Of all the routine maintenance you should be performing on your car, regular oil changes just might be the most important. Clean, quality oil ensures that your engine works properly, reducing potential damage to the engine and, by extension, reducing your likelihood of vehicle failure.
Fortunately, every owner’s manual will include a suggested time period and/or number of miles at which to change your oil, so it’s easy to know when it is time. You can also check your oil at home, in between changes, if you are concerned.
Once your car has cooled down, the steps for checking your oil at home are simple. Pop open the trunk, locate the dipstick, wipe any oil off its end, and then stick it back all the way into its tube.
Then, when you pull the dipstick out again, you are looking for two things. One, there will be an indicator on the stick letting you know the oil level. Two, you will be looking to see if the oil looks dark or gritty, meaning it is dirty.
Dirtiness is one of the main reasons to change your oil, regardless of how high or low the oil level is. Dirty oil does not function properly. Not only is it not keeping your engine lubricating, but it can also be directly damaging your engine.
Outside of a low oil level, dirty oil, and regular maintenance time – there are two other situations in which you should get your oil checked out. If you hear way more noise than usual coming from your engine, you should check the oil. And, if you see a “check engine” light pop up on your dashboard, you should of course do exactly that.
If you still have any questions about when to get your oil changed, how, and why, feel free to contact us anytime at Shults Ford of Harmarville!