Is your vehicle feeling sluggish? Does your engine sound noisy? Is your oil pressure low and or your oil light on? Chances are, you need an oil change but even if you’re not experiencing some of the more obvious symptoms of dirty oil, your car could still be in need.

Here are the top signs your car needs an oil change:

The car makes a ticking noise when started

As your engine operates, it continuously pumps oil throughout the crankcase and cylinder heads and, after a while, that once golden fresh oil becomes dirty and contaminated from heat and wear and tear. Dirty oil tends to be sludgier and thus more difficult to move. This means there’s a good chance you may experience some valve train noise in the form of ticking at start up. This is because the dirty oil takes longer to circulate through the engine to lubricate the moving valve train.

The car idle is rough

Another side effect of dirty oil can be a rough idle that feels like the engine is shaking the vehicle more than normal. The reason for this is there’s an increase in friction between the pistons, rings, and bearings.

The car has sluggish acceleration

A well-lubricated engine is a smooth operator, so when the oil inside becomes old and dirty, it can’t lubricate the moving parts as well and as a result, it will not be able to perform as smoothly as normal. This means acceleration can be sluggish and the engine will feel down on power.

The car engine makes a knocking noise

If an engine’s knocking, it may be a result of bad oil, which if ignored for too long, can result in worn out rod bearings. A knocking noise will sound like a rock tumbler in the deep depths of the engine and it will typically shake the vehicle at idle, and get louder as engine speeds increase.

What to do when the oil service light comes on

If your oil light comes on, you won’t want to ignore this as it typically means your oil pressure has dropped far too low for the engine to operate safely. Here’s how to react when your oil light is on, but the first move is to plan for an immediate oil change.

If you'd like a mechanic to change your car oil for you, find a technician in your area and have them come to you to keep your engine lubricated and happy.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Signs Your Car Needs an Oil Change and was authored by Logan Utsman.


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