstick and wipe it off before returning it to the oil tank. Now once again take out the dipstick. If the oil is dark and dirty, you won’t be able to see the dipstick through the oil.
3. Engine Noise
Mileage is a common indicator used for an oil change. Most drivers get their oil changed every 3,000 miles or three months. Besides mileage, there are some more signs like knocking noise or oil smell. When oil fails to do its job properly, you will notice an unusual sound.