You’ve probably heard you should get your oil changed every 3,000 miles. Or was it 5,000? Or every three months?

No matter. We’ve got you covered. Below are three vital signs your car needs an oil change.

When to Get an Oil Change

While 3,000 to 5,000 miles is usually a pretty good estimate, it’s only that — an estimate. Things like climate, type of oil used, and driving style can all have an impact on the life of a batch of oil.

The best way to know when you need to schedule your next oil change is to listen to what your car is telling you. Look for these signs.

Your oil appears dark and dirty

As oil ages, it thickens up due to all of the particles it collects from the engine, which makes it darker in appearance. Thicker oil does not provide as effective of lubrication as newer, thinner oil, which has more of an amber-colored look. Check the color of the oil on your dipstick. A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t see the dipstick through the oil, it’s time for a change.

Your engine sounds louder than usual

Because older oil is less effective at lubricating the engine, there will be more friction as parts rub against each other. This increased friction can be noisy and even produce a “knocking” sound.

Your dashboard lights are on

This one may sound like a no-brainer, but many vehicles will have an oil pressure indicator on the dashboard that illuminates when the car senses that it’s in need of service. The oil light typically looks like an oil lamp sometimes with a small drop falling from the nozzle. On some cars, a low oil level can even trigger the check engine light.

When You Might Have an Oil Leak

Even worse than needing an oil change is having an oil leak. Not only is it dangerous to drive a car with a low oil level, but doing so can cause expensive or irreparable damage to the engine.

Your dashboard oil light or check engine light can indicate a low oil level, while two additional signs of an oil leak include:

  • Excessive smoke coming from the exhaust
  • A noticeable oil smell inside the cabin

Schedule Your Oil Change in Asheboro, NC

If you suspect your car needs an oil change, schedule a service appointment with the factory-trained technicians at Asheboro Honda in Asheboro, North Carolina. We’ll match the right kind of oil to your car, check your other fluids, and alert you of any additional service needs to keep your vehicle running safe and smooth.