Oil changes are on our list of necessary preventative car maintenance. You should change your oil when you hit certain mileage milestones. That is about 3,000-5,000 miles for your standard gasoline-powered passenger car and up to 10,000 miles or more for some vehicles. But are there signs you should get your oil changed, or can a car keep going indefinitely? Let’s just say if you notice any of the issues below, you should get to the shop!
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Signs You Should Get Your Oil Changed
Oil Change Warning Signs You’ll Notice When Driving
Oil makes your engine run smoothly, so when the oil starts running low or getting dirty that can cause knocking.
Specifically when you start the engine and the oil starts getting distributed, you might hear ticking if you should get an oil change.
Oil Change/Check Engine Light
This is a pretty obvious one, but worth saying. Cars without an oil change light will jump right to the check-engine light.
Transmission Shifting Issues
Having issues changing gears? Has it been 20,000 miles since your last oil change? Worth checking out.
Shaking While Idling
Turns out that needing an oil change is one of the many things that can make your car shake (though not the most common).
Oil Smell in the Car
Does the cabin of your car smell like an engine? Probably something is going wrong with the engine.
Exterior Signs You Should Change Your Oil
Smoke Instead of Regular Exhaust
Steam and exhaust from your engine is normal, but if what comes out of the tailpipe looks more like smoke it’s time to get some new oil and hope that’s the only problem.
Oil Leaks Where You are Parked
If you see motor oil under your car when you leave for work in the morning, or come home, that is probably a sign of a leak and you should definitely add oil and check it out.
Oil Change Warnings in the Engine Compartment
If you are a person who is comfortable checking their own oil, here are a few more warning signs that the time to change the oil has come.
- Low oil levels
- Oil film throughout the engine compartment (could indicate a fuel leak)
- Particles in the oil – Like metal flakes or grit
- Milky/Yogurt-Like Consistency
New oil is somewhat golden brown, and becomes black with age as is gets used. Any other color is not a good sign.