How To know It's Time For An Oil Change?

An Oil Change

Oil is used to lubricate the moving parts of your engine, as well as cleaning, cooling, and protecting said parts. This enables your engine to run smoothly. However, engine oil lubricating abilities do not last forever, since the oil will get dirty and its chemical properties will change. At some point, you will need to change your oil to prevent engine damage—or worse, replacement. But how do you know when to do so? Here are a few tips:

Dipstick

Your engine has a dipstick, which is a rod for measuring the oil’s depth. Remove it from the engine to see the color of the oil, which blackens as it absorbs combustion byproducts and contaminants. If the oil on the dipstick is dark and thick, however, the engine could be developing sludge, which can block the oilways and lubrication channels. You will need to change the oil to avoid that.

Engine Noise

Oil provides a thin barrier between the engine parts to avoid metal-on-metal contact, thus enabling a smooth and noiseless operation. However, when the oil begins to break down, it becomes less effective in providing that barrier. As a result, you might begin to hear knocking, rumbling, or even roaring, which will become worse if the oil is not changed immediately.

Indicator Lights

On your dashboard will be icons or phrases that represent the engine or oil change. These indicators will light up if there’s too little oil in the engine. Once you see any of these lights turn on, check your oil level with the dipstick. In some cases, the engine indicator will turn on to denote that your vehicle is at high risk of engine damage. It’s usually safe to skip checking the dipstick and take it to a dealership right away.

Consistently Low Oil

In some instances, your oil can remain low regardless of how many times you change it. So, it is possible that your vehicle is leaking oil, and you can find out from where. For instance, if you see oil on the ground, then a gasket is leaking. Or it might be a valve seal leak if you start the engine on a cold morning and you see smoke coming out of the exhaust. Or it might be a defective piston ring if the blue smoke appears when the engine is heated up. These parts can be repaired or replaced at the dealership.

Mileage

Changing Oil

Typically, it is recommended that oil be changed every 3,000 miles or three months, whichever comes first. However, vehicles vary according to make, model, age, and type of engine. Also, automakers differ from each other in their oil change schedules. Check your owner’s manual for a more precise oil change and maintenance schedule for your vehicle.

Ready for an oil change? Call us today at Camelback Subaru in Phoenix, Arizona, to set up an appointment. Our service specialists will ensure that your vehicle will get the right oil change based on what the manufacturer recommends.

Categories: Service, How To

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