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How Can You Tell When You Need an Oil Change?

How can you tell when you are due for an oil change? Your car will often show a variety of signs that it needs care. Here is a closer look at the top five signs your car is due for an oil change.

Sign 1: Low Oil Levels

Here is a quick overview of how to check your oil levels:

  • Locate the oil area of your engine (this is marked by the same symbol found in your oil dashboard light).
  • Pull out the dipstick and wipe it off with an old rag. This will remove old oil for a clear reading.
  • Reinsert the dipstick and pull it back out.

Most engines run on between 5 and 8 quarts of oil. You can find more specific details about your recommended car care in your owner’s manual.

Sign 2: Contaminated Engine Oil

Oil composition is another indicator of a needed oil change. Clean engine oil is often a light amber color. It should be somewhat translucent and glossy. If you notice dirt, sludge, or discoloration when you check your oil levels, it is time for an oil change.

Sign 3: Engine Oil Leaks

If you notice engine oil stains in your driveway and along other surfaces you frequent, chances are that you are low on oil. Oil leaking is a two-fold problem: 

  • Leaking oil means you likely have a break somewhere in your engine allowing oil to escape
  • As oil leaks, you will put yourself at risk for further engine issues

A professional will need to replenish your engine oil and find the source of your leak. 

Sign 4: Oil Change Schedule

Routine oil changes can be calculated based on your mileage or the time since your last oil change. Here is a quick guide on how to keep up with your oil change schedule

Sign 5: Driving Differences and Performance Issues

Ideally, drivers will get an oil change before their car starts showing signs of struggle. However, there are a few cues that you might notice in your car once your engine oil is low:

  • Noises: Engine oil helps all of your car’s mechanical parts move together. When engine oil is low or depleted, you might begin to hear some straining noises coming from your engine. 
  • Overheating: Your radiator is responsible for most of your engine cooling. However, your oil also has vital cooling properties essential to your vehicle. If your engine is showing signs of overheating, this could mean low engine oil. 
  • Performance: If you notice your car driving differently than usual, such as trouble starting or slow acceleration, it could be a sign of engine oil troubles. 

Chapel Hill Tire Local Oil Changes

When you are due for an oil change, the mechanics at Chapel Hill Tire are here for you. We proudly serve the greater Triangle area with 9 locations across Apex, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Durham. Our professional mechanics also commonly serve surrounding communities, including Knightdale, Cary, Pittsboro, Wake Forest, Hillsborough, Morrisville, and beyond. We invite you to make an appointment, browse our coupons, or give us a call to get started today!

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