The best way to keep your vehicle performing at an optimal level—and to extend its lifespan for as long as possible—is to stay on top of routine maintenance. This means getting regular tire rotations and wheel alignments and ensuring all your engine’s vital fluids are topped off. More than anything, it means getting oil changes at regular intervals.
The question is, how often do you really need to go in for an oil change? It depends on a number of factors, including what kind of car you have and how much you drive it. Most drivers will need to have their oil changed at least twice a year, potentially more.
There are a few telltale signs that your vehicle is actually due for an oil change; knowing these warning signs can help you stay on top of routine maintenance.
Are You Due for an Oil Change?
Your owner’s manual says you need an oil change. The engineers who built your car have a good sense of how it works, and what kind of TLC it needs. They provided you with a rule of thumb in your owner’s manual—and generally, that’s a rule of thumb you’ll want to follow.
Your engine has started making weird noises. The purpose of engine oil is to lubricate the various parts of the engine, preventing against friction and corrosion. The oil keeps things working smoothly, so if you’re driving and hear a strange rattling or knocking sound coming from the engine, it may be because your oil change is overdue.
Your oil looks dirty. Something else you can check is the dipstick. Pull it out and make sure there’s still some oil in the tank. If the dipstick comes out dry, that means you need new oil ASAP! And if the oil looks dirty or dark, that means you need it to be changed out. (Ideally, your oil should be the color of honey.)
Your dashboard light comes on. Most modern cars have dashboard lights that illuminate when your vehicle is due for an oil change. If your light comes on, that’s a sure sign that you need to take your car to the service center.
You notice other performance issues. If you’re not enjoying the smooth ride you’re used to, something’s wrong—and while it may not be a problem with the oil, it’s definitely reason enough to make an appointment with a trusted mechanic or service technician, who can advise you on what the problem is.
Keep Your Car Performing Like New
Ultimately, routine maintenance helps you protect your vehicle investment. The oil change is a big part of that. Make sure to have your oil and filters changed as needed, using this blog post as your guide.
And, to learn more about preserving your used vehicle, stay tuned to Get My Auto. We’re here to help you get the most out of your used car experience; follow us on social media to get all the latest updates.