Oil changes are an important car maintenance task. Done regularly, not only does a change oil help keep your engine in peak running condition, it also helps extend its lifespan.
Engine oil performs three critical functions: it cleans, lubricates, and cools your engine’s internal components, preventing damage that can occur over time. However, its beneficial properties do not last forever, and so you’ll need to replace your engine oil eventually to ensure it’s clean, at the appropriate level, and matches the manufacturer’s recommended viscosity.
Here are five signs telling you that your oil needs changing, stat.
1. Engine stalls, is noisy, or jumpy
When the oil is low or dirty, it won’t do as good a job of lubricating and cooling the engine’s components. These can lead to metal parts grinding noisily, causing your engine to fail. Overheating can also become an issue. Getting your oil replaced immediately may be all it takes to solve all these problems.
2. Burnt oil smell
If you can smell burnt oil inside your cabin, that’s an alarming sign, as this indicates your engine is overheating and oil is burning into the exhaust system. This symptom is often accompanied by blue or gray smoke coming out of your pipes. Ignoring these symptoms can cause serious damage to your car, and possibly even spark an engine fire. Once you observe these issues, have your engine checked for leaks and get that oil replaced right away.
3. Black oil
Clean engine oil has a brownish hue. Over time, it can turn dark or completely black as it collects dirt and residue from the engine’s combustion. When you check your engine oil, make sure to not only inspect its level, but its transparency as well. If it’s thick and dark, it’s time to schedule that oil change.
4. ‘Engine Light’ is on
When the ‘Engine Light’ comes on in your dashboard, it can potentially mean there’s too little oil in your engine. It can also indicate a whole host of problems that puts your engine at a high risk of damage, so once you see the light, check the oil level, top it up as necessary, and bring your car in for a checkup as soon as possible.
5. Excessive fuel consumption
Have you observed that you need to refuel your vehicle more often than before? That can mean your oil is in poor state and calling out for a much-needed replacement. Oil thickens with use, which puts more stress on the engine. When the engine works harder, you use up more fuel.
Experts recommend having your oil changed every 5,000 kms or three months, whichever comes first. However, different manufacturers have different recommendations, so make sure to stick your manufacturer’s recommendations, especially if your vehicle is still under warranty.