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4 Warning Signs of Low Engine Oil

car motor oil

Your car depends on engine oil to keep it functioning smoothly. The engine must be well-lubricated in order to run properly. An oil change is a critical part of basic car maintenance. Neglecting to change your oil can result in low oil levels and cause permanent damage to your engine. Here are four signs your car has low oil and requires an oil change:

Warning Light

The most basic sign of low engine oil is the oil pressure warning light on your vehicle’s dashboard. The warning light is connected to your car’s oil pressure sensor. The warning light is activated when the sensor detects low oil. If your oil warning light comes on, have an oil change right away.

Low Level Indicated On Dipstick

You can check your oil level yourself using the car’s dipstick. Before checking the oil level, ensure the car is parked on a flat surface and the engine is turned off. You need to add more oil right away if the dipstick indicates your oil level is below the minimum mark.

Knocking Sound

A knocking sound will develop if you continue to drive your vehicle with low oil. When your oil levels are low, your car’s engine will not be properly lubricated. The resulting increase in friction will cause the engine’s rods to become loose, and you will hear a knocking sound.

Burning Smell

Your car’s engine contains a number of metal components. Oil doesn’t only lubricate your vehicle’s engine–it also keeps the engine cool. The metal components of your engine will produce a lot of heat without enough oil. The heat will create a burning odor. If you notice a burning smell while you’re driving, top off your oil and take your car to a mechanic.

How Often Should You Change Your Oil?

The standard guideline for how often to change your oil is every three months or every 3,000 miles. While the 3,000-mile rule is a good practice for older vehicles, advances in car engines have made this advice unnecessary for some newer cars. Many automakers now recommend oil changes every 7,500 to 10,000 miles, or every six to twelve months.* Consult your owner’s manual to find out how often your specific vehicle needs its oil changed.

If you notice any warning signs of low oil, don’t wait to act. Continuing to drive your car with low engine oil can lead to engine failure. Take your car to a mechanic for an oil change as soon as possible. Also, be sure to note if it uses synthetic or conventional oil.

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