One of the most critical aspects of car ownership is preventative maintenance. Simply put, staying on top of a routine maintenance schedule allows you to extend the lifespan of your vehicle and ensure it performs at a peak level. And, routine maintenance minimizes the risk of more serious (and costly!) repair needs down the road. In other words, investing in preventative maintenance can save you a lot of hassle and a lot of money.
There are a number of steps in the preventative maintenance process, but one of the fundamentals is changing your engine oil. In this post, we’ll share a few must-knows about getting your car’s oil changed.
Important Notes About Getting an Oil Change
- Different cars need their oil changed at different intervals. The frequency with which you’ll need an oil change depends on the make and model you’re driving, how often you’re driving, and what conditions you’re driving in. The best way to find out when you need your oil changed is to consult the owner’s manual.
- Different cars need different kinds of oil. Not all engine oils are created equal, and it’s important to select the right type of car to keep your vehicle properly lubricated. Again, the best way to find out is to check the manual. You might also reach out to your trusted local service center for their recommendation.
- You should keep an eye on your oil light. Most newer vehicles have engine oil lights on the dashboard, which come on when your oil life gets pretty low… typically 10 percent or so. If the oil light comes on, that’s your engine’s way of telling you there’s a problem. Make an oil change appointment ASAP.
- You can check your own oil level. Using the dipstick, confirm your engine oil level once a month or so. If it’s looking low, add new oil (of the right kind) or simply make an appointment for your next oil change.
- Oil color matters. As you check the oil level, also pay attention to the color of your oil. Fresh, healthy, clean oil will be either amber- or honey-colored. If your oil is dark or has visible debris in it, then it’s clearly time for an oil change. Remember, dirty oil just doesn’t work as well.
- There are other signs that something’s wrong with your oil. If you see blue smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe, that means your engine is burning oil, and you need to make a service appointment ASAP. Also be alert to odd jostling or grinding sounds from the engine, which may point to an oil problem.
- Oil changes are an important preventative maintenance step, but they’re not everything. Also make sure you’re having your brakes inspected, fluids topped off, and tires rotated, among other things.
Stay abreast of your car’s routine maintenance needs… and to learn more about how to be a responsible car owner, keep tabs on the Get My Auto blog!