8 Signs Your Car Needs an Oil Change

Getting your engine oil and oil filter changed is absolutely the most important preventative maintenance service that any vehicle requires. Clean, fresh oil will help keep the engine healthy and provide better automotive performance, in general. Some modern vehicles that use synthetic oils and synthetic blends don't need the oil changed as often as most older cars, but all vehicles will require this maintenance periodically. Check your owner's manual or consult with your mechanic on how often you should get an oil change.

If you aren't sure the last time you changed your oil or you think you may be overdue for an oil change, here are some signs to look for according to Simard Automotive:

1. Low on Oil

It is very easy to check your oil yourself using the handy dipstick under the hood. If the oil level is below the recommended line, you may need to top it off or you might be overdue for an oil change.

2. Oil Looks Dark and/or Dirty

While you are checking your oil level, you will also want to look at the consistency of the oil itself. If it is really dark and thick, or if it is dirty or milky, you are likely in need of an oil change soon. Milky oil is especially concerning as that means water is leaking into the engine system

3. Oil Smells Burnt

One other thing to check for when looking at your oil level is the smell. The smell shouldn't be too strong when the oil is healthy. If it smells burnt or has any other unusual odor, it probably means the oil and filter are past their prime and should be changed out soon.

4. Engine is Overheating

An overheating engine is usually the result of a cooling system problem, or a problem with the engine itself (often a failed head gasket). However, it could also happen if there's not enough oil in the system or if the oil quality is bad. Any sign of the engine overheating should be cause for concern, so take your vehicle to a mechanic as soon as possible to determine the cause.

5. Engine is Stalling

An engine that keeps stalling out is another sign of an oil issue. Again, this could be something else like the battery, alternator or spark plugs, so it is worth getting looked at by a professional automotive technician.

6. Loss of Fuel Efficiency

If your car is experiencing a significant drop in fuel economy, there are many different causes that could be in play. One of those could be poor/low engine oil not allowing the engine to run as efficiently as possible.

7. Exhaust Smoke is Very Dark

If you notice that your exhaust smoke is unusually dark or the smell of exhaust is really strong within the vehicle, it could be a result of low motor oil level. It may also be an exhaust leak or other exhaust system issue. 

8. Warning Light is On

Last but not least would be the dashboard warning lights. Low oil levels can trip the check engine light and/or the oil pressure light. When any warning light comes on in your car, you shouldn't wait too long to get your vehicle checked out.

These are just a few common signs that your vehicle may be overdue for an oil change (or something else could be wrong). For your next oil change in Fairbanks, call Simard Automotive today at (855) 690-0889 (Aeronca Ave.) or (855) 639-5001 (Gaffney Rd.). We can keep you on a regular preventative maintenance plan, so your car or truck will stay as healthy as possible for as long as you own it. You can also book your appointment in advance using our online booking link.

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