If you own a car, you probably know that you’ll need to change your engine oil from time to time. But do you know when you need to change it?

Acting as a lubricant for all of the moving parts within your vehicle, your engine oil is vitally important to your car’s performance. But because it moves through your vehicle, over time it becomes dirty and less effective. That’s when you need to think about changing your oil. This is how you can tell when that time has come.

How Do You Know If You Need to Change Your Engine Oil?

1. Check the colour of your oil

The colour of your oil is a really good indication of whether or not it’s time for an oil change. Clean, fresh engine oil is a clear, golden-brown colour. As it works its way around your engine, it will pick up impurities, which will darken the colour and reduce its transparency. If the oil on your dipstick seems thick and no longer see-through, or a dark black in colour, it’s time for a change.

2. Your engine is noisier than usual

There are lots of different reasons why your car might not sound like it should do. It could be problems with your exhaust or catalytic converter. It could be your bearings. Or a dozen other factors. But there’s also a good chance that your engine oil needs changing. If your oil isn’t properly lubricating your engine’s moving parts, it will impact on your vehicle’s performance – and noise levels.

3. Your oil level keeps falling

As your oil gets old, it becomes thicker. This means that more of it is used as it moves through your vehicle. And the more oil is used, the more frequently it will drop below your car’s minimum required level. If this keeps happening, you need to replace your oil.

4. If you’ve driven more than the recommended milage since your last oil change

Every car is different. And every manufacturer issues its own guidelines. But, if you want to keep your vehicle performing well, you need to change your oil according to the recommended mileage. With a Vauxhall Astra, for example, you need to change your oil either once a year or every 20,000 miles, whichever comes first. Other manufacturers will recommend an oil change after 3,000 miles. So, check your user manual, then check your milage.  

5. Your oil change light is illuminated

Lastly, and perhaps most obviously, if your car’s oil change light is illuminated, it’s a good idea to check – and change – your oil.

If you think that your car oil needs changing, it’s simple to check it yourself. Just open your car bonnet and find its dipstick. Pull out the dipstick and wipe it on a cloth. If the oil is still transparent and lighter in colour, you’re fine for a little while longer. If the oil is dark and thick, you need to change it. You can change your oil yourself, sourcing the best quality engine oil online. Or, you can see your local mechanic.

If you need help finding the best engine oil for your vehicle, get in touch with Online Automotive