One of the easiest ways to check to see if your oil needs changed is to simply look at it. Fresh oil looks similar to honey and will darken after a few weeks of flowing through an engine. Dark oil doesn’t necessarily mean you need an oil change though.
Once you start seeing particles in the old oil, it’s time for an oil change. Particles are a sign that the filter is overloaded and is no longer catching all the foreign matter it should. In order to preserve your engine, get an oil change.
A main job of oil is to lubricate all of the moving parts within the engine block so they don’t damage one another. As oil ages, it grows less and less efficient and the parts will slowly start to run against one another. That isn’t necessarily a problem – until things get loud, that is.
Loud, unfamiliar noises are a sign that the parts in your engine are rubbing against one another. That can lead to potential damage and a repair will make a premium oil change look cheap. In the best interest of your wallet and engine, get an oil change as soon as possible.
Over time, your engine will start to eat the oil which will cause the oil level to drop. Use the dipstick to check your oil level once a week or so. By the time the oil level drops, odds are the oil is old enough to require a change anyway.