Is It Time for an Oil Change? 8 Signs to Watch For

Prevent engine failure and unexpected expenses by knowing the signs your car needs an oil change

Engine oil has long been a critical component of modern-day vehicles, helping lubricate several moving parts of the engine to ensure optimal performance. This lessens the friction between the different engine components, mitigating costly damage to the car. Clean oil can also prevent sludge buildup in oil passages, which leads to remarkable fuel and engine efficiency.

Similar to other vehicle components, your engine oil would eventually need to be replaced, and there will be common signs your car needs an oil change you can look out for.

The average interval of getting oil change services is around 5000 to 7500 miles, and this could even go higher for cars that require full-synthetic motor oil. But when it’s time to change the oil, your vehicle will slowly show some symptoms that it’s time to go to your nearest service center.

Recognizing the common indicators that it’s time for an oil change can go a long way when it comes to the overall health of the car. This can prevent you from neglecting timely oil changes, leading to engine wear and tear, poor fuel efficiency, and other costly repairs and replacements.

oil change in Amarillo, TX

8 Common Signs Your Car Needs an Oil Change

1. Dashboard Warning Lights

One of the most straightforward indicators that you can check is when the oil change light in the dashboard starts to blink. Numerous modern vehicles have a dedicated oil replacement service light, which will light up when the next oil change is due.

There are also instances when the check engine light will light up, indicating much bigger problems possibly caused by overdue oil replacement.

When the oil change or check engine light starts blinking, it is vital to have the car checked immediately to avoid component damage and possible accidents on the road because of lack of lubrication.

2. Dark or Dirty Oil

Clean car oil usually comes in various shades of amber. But as it passes through the engine, the oil will start to collect debris and dust from the engine, and the car’s filter will eventually fail to contain the contaminants, making the oil get dark.

While this does not necessarily mean that it’s already time to replace the oil, this can cause the lubricant to get grimy and sludgy over time. Dirty oil typically fails to lubricate an engine’s moving parts, leading to costly repairs when left unchecked.

It is vital to regularly check the appearance of the oil to decide whether the vehicle already needs an oil change. You can do this by removing the dipstick from the engine, wiping it before inserting it again, and observing whether the oil is dark and if there is noticeable debris when you pull it out the second time.

3. Decreased Fuel Efficiency

Another sign that the oil might not be doing its job is if there is a significant drop in the car’s fuel efficiency. Dirty oil has a higher viscosity than clean oil, and it can result in increased resistance on various moving parts.

The contaminants present in the oil can affect combustion, which would lead to the engine working harder and consuming more fuel than usual. It is ideal to promptly check the vehicle’s oil once you notice a decreased gas mileage to mitigate potential engine wear.

4. Unusual Engine Noise

There is no doubt that hearing unusual noises coming from the engine is one of the scariest things you can encounter as a car owner. However, the noises might only be caused by a simple overdue oil change.

If the oil can’t properly lubricate the engine, various metal parts will brush with each other, which makes the knocking sounds that you might hear. When left unchecked, these noises will slowly increase, which implies that the lack of lubrication is gradually tearing the engine apart.

5. Overheating

Apart from lubrication, oil also helps regulate the temperature inside the engine. The oil might not be able to properly do its job if it is already old or dirty, resulting in overheating.

The continuous friction between the moving parts will produce heat, which can damage the engine over time. Additionally, this causes the engine to seize up, which is usually costly, especially when complete engine replacement is required.

6. Oil Smell Inside the Vehicle

A critical warning sign that your car needs an oil replacement is if you start smelling burning oil in the cabin. Once the engine overheats, it will produce a burning scent that passengers in the cabin can smell while traveling.

There are also instances when the oil smell is due to oil leaks within the engine, causing low oil pressure and unnecessary wear and tear to different components. Whether it is because of overheating or a leak, it is advisable to have it checked by professionals urgently.

7. Traveling Often

As stated, the average interval for oil replacements nowadays is between 5000 and 7500 miles. And for those who travel frequently or go on long-distance drives regularly, it is wise to schedule an oil change sooner than expected.

A general rule is that oil replacements are more frequent for those who travel more. It is also recommended to schedule an oil change before going on long road trips to avoid running into issues while on the road.

8. Low Oil Level

Checking the oil level regularly is a vital part of maintaining a vehicle. One of the easiest ways to examine whether it’s time for oil replacements is to manually check if the oil level is already low through the dipstick.

Using a vehicle with little to no oil risks extensive damage and breakdown in the engine, which might lead to accidents while driving. It’s better to schedule an oil replacement as soon as possible if the oil level is already poor.


Knowing the different signs your car is out of oil can be a game changer, enabling you to act before disaster strikes. This can help you ensure a timely oil change for the automobile, which is crucial in extending the car’s lifespan.

Regular oil replacements can also guarantee that the vehicle operates at peak performance without suddenly seizing up while traveling.

If you are looking for the best auto shop to get an oil change in Amarillo, TX, then Brothers Auto and Glass is for you. We have served residents of Amarillo for more than 15 years, delivering quality car repair and preventative maintenance services.

Call 806-601-0456 or visit  to get an estimate on your car’s needs today.