3 Signs It’s Time to Change Your Vehicle’s Oil

Published on November 9, 2022

One of the most common questions we get from our car neighbors here in Melbourne is “When do I know if it’s time to change my oil?” The answer might surprise you as there are 3 tell-tale signs as to when it is time to grab some fresh oil for your car.

There are three things you should look for when thinking about changing your oil. First, pull the dipstick and see where the oil line is. Second, look at the color of your oil. Third, if you either smell or see oil anywhere outside of the car its time to change your oil.

If you don’t want to deal with changing your own oil or want to make sure everything is done by a professional then reach out to us here at Cassels Garage. We have been servicing the greater Brevard area for over 56 years! Reach out to us today for a no-obligation discussion about what you think your car needs done!

Pull the Dipstick and See Where the Oil Line Is At

One of the easiest ways to see that it is time for your car or truck’s oil to be changed is to look and see how much oil you have left in the engine.

Because of how car engines are made oil will be burned slowly over time. This is because not everything inside of the engine is water/oil tight. What this means is that slowly over time the oil ‘level’ inside of your car will start to go down.

Don’t worry, car engines are designed to do this. If you read through your car’s manual you can see the estimated range for how fast your car will go through oil. For example, a new Ford truck in the medium size range will go through about 1 quart of oil every 2,000 miles so long as the truck is maintained properly.

Depending on your vehicle this oil burn over time might be lower or higher. The easiest way to see how much oil you have left is to pull the dipstick on your engine and hold it on top of a disposable paper towel.

While you have the dipstick in the light look at where the oil level is on it. Most dipsticks have a range right on the stick itself to show you the normal level. If your car is on either end of this range then it’s time to change the oil.

Look at the Color of Your Oil on the Dipstick

Another easy way to tell if it is time for your oil to be changed is to look at the actual color of your oil on the dipstick.

All oil in a vehicle’s engine will slowly turn black over time as you use the car. This is because the gas we use to power our cars and trucks is not 100% filtered. Slowly over time ash and soot will build up in the oil of your car turning it black.

When you have oil that has not been changed for a very long time the oil will become extremely dark. In extreme situations, this oil can turn into a sludge-like mixture that can cause serious damage to your vehicle’s engine.

Because of this build-up of dirt in the car’s oil, you should always look at your oil color when thinking about changing the oil. Simply by pulling the dipstick and running it over a white paper towel you can see if the oil needs to be changed. If you have oil that is black then it is time to change it out.

Here at Cassels, we will give you an honest answer about if you need to have your oil changed. This is one of the first things we do and we encourage everybody in Melbourne to do the same thing before taking it to a local mechanic.

If You either Smell or See Oil Anywhere Outside of the Car It’s Time to Change Your Oil.

Here is another major sign it’s time to change your oil. If you see oil or smell it outside of your car’s engine then you should bring it to a local mechanic.

Over time valves, gaskets, and other parts will slowly start to wear down. This will expose the internal parts of the engine to the outside world and can cause the oil to start leaking out.

If at this point the oil lands on a hot surface such as your exhaust system then it will burn and you will get a burning oil smell outside the car. For those who have never smelled burning oil, it has a smell similar to burnt sourdough bread mixed with the smell of tires.

Trust us, you will know when you smell it.

On the other hand, if you see oil on the ground surrounding your car then it is time to take the car to a mechanic to have the oil changed and plug the hole. Don’t worry sometimes what is causing the oil to lead is just a bolt that needs to be tightened. We can usually tell you right away what needs to be changed.

As such, if you either see oil outside the car or smell it then it is definitely time for you to take your car in to get it looked at by a local mechanic. Not only will they diagnose the problem but they will change out the oil.

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