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How Do I Know When to Change My Oil?

Even if you know absolutely nothing about cars or what is going on “under the hood,” you are probably aware of the need to change your engine oil. Engine oil is an essential part of your car, helping to lubricate the litany of moving parts in the engine to keep them from overheating. In order to keep everything in your car and the engine running smoothly, you are required to change your oil on a regular basis. So how do you know when to change your car engine’s oil?

Pay Attention to the Service Light on Your Dashboard

Many cars, especially newer models, will have a “service” light or “service engine” light that will illuminate based on when it is time to change the oil on your engine. This is based on an internal service counter that is usually built into the dashboard of your car. Look into your car’s service manual to see if you have an oil change service light.

Set a Reminder

If your car does not have an oil change service light built into the vehicle, set your own independent reminder. Look into your car manual to find what the recommended time or miles interval is between oil changes, and set a corresponding reminder on your smartphone. It’s definitely easy to forget things nowadays with how busy life can get, so make things simple by setting a reminder.

Change Your Oil Every 3,000 to 7,000 Miles

If you are unable to find a good recommendation for oil change intervals in your car manual or online, a good general rule of thumb is to change your oil every 3,000 to 7,000 miles. At this point, you should also replace the oil filter as well. Where your car stands on the spectrum from 3,000 to 7,000 miles depends on the make and model of your vehicle, with different kinds of cars having different oil change intervals. Even if you can’t find a recommendation for your specific make or model, do a little research to find similar cars and find the oil change interval of those cars.

Signs Your Oil Needs Changing

While relying on mile intervals for oil changes is a good general rule, sometimes things don’t go as planned and your oil may need to be changed sooner than the prescribed amount of time. Be on the lookout for these signs that it is time to change your oil.

  • Loud Engine Noises. If the oil is no longer properly lubricating the engine, you will notice an increase in noise and a bunch of knocking and rumbling.
  • Dirty Oil From the Dipstick Test. Once a month, perform the dipstick test. Clean oil is amber colored and gets darker and dirtier as it ages, so a good way to check if it is time for an oil change is to check the color of the oil. Remove the dipstick from your engine, clean it off, then reinsert it. Remove it again, and if the oil is thick and dark it is time for an oil change.
  • Exhaust Smoke. If your car is puffing out smoke from the exhaust pipe, it could be a sign that you need to change your oil or there could even be an oil leak. If this is the case, get your car serviced immediately.

Get an Oil Change from Mobi Automotive in San Diego

If you think it is time for an oil change, contact Mobi Automotive today. We will send a trusted mobile mechanic to your house to service your car and change your oil, meaning you can go along with your day without the hassle of bringing your car to a mechanic. To learn more about the services Mobi Automotive offers or to schedule an appointment, give us a call at (858) 610-6646.

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