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3 Signs Your Car Needs an Oil Change

February 6th, 2021


What are the signs your car needs an oil change?

  1. Change oil light is lit
  2. Rumbling noise from the engine
  3. Presence of sludge


Your car engine contains several moving parts that may come into contact with one another as long as they’re running. As such, the engine oil helps prevent friction from occurring and slows down the wear and tear in your vehicle. For a car owner like you, you may easily forget this piece of information. You may end up driving your car without knowing the warning signs that your car needs an oil change.

Fortunately, these signs aren’t difficult to spot, like a lit change oil light, dark-colored oil, or a vibrating noise from your engine. In any of these instances, it’s important that you take action to change the oil by yourself, or have it done by a professional. Read on to learn more.


Change Oil Light Is Lit

A good indicator that there’s an issue with your car’s engine oil, is the change oil light sign. This can be spotted in your dashboard — its symbol looks like a container with a drop of fluid, usually in the yellow, orange, or red color, depending on your car.

When this warning sign is turned on, it usually means that your engine has experienced a drop in oil pressure. The present engine oil isn’t able to do the job of lubricating the engine components, which may lead to low fuel economy or warped parts.

If you’re on the road and this sign lights up, make sure to pull over to a safe spot where you can inspect the oil levels. If there’s a leak, take your car to the nearest servicing shop. The personnel can also identify if this is the cause of the low pressure, or if the oil is simply dirty. In that case, have an oil change done on the spot. This process doesn’t take any longer than an hour and will make sure that your vehicle is well-lubricated for further use.


Rumbling Noise from The Engine

It’s always a good idea to bring with you a spare bottle of engine oil wherever you go. In this way, you can easily top it up in cases of low oil levels which can also lead to clanking sounds or rumbling noises in the engine.

The noise you hear is produced by the valves which can clatter when there isn’t enough oil that’s getting to them. If the car isn’t in motion, immediately top it up with oil as indicated by the user manual — some cars may require 3, 7, or 10 Liters depending on the make and model.

Rumbling noises can also be a result of other mechanical problems in your vehicle, such as wheel misalignment, wheel bearing problems, suspension issues, low brake fluid, and the like. Make sure that you’ve crossed out all these other problems in order to determine if the noise is really due to low levels of oil.


Presence of Sludge

Oil sludge can appear in various ways, depending on the severity. If there’s too much build-up, the sludge can come in blob-like formations that can scatter throughout the engine. In some cases, they appear to be a thin layer of tar that seems to have spilled on some of the engine parts.

Sludge is caused by a combination of oil and unwanted contaminants like debris or moisture. Chemical reactions between the engine oil and the atmospheric environment may also lead to this grimy, dark-colored substance. Bring your car to a servicing shop to clean the engine and address any oil issues experienced by the vehicle.


Key Takeaway

In this short guide, you’ve learned some of the common signs your car needs an oil change. Although it isn’t exhaustive, the list covered indicators, like the oil warning light on your dashboard, presence of dark oil sludge, and a distracting noise from the engine due to excessive friction.

When you encounter any one of these problems, you can always diagnose it on your own, but it’s still best to have a professional take a look at them. They can also provide you with invaluable advice on car maintenance so that you can prevent these issues from occurring.

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