How to Know When You Need an Oil Change

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As any experienced driver knows, regular maintenance is essential for keeping a car in good condition. One integral part of car care is ensuring that you get your oil changed regularly. Maintaining clean oil is important to maintain a healthy engine. If it is not performed routinely, it can result in severe engine problems.

The good news is that there are several signs that indicate when you are overdue for an oil change. You can maintain your vehicle's optimal performance by being knowledgeable about them.

Benefits and Importance of Oil Changes

Most people know they need to change the oil in their car regularly, but they may not know why it's so important. Changing the oil helps to prevent significant problems and keep your car running smoothly. In addition, fresh oil helps improve fuel efficiency and performance.

Here are some benefits of regular oil changes:

1. Helps Keep the Engine Clean

Oil changes help maintain the cleanliness of your engine. Fresh oil helps to lubricate the engine parts, reducing wear and tear. As a result, regular oil changes can prevent costly repairs down the road. 

2. Prevents Engine Overheating

Oil changes are important to prevent the engine from overheating. Over time, engine oil deteriorates and becomes less effective at lubricating engine components. Not changing the oil can result in the engine working harder, making it overheat. You can help keep the engine running cooler by changing the oil regularly.

3. Improves Engine Efficiency

By changing your oil more often, you can extend the life of your engine and enhance its performance. In addition, fresh oil can also help to improve fuel economy by reducing friction in the engine. Regular oil changes can save you money in the long run.

4. Eco-Friendly

By regularly changing your oil, you can help to improve your gas mileage. In addition, using synthetic or recycled oils can further reduce your environmental impact because they are designed to last longer than conventional oils. If you're looking for ways to be more eco-friendly, don't forget about your oil change schedule.

Signs You Are Due for an Oil Change

Among the major considerations you can make to keep your car functioning properly is to perform regular maintenance. But how to know when you need an oil change? Or you may ask, "how do I know when I need an oil change?"

Here are several warning signs that indicate it's time for an oil change.

  • Mileage is too high: Depending on your driving habits, you might be due for an oil change as soon as you hit the maximum mileage specified in your car's owner's manual. 
  • Dirty oil: You should also take a look at your oil dipstick every once in a while. If the oil is dark and murky, it's time to change.
  • Engine noises: Listen for engine knocks or unusual sounds from your engine bay. If you notice that your car is making more noise than usual, it may be time for an oil change.
  • Burning oil smell: If you notice a burning oil smell when you start your car, it is probably that the oil has degenerated and is no longer doing its job properly.
  • Car's service warning lights: You must pay attention to this. Many modern vehicles have sensors that detect when the oil needs to be changed, and the warning light will come on when it's time to go in and get it changed.
  • Engine overheating: This happens when the oil cannot move the heat away from the engine fast enough. When the oil becomes dirty or sludgy, it cannot effectively lubricate the engine parts, leading to increased friction and heat.
  • Check Engine Light: If you drive too long without changing your oil, it may cause severe damage to the engine due to overheating. When this happens, your check engine light may come on indicating that your motor is in need of a maintenance service.

These were just a few signs to help you know when it's time for an oil change. We recommend that you check your oil level regularly to ensure there is a proper amount and to check if it’s the right color. Moreover, it is wise to seek your car's owner manual or service center for guidance on when to change your oil.

The Differences Between Regular and Synthetic Oil

Oil assists in greasing the moving parts, preventing overheating, and removing harmful contaminants. When it comes to finding the right oil for your vehicle, you'll encounter two different types: regular and synthetic. Here's a quick difference between the two:

Regular Oil

Regular oil is made from crude oil that has been refined, derived from natural sources, and contains a variety of additives. It is less expensive than synthetic oil but doesn't last as long and isn't as effective at protecting your engine.

Synthetic Oil

Synthetic oil is made from artificial chemicals designed to meet specific specifications and provide superior performance. It can better lubricate engine components and protect against wear and tear. It can typically hold up longer and go for up to 5,000 miles before it needs to be changed.

You can use regular or synthetic oil if your vehicle is older. Most experts recommend synthetic oil for newer cars. Regardless of the oil you choose, check your owner's manual for specific recommendations.

What Happens if You Don't Change Your Oil Regularly

If you do not change your oil regularly, some problems can arise. First, the oil will get dirty and will not properly polish the engine. This can lead to increased surface roughness on the engine's components, leading to eventual engine failure.

Also, old oil can gel and block the oil filter, leading to engine damage. Finally, if the oil is not changed regularly, it will break down and will no longer be effective at protecting the engine.


It's essential to stay on top of your car maintenance, including regular oil changes. At America's Service Station, we can help you keep your car in good shape so you can avoid expensive repairs later on. Come see us today if you car needs an oil change or other routine services!


How long can I go without an oil change?

Sometimes it can be difficult how to know when you need an oil change. At most, you should be able to go 5,000 miles between oil changes. If you drive in stop-and-go traffic or extreme conditions, you may need to change your oil more frequently. 

How often do I need an oil change?

Oil changes are typically needed every 3,000 miles or every three months, whichever comes first. However, this may vary depending on your vehicle's make and model and driving habits. Check your owner’s manual or ask your local mechanic to be sure.

Can I change my own oil?

Owners can change their oil if they're comfortable. If you don’t have experience with vehicle maintenance, it is probably best to consult a professional, especially if you're unsure what kind of oil to use in your car or how to dispose of used oil.