How do you know if your car needs oil?

I would like to learn more about my vehicle and keep up with its maintenance needs. How do you know if your car needs an oil change?

Following a car maintenance schedule is important. For oil changes, there are a few different ways to know whether it’s time for one.
  1. Excess exhaust. Visible exhaust from the tailpipe usually indicates that the oil is too old or dirty to function properly. This can also indicate other issues, like a cracked head gasket, so be sure to get it checked out as soon as possible.
  2. Noisy engine. The function of oil is to lubricate your engine so the moving parts can function without resistance. Since oil gets thinner as it ages, you may begin to hear a knocking sound as the oil inside the engine ages.
  3. Shaking while idling. The increased friction in your engine can affect your ride quality as the engine works harder to move the vehicle. This is especially noticeable when idling.
  4. Check engine light. Some vehicles may not have an oil light that illuminates when it’s time for maintenance or if there’s an issue with the oil system. Have your mechanic diagnose any check engine lights so you can get the proper service.
Keep in mind that your car may need oil changes more frequently as it ages or if you drive it for long distances often. This is also the case if you live in an extreme climate.
Concerned about your car breaking down? Try a roadside assistance membership with Jerry. Jerry’s roadside assistance membership protects you with their nationwide network of 55,000+ service providers.
Matthew Macgugan
Answered on Nov 01, 2021

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