How to tell if a car needs an oil change?

Considering that a lack of serviceable oil can lead to a seized engine and write-off your car engine, it is essential to check your oil regularly. Don’t wait for a problem or a warning light to tell you that something is already wrong.

 
In addition, a failure to ensure the correct oil level can void your car’s warranty so you could be in for an unpleasant shock when you try to have any issues fixed under warranty.
 

How often is recommended?

It is best to check the oil weekly or before any long journey. Occasionally you may need to top it up a little. If you find you are always topping it up then something is clearly wrong with the car and you should have it looked at. Never try to over-fill it, that will cause more problems than it solves.
 
Actually, changing the oil completely should be a less frequent routine. Nevertheless, in our experience, most motorists don’t do it as often as they should. Most car manuals recommend an oil change at intervals from 3000 to 8000 miles, or every six to twelve months. Modern cars can generally go further than older ones.
 
Purpose-designed long-haul vehicles might only need a full change of oil after 15,000 miles but that will probably still equate to a couple of changes per year, given the high mileage covered by these vehicles.
 
However, the frequency at which your oil needs changing also depends upon your driving habits. The manufacturer-recommended figure assumes that you travel on open roads over typical commuter distances. Someone who just uses their car for short urban hops will require more frequent changes.
 
There are two reasons for that; the first is that engine starts use more oil than cruising, the second is that short runs don’t burn off the condensation that helps to degrade the oil.
 

Combine your oil and tyre checks

Most tyres should last at least 15-20,000 miles. Some last for longer, however, they should be checked far more often. Both your tyres and oil can be checked for free at any Protyre garage, so why not call in at least every six months for a free, expert, inspection. There are always a wide range of leading motor oils and premium tyres, such as; Pirelli and Bridgestone on hand.
 
Some tyre manufacturers have relationships with leading oil suppliers. For example, Bridgestone works with Shell Lubricants and has an understanding that all approved Bridgestone suppliers such as Protyre also supply top quality motor oils.
 

Did you know?

Protyre offer free tyre checks at all of our garages. Click the button below to book your vehicle in and let our technicians advise on the best tyres for you. 

Free tyre check

 

What to look for

If you do your own oil checks, fresh oil is a honey brown colour. After a little use, it can become much darker, almost black, however, it may still be perfectly OK. Far more serious is the presence of particulates. Any particles will soon clog your filters and lead to overheating. Oil should never be milky, thick or gelatinous in appearance.
 

Need new tyres? Buy online at Protyre and save £££s!

Protyre stock a wide range of Premium, Mid-range and Budget tyres to suit any requirement with same day fitting available on many options. Click the button below to browse our selection.

Buy tyres

If you don’t watch your oil and service history, your first warning may take the form of engine noise, exhaust smoke, burning smells, or dashboard lights. It’s far safer to monitor your own oil or bring your car to the experts at Protyre.

About the author

Dean Richardson

Dean is a Regional Director for Protyre who is also responsible for the running of our Protech Academy. The ...

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