Common Signs That Indicate Your Vehicle Needs An Oil Change

Common Signs That Indicate Your Vehicle Needs An Oil Change

Regular oil changes are an essential part of vehicle maintenance. They help keep your engine running smoothly and prevent costly repairs down the line. But how do you know when it’s time to change your oil? Here are some common signs that indicate your vehicle needs an oil change.

1. Check Engine Light

One of the most obvious signs that your vehicle needs an oil change is the check engine light. If this light comes on, it could be a sign that your engine oil is dirty or low. Ignoring this warning can lead to engine damage and more expensive repairs. So, if you see the check engine light, it’s best to bring your vehicle to a trusted mechanic as soon as possible.

2. Dark and Dirty Oil

Checking your oil regularly and inspecting its condition can help determine if it’s time for an oil change. Fresh oil is usually amber or golden in color. However, over time, the oil will become darker and dirtier as it picks up debris and contaminants from the engine. If you notice that your oil is thick, black, or gritty, it’s a clear sign that it’s time for a change.

3. Loud Engine Noise

If you start to notice strange sounds coming from your engine, it could be a sign that your oil is low or old. Engine oil helps lubricate moving parts and reduces friction, so when it’s not doing its job properly, you may hear a knocking or rattling noise. This noise usually occurs when the oil is not able to reach all the necessary areas in your engine, indicating that an oil change is necessary.

4. Decreased Fuel Efficiency

Another sign that your vehicle needs an oil change is a decrease in fuel efficiency. Dirty oil creates more friction, making the engine work harder and using more fuel. If you notice that you’re not getting as many miles per gallon as you used to, it could be a result of dirty or low oil levels. Changing your oil regularly can help improve your fuel efficiency and save you money in the long run.

5. Burning Smell

If you start to smell something burning while driving your vehicle, it could be a sign that the oil is old and needs to be changed. Over time, oil breaks down and loses its lubrication properties, which can lead to overheating in the engine. This can cause a burning smell and potentially cause serious damage to your engine if not addressed promptly.

6. Engine Overheating

Regular oil changes help regulate the temperature of your engine by reducing friction and preventing overheating. If your engine starts to overheat, it could be a sign that your oil has become too dirty and ineffective in cooling the engine. An overheating engine can lead to major mechanical issues and should be addressed immediately by a professional.

7. Exhaust Smoke

Exhaust smoke can be an indication that your oil is old and needs to be changed. If you notice blue or gray smoke coming from your exhaust pipe, it usually means that oil is burning inside the engine. This can be caused by worn-out piston rings or seals, which allow oil to leak into the combustion chamber. Regular oil changes can help prevent this issue and keep your exhaust clean and smoke-free.


Regular oil changes are crucial for maintaining the performance and longevity of your vehicle. By paying attention to these common signs, you can ensure that your vehicle receives the necessary oil changes when needed. Remember, it’s always best to consult a professional mechanic to assess your vehicle’s oil condition and determine the appropriate time for an oil change.

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Since 1976, Scotty’s Complete Car Care Center has been proud to have a strong presence in the great community that we all live in. As a family owned and operated business Scotty’s has evolved from a small two bay muffler shop to Your Complete Car Care Center. Scotty’s Complete Car Care Center now houses more than 23 repair bays to perform anything from quick full service oil changes to engine repair in the undercar center. It is important to everyone at Scotty’s Complete Car Care Center to provide the Grand Valley with quality auto repairs at a fair price. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you!