People avoid routine car service to save money, but ironically vehicle neglect costs the economy more than $2 billion every year. Yes, auto repair can be a headache, but by being proactive and taking your car in for its scheduled maintenance checks with auto repair experts, you can avoid larger expenses a few miles down the road. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: tire alignment should be checked every 6,000 miles, while brakes usually last about 25,000 miles before they need service.
Which brings us to the oil change. You might not want to spend a lunch break or weekend getting this taken care of, but that oil change is one of the most critical auto repair services. The oil that lubricates your engine literally keeps it running and on the road, but it needs to be replaced regularly. Once you do, your auto repair service should put a sticker inside your windshield telling you when to come back.
Until then, check out these three warning signs to find out if you need to high tail it over to the auto repair service center:
Persistent Check Engine Light
A lot of newer cars have oil gauges, but for some older models, a low oil level might trigger the check engine light to come on. Other cars have a separate warning light signalling low oil levels. Of course, a check engine light can also be triggered by something as minor as some spilled gas right outside the gas tank cap, but there’s no harm in simply checking the dipstick or heading to the auto service center.
Your Engine is Running Particularly Loudly
As a rule of thumb, it is a great idea to turn off the radio every once in a while and listen to your car hum. After all, how in tune you are with the noises and vibrations that come from your engines and wheels can tip you off about a lot of things before they reach a crisis point. If your engine is rumbling louder than usual, it could have something to do with the low oil levels.
All you have to do is stop and listen for unusual grinding sounds, which comes from a poorly lubricated engine.
Oil Is Black and Gritty
This one might take some practice, but where’s the harm in becoming really tuned into the inner workings of your car? Engine oil is originally a honey brown, but it quickly darkens after a few weeks of use. Once it gets to the point that you can see particles mixed in with black oil, it means that it is high time to change the oil. The filter will become overloaded at this point and miss contaminates that could do real harm to your engine.
When it comes down to it, it simply isn’t worth chancing it when it comes to the oil levels in your car. Every time you get auto repair service, have the mechanics check your oil level, and get into the habit of doing it periodically yourself.