Conventional wisdom says you should have your oil changed every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, depending on the type of oil your car takes. But while that serves as a good estimation, it’s sometimes better to just follow your senses.

Below are some signs that your vehicle needs an oil change and how you can tell when it’s time.

How to Tell Your Car Needs an Oil Change


Do you see dark and dirty oil?

Fresh oil has an amber color to it. Over time, the oil collects dirt particles deposited from the engine and begins to darken in color.

Check your oil by removing the dipstick, wiping the oil off, and reinserting. Remove it again and have a look. If you can see the dipstick through the oil, the oil is still clean. But if the oil is too thick and dark to see the dipstick, it may be time for a change.

Do you see smoke coming from your tailpipe?

It’s normal to see a thin vapor trail coming from your tailpipe, especially during colder weather. But if you’re noticing a thicker puff of smoke following you around, you may have an oil leak in your engine and thus your oil level may be low.

Do you see any dashboard warning lights?

Most cars will have a dashboard warning light that comes on if your oil level dips below a certain level. The light is most often a picture of an oil lamp dripping oil. Some cars will even trigger the check engine light to come on if there are insufficient oil levels.


Do you hear any unusual sounds?

Oil provides lubrication for moving engine parts. When the oil is low or becomes too thick and dirty, it’s unable to do its job and friction increases. If you hear grinding, knocking, or rumbling it may be time for a fresh batch of oil.


Do you smell burning oil inside the car?

Oil can leak its way onto the engine or exhaust system where it burns off and emits a noticeable smell into the car. If you’re smelling burning oil from inside the cabin, you should not only have your oil topped off but have your car checked for a possible leak.

Bring Your Car to Moore Buick GMC

If you’re noticing any of the above signs with your vehicle, bring it into Moore Buick GMC, your source for Buick and GMC service in Jacksonville, NC. Check out our Buick and GMC service coupons to see how we can help you save on your automotive care and make sure your car is a well-oiled machine.