Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Signs Your Car Needs an Oil Change

motor oil being poured into a car engine

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.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Malaysia
CraigBurrows / Shutterstock.com Malaysia is a popular destination for many tourists today. The country has amazing sights and attractions that you will want to explore....
How to Get a Louisiana Driver's Permit
s licensing program. The first step in this program is to obtain...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...


Related questions

Q: Engine Code P0016

The P0016 code is most likely due to the engine sludge build up as the VVT (variable valve timing) system is control with oil pressure. In regards to the engine flush, I whole heartedly agree with Toyota. The number of...

Q: Replaced the engine - now change the oil already? 2005 Cadillac Escalade

Hi - an initial oil change, sometimes called a "break-in" oil change, is a good idea, and is recommended for between 500-1000 miles after a rebuild. Moving components in the engine literally "wear in", despite engine oil, smoothing microscopically, and...

Q: Hi Ben, there was no leakage before I went for an oil change. The service center replace a nut at the oil pan and its leaking oil

If you went to a service center, in all probability the work that they performed is covered under a warranty of some sort. Additionally, if you paid by credit card, for sure you are covered if you have encountered a...