When to Change Your Motor Oil


Your vehicle’s motor oil plays an important role in keeping the engine running. Oil helps to lubricate the engine, prevent overheating, collect dirt and debris, and protect against corrosion. But, like most things, oil breaks down over time. Regular oil changes can help prolong the life of your engine and keep your vehicle running smoothly.

When should you change your oil?

Some manufacturers will recommend an oil change after 7,000 to 10,000 miles, but we’ve found that most vehicles need an oil change before then. Our recommendation is every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. The age of your car, the amount and type of driving that you do, and the type of oil you use can all extend or shorten the time between oil changes.

Older Cars

The intervals between oil changes in older car models is typically based on milage. Most owner’s manuals will list two different schedules: a “normal” operation schedule and a “severe” operation schedule. Most severe schedules are for vehicles that carry a lot of heavy loads, frequently drive through stop-and-go traffic, frequently make short trips (5 miles or less), or are driven in extreme climates (hot, cold, dusty).

Newer Cars

Most newer car models are outfitted with oil-life monitoring systems. These systems automatically detect when an oil change is needed. Because these systems are designed to add extra time based on vehicle use, the need for a severe oil change schedule is eliminated. If your car has an oil-life monitoring system, be sure to have it reset every time your oil is changed.

Signs You Need an Oil Change

If you notice any of the following signs in your vehicle, it may be time for an oil change.

  • Knocking or ticking coming from your engine—These noises can indicate that an oil change is due. If you hear knocking, it will mostly like be while the car is in motion. If you hear ticking, it’ll typically be when you start your engine.
  • Low oil levels—Almost all newer cars have a low oil or low oil pressure light that will appear on your dashboard when your oil pressure is too low. If you have an older car, be sure to check your oil level every month and top it off when needed. If you notice a significant dip in your oil level, this may be a sign that you need to change your oil or that you have an oil leak.
  • Dirty or thick oil—When you’re checking the oil, pay attention to the color and the consistency of it. Most oils are clear or yellowish in color, and the consistency should be pretty thin. If you notice bits of dirt in the oil, or if it has a thick, yogurt-like consistency, it’s time for an oil change.
  • Smoke coming from your exhaust—Most newer cars don’t have noticeable amounts of smoke coming from the exhaust. This is almost always a sign of a problem. You can start by changing your oil, and if that doesn’t solve it, bring it to a mechanic for repairs.
  • A burning smell coming from your engine—Burning smells can be a sign that your engine is overheating. The best way to prevent this is through regular oil changes. If the smell isn’t coming directly from the engine or if the oil was recently changed, it may be a sign of an oil leak.
  • Dashboard warning lights—Both the check engine light and the oil change light can be indicators that you need an oil change. If you see a warning on your dashboard, schedule an oil change.

Call Restored Auto, LLC for your oil change.

Whether you drive a new car or an older car, it’s important to get regular oil changes. Restored Auto, LLC can help. Call our office to schedule your oil change and keep your car running smoothly.