Having your car's oil changed is one of the simplest and also one of the most crucial service steps you can take to keep your vehicle running great. There are a few different ways to tell when it's time for an oil change, but it's always a good idea to check your user manual for the manufacturer's recommended intervals as well.

Look At Your Oil

If you're wondering when to change your oil, one of the easiest ways to check is to remove the dipstick and inspect the appearance. Clean oil is a relatively light amber color and should show up that way on the dipstick. Old oil is dark brown. One rule of thumb is that if you can see the dipstick through the oil, the oil is fine. If not, then it needs to be changed. If you decide to keep an eye on your oil this way, you should check it every month. Don't let it get too dark before changing it. Some cars will start to burn oil when it needs to be changed, so make sure to check the level as well.

Engine Noise

Like brake squeal indicates worn brakes, if you start hearing engine noise, your car could be in dire need of an oil change. The purpose of oil is to keep metal parts lubricated. When that lubrication breaks down you may hear various engine sounds such as knocking or rumbling.

More Dire Signs

Low or dirty oil can cause serious engine damage, so it's not a good idea to let your vehicle go too long without changing the oil. Some dire signs of an impending oil change or low oil levels include:

  • Smelling oil inside the cabin
  • Exhaust smoke
  • Check engine light illumination
  • Overheating

What Do You Recommend?

Always check your owner manual for recommended intervals, but the standard recommendation is every three months or every 3,000 miles. Newer cars can often go 6,000 miles or six months. If you check your oil regularly, you may be able to go longer depending on how it holds up.

Visit our dealership to learn more about when your oil should be changed and to schedule a service appointment.

Categories: Service