Driving on old oil is a terrible plan. Old oil doesn’t lubricate engine parts well. The reduced viscosity could lead to engine damage. Sludge buildups also create problems. So, always change your vehicle’s oil when the time is right. The “right time” isn’t only when 5,000 miles pass since the last oil change. Be aware of five other instances when your motor oil requires changing.
Six Months Passes
While there is a mileage cutoff on how long motor oil should run through an engine, a time limit also exists. Many drivers aren’t aware that oil breaks down at the six-month point. Driving on old oil isn’t wise since the viscosity increases as does sludge.
The Oil Level is Low
Every car’s engine comes with a recommendation for a specific number of quarts. If the oil level is too low, adding more becomes necessary. So does figuring out why the oil level is low. A leak may exist somewhere. Fixing the leak must become a top priority. You can’t keep driving a car with leaking oil. What happens if it all leaks out? Your vehicle could end up totaled.
Avoid relying solely on the oil engine light indicator. Manually check the dipstick to make sure the levels are appropriate.
Smoke Comes Out the Tailpipe
Smoke shouldn’t be coming out of the tailpipe. Many times, the engine could be low on oil or the oil is burning. Burning oil also has a distinctive smell. Be on the alert for any odd smells since they don’t usually reflect all is going well under the hood.
Other problems may exist with the engine when smoke comes out of the pipe. Consider any signs of smoke an ominous flag that something is wrong. Taking the vehicle to a mechanic to check things out makes sense in situations like this one.
The Oil Looks Dirty
Engine oil starts out light green and slowly changes color over time. Eventually, the oil starts to look dark due to accumulated dirt. Black-colored oil has probably long passed its expiration date. Driving on old and dirty oil puts your engine at risk. An oil change doesn’t take much time, so there’s no reason to use oil that deserves a change.
Strange Noises Come from the Engine
An engine should run smooth. When knocks, pings, and other odd sounds occur, a serious problem may be emerging. Sometimes, the fix is minor. The car might require an oil change. Or, the problem could be a lot worse. Either way, don’t make assumptions. Ask a trusted mechanic to check things out. Fixing a problem at the earliest stage frequently turns out to be cheaper and less stressful.
Never overlook any routine maintenance with your car. Stay on top of the car’s oil situation. People saw their cars totaled due to running on low or old oil.