Engine oil lubricates the moving parts of your engine as well as cleaning, cooling and protecting these parts, preventing your engine from seizing up. It is important to regularly check your oil levels in order to keep your car running smoothly. Regular changing of engine oil is necessary as its lubrication properties don’t last forever. Typically, 4,000-6,000 is still an acceptable range to keep your oil churning.

Fred’s Auto Center in West Haven, CT shares their suggestions for some of the ways you can spot if your car needs an oil change.

1. Unusually louder Engine than Normal

You will know better than anyone how your car usually sounds so it should be easy to hear anything that sounds out of the ordinary. Dirty oil tends to be slugger and thus more difficult to move. This means there’s a good chance you may experience some valve train noise in the form of ticking when starting. Dirty oil takes longer to circulate through the engine to lubricate the moving valve train. As engine oil becomes old and loses its lubricating properties the moving parts in the engine may begin to grind against one another causing major damage if not addressed.

2. Dashboard oil replacement light is on

A dashboard light or message will illuminate when your next oil change is due. If your oil light comes on, you won’t want to ignore this as it typically means your oil pressure has dropped far too low for the engine to operate safely.

This reminder light is set by the automobile manufacturer and it’s the recommended oil change interval and must be reset after every oil change. Don’t confuse this with the oil pressure dashboard light which could suggest insufficient oil in the engine that can lead to permanent engine damage. Represented by a dripping oil can image on the dashboard.

3. Frequent oil levels dropping

Even after topping up your engine oil but the level keeps dropping below the minimum indicator on your dipstick, it could suggest a problem. As the oil loses its lubrication, your engine will use more of it to ensure its moving parts keep running smoothly. This trait is mainly evident when there is either a leak or the oil is no longer up to the job and a complete oil change is required.

4. Check the consistency

Engines eat up engine oil gradually thus will not do its job quite as effectively. The engine is going to use more of it to make sure it’s still running smoothly. Check the color of the oils as well as its. If the oil is coarse or you can feel any grittiness this is another sign that the oil contains contaminants and should be replaced.

5.Check the Color of the Oil

When doing the routine dip sticking, pay attention to the color of the oil. Fresh oil has a transparent light brown color but over time this will start to turn darker and can eventually become thick and black.

Once you see the oil has turned black and it’s not transparent, its then the right time to change it as this may contain particulates that can cause gunk to form in the engine.

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