Just like your body needs to be nourished, your car needs food too. Your car consumes two main types of food – gas, which you pump every couple of days, and oil, which goes into the engine to make sure that it is running optimally. When you car isn’t gassed up it stops running, and similarly when your engine isn’t oiled it ceases to function. You can tell when your car is running low on fuel – there is an oil gauge on the dashboard that tells you. It is not the case with oil – you have to check it frequently to make sure that it is at the right levels and that it is fresh. So how can you tell that your car needs an oil change? Here are 5 things to look out for:
- When your car’s engine makes unusual sounds it is an indication that it may be low on engine oil, or that the engine oil in it is old. Oil is used to lubricate the engine. When it runs low the parts start to rub against each other producing strange sounds. You may even hear some gurgling. The first thing you should look into is the oil – whether there is enough and whether it is fresh.
- Has the oil turned dark and viscous? When you put in fresh oil into your engine you will notice that it is a fresh, amber color and it flows without any difficulty. After your car has used that oil for some time it will turn into a dark, viscous color. This is due to particles rubbing off from the engine due to friction. As more and more of these particles accumulate in the oil it becomes less effective.
- If your cabin smells a little strange – like burnt oil – it is an indication that it is time for an oil change. When oil levels run very low, or when the oil becomes very thick there is increased heat and friction in the engine which causes the smell in your cabin. If you don’t take action soon you may soon be dealing with a ceased engine.
- An oil leak is also a pretty good indication that it is time for an oil change. The leak will lead to low levels of oil which will lead to problems in the engine. Your mechanic ought to replace the oil and also check the source of the leak.
- If the time has come for an oil change – each time you go in for car maintenance your mechanic will hand you a card that tells you the current condition of the important parts and also when you should come in again for an oil change. You should pencil this date into your calendar so that you don’t forget – the longer your car goes without an oil change the higher the risk of things going wrong.
Make sure that you choose the right oil for your car – consult a certified lubricant vendor if you are not sure.