How to check if your car needs an oil change

Motor oil is a lubricant that helps your engine function smoothly. Over time, it gets contaminated with dirt. This can cause several harmful effects such as stalling and erosion or could lead to complete seizure of the engine. So how do you know when it’s time to change/replenish your car’s oil?

The quick answer is to bring in your car to the nearest dealership for Preventive Maintenance Service (PMS) every 5,000 to 10,000 kms or every 3 to 6 months, whichever comes first and depending on the vehicle. In case you can’t visit the dealership that often, here’s a quick way to gauge if you need to pour in a gallon or 2 or get your car serviced.

First, make sure the engine is cold or has been off for at least 15-minutes. Search for the oil dipstick which may vary depending on the engine’s layout. 

Wear gloves (for safety) and gently pull out the dipstick and wipe the oil off on a clean rag then put it back in. If it doesn’t slide in, try to rotate the dipstick to allow it to naturally bend according to the pipes curve.

Pull the dipstick out again and check the oil residue at the end of the stick. See if the oil build-up starts an inch or two from the end. If so, this means that the engine still has sufficient oil in it. On the other hand, if it’s less than an inch then you’ll have to add more oil. In addition, most dipstick has an indicator (Add-Full) which would enable you to gauge if your car’s running low on oil. 

The color of the oil and its texture can also be a sign that you’re either good to go or need to change it.

First thing to do is check if its color is close to golden brown, the color of fresh motor oil. If the oil is too dark or black, then it’s time to change oil.

You can also rub a bit of oil in between your index finger and thumb. If it leaves a dirty smudge, head over to the nearest dealership to get the oil replaced as soon as possible.

We hope that this easy, simple do-it-yourself oil check helps you determine if your car needs to change oil.  

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