Updated May 18th, 2017

Winchester, Virginia - One of the most important things you can do to keep your vehicle's engine healthy is to get the oil changed on a periodic basis. While most of us are aware of this basic staple of vehicle preventative maintenance, it can be easy to forget, especially when so many other aspects of a busy schedule can clutter our minds on a daily basis. So how can you know when your engine oil needs a change? Below are 5 common signs that will let you know when it's about that time.


1. Your engine starts getting a little noisy.


Keep in mind that the main role of engine oil is to lubricate the hundreds of moving parts within your engine, so that they won't be subject to unnecessary friction. If you start hearing any kind of knocking, grinding or other unpleasant sounds, that's a surefire sign that you need to take your vehicle to an oil change Falls Church location and get that engine oil changed.


2. Your "Check Oil" or "Check Engine" light has turned on. 


Many newer models have a separate light just for the oil indicator, but others simply use the "Check Engine" light only. These lights come on as a warning sign to let you know that it's definitely time to get your oil changed. Heed their warning, so that you won't face the horrifying experience of having your engine lock up on you.


3. Your oil dipstick is showing a very low level of oil.


While it may be okay to just add a quart or two when your oil is running low, it is often a much better move to just go ahead and change the oil out completely. After all, if you've been driving around for so long that your engine oil is nearly depleted, it's probably outlived its useful life anyway.


4. You really can't remember the last time you've had your oil changed.


This is an obvious sign that it's time for you to change the oil in your vehicle. As soon as you get it changed, make a note of the date so that you can begin to operate on an oil change schedule that is consistent with your owner's manual.


5. Your engine oil is excessively dark or gritty.


When brand new, engine oil has more of a honey brown color, but once it's been circulating in your car's engine for a while, it begins to pick up all kinds of dirt, sludge and other unsavory particles. While dark engine oil is actually a sign that the oil is doing its job, there is a such thing as having engine oil that is too dirty to be of any help anymore. Check your oil dipstick; if your oil is excessively dark or gritty (or carries a notably "burnt" smell), it's probably time to get your oil changed.


Keeping these simple tips in mind will save you a lot of headaches and expense in the long run. If you know that your engine oil needs to be changed, take your vehicle to a quality oil change professional and give your engine some new life.


*Always check your owner’s manual for your vehicle model’s specific instructions before attempting any type of repair. Copyright 2017 Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto www.hoganandsonsinc.com