Often an exercise of maintenance that is overlooked, changing your oil is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to make sure that your engine and car stays in good shape. There’s no need to be going in to Jiffy Lube every time, either. This is something you should be doing on your own . Now, the age-old saying is to change your oil every 3,000 miles. Although this won’t hurt your car, it’s not exactly necessary, especially with new cars. Typically, 4,000-6,000 is still an acceptable range to keep your oil churning, and you can even go with the extended-range oils for 10,000 miles, if you don’t care about your warranty. However, just in case, it’s always good to write down a schedule and watch for signs that your oil is bad. What are those signs you ask? Take a look.
The Oil Looks Black and Gritty
This is one you have to train your eye to see. The original color of oil is more of a honey brown, and that’ll quickly darken after a few weeks of use. Once you start to see particles mixed in with that black oil, it’s time to change it out. You don’t want to overload the filter to the point that it’s missing contaminants that’ll gunk up in the engine.
Your Engine Running Louder Than Usual
Oil lubricates your engine. Without lubrication, the guts will start to rub, grind probably describes it better, against each other, creating more unpleasant noises than you’re used to from under the hood. Get some new oil in there stat.
You Can’t Remember When You Last Changed Your Oil
Aside from making sure the correct oil is at the correct level, the most important thing about oil changes is getting onto a schedule that you’ll stick to. If you can’t even recall the last time when your fluids were swapped, then change it out, write it down and remain on a healthy schedule.
Your Check Engine Light Won’t Go Away
A lot of cars these days have their own oil gauge, but for the older ones, the check engine light might come on when there’s something up with your engine lubricant. Before you waste time trying to check everything else, make it simple and check the dipstick. DUH.
The Level Drops
Engines will gradually eat up engine oil. It’s what happens, when it’s been in use for a while, but if it’s old, it’s probably not doing its job quite as effectively. And when it’s not effectively doing its job, the engine is going to use more of it to make sure it’s still running smoothly. When you see the level getting extremely low, don’t just fill it back up. Check the consistency. It might be time to change it out.2