How to tell if a car needs an oil change

oil change

There are many checks which are essential when carrying out vehicle maintenance, one of the most necessary of all is changing the oil. It is a simple check which needs to be carried out in order to lengthen the life of your engine. Lack of oil can cause corrosion and wear on a vehicle as well as possibly lead to thermal breakdown and poor engine performance.

To check the oil level of your vehicle you need to make sure that the engine is cold and parked on a flat surface to ensure that all readings are accurate. You firstly need to pull out the dipstick, if you aren’t entirely sure where it is located, just refer to your owners handbook. The next step is to wipe clean the dipstick with a clean cloth/towel. You then need to place it back in and leave it for a few seconds. When you pull it back out, the indicator line will tell you how much oil you have in your engine or if it needs to be changed.

pouring oil

Engine Light

If the engine light is highlighted on your vehicles dashboard, this may be an indication that your car needs an oil change. Checking your oil should be the first check you carry out when the this light appears as it is a simple and quick to do so. However, on newer vehicles it is likely that they will have their own engine gauge.


Try to have a schedule of when you’re going to check your vehicles oil levels, even try to make a note of it to prevent you from forgetting the last time you carried it out. It is recommended that you change your oil around every 3,000 miles, apart from drivers who accrue a lot of miles on the motorway, as it helps clean out carbon from the engine.

Engine Noises

If your engine is running louder than usual it is likely that it will need a change of oil. When oil levels run too low, it picks up dirt or thickens, which causes engines to run louder than normal. It is essential that you check your oil immediately it this occurs. The noises may begin fairly quietly at first, but can gradually get worse over time which will ultimately have a bigger impact on the engine.

Oil Colour

The colour of the oil can also highlight if you need an oil change. The oil should generally be a honey like colour. As the oil begins to get dirty, it begins to darken until it eventually can turn black. If the oil is black and thick, you need to carry out an oil change immediately.

black oil

Exhaust Smoke

Exhaust smoke can be an indicator that your vehicle is overdue an oil change. If you notice smoke coming from the exhaust, check your oil to either highlight or eliminate that the oil needs changing as it could be a potentially serious problem with your vehicle.

It is essential practice to check your vehicles oil, as it can highlight whether an oil change is needed. Drivers often overlook the importance of checking the oil as they aren’t aware of the serious repercussions which it can have on their engines. By taking five minutes out to check, it can save the driver a lot of time and money in the future.

black smoke

Asda Tyres are a highly experience retailer which supply top brands and provide a quality fitting service. Car care and maintenance tips are also available.

  • How to tell if a car needs an oil change
  • How to tell if a car needs an oil change

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