Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. Signs Your Car Needs an Oil Change

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. Unfortunately, if you hear a knocking noise, it's usually a sign of major engine damage as a result of serious neglect – a simple oil change probably won't fix the problem.

What to do when the oil pressure 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. Knowing how to react when your oil light is on is important, and the first move is to plan for an immediate oil change.

If you need an oil change, use YourMechanic to get a quote and book an appointment. Their certified mobile technicians come to your home or office to change your car's motor oil, using only the highest-quality Castrol synthetic or conventional lubricants.

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

P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch...
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: Oil Viscosity

Toyota's technical advice insofar as oil viscosity for the 2007 Avalon is as follows: "SAE 5W−30 is the best choice for good fuel economy and good starting in cold weather. If SAE 5W−30 is not available, SAE 10W−30 may be...

Q: How often does a 2015 Chevrolet Camaro V8 need an oil change?

GM recommends that you change the oil in your Camaro every 7,500 miles. The following is a link to additional recommended service intervals for your 2015 Camaro for your reference that our experts here at YourMechanic are also able to...

Q: The oil pressure gauge triggers the red oil lamp when idling

This may be related to low oil in the motor or potentially a faulty oil pressure sensor. I would recommend checking the oil via the dipstick first to be sure the proper amount of oil is in the motor to...