As your blood is to your body, so is oil to your vehicle. Fortunately for you, your body has a way of automatically purifying your blood and forming new blood cells. But for your vehicle, someone needs to perform that task.
How do you know when it’s time to change your oil? We have compiled 7 signs for you that indicate your vehicle needs a change of diesel engine oil.
Let’s reveal those signs to you!
Case in point:
1. Dark and dirty oil
New diesel engine oil is amber and slightly translucent. Over time, and through use, it picks up dirt and debris from the engine as it’s being pumped through the engine. As it does this, the color gradually changes. And the diesel oil engine completely darkens to show that it is already supersaturated with dirt.
At this point, your diesel engine oil needs to change. You can always check out the color through the dipstick. As you pull the dipstick and wipe the oil on a cloth, you will notice how dirty the oil is and if it needs a change. Do this at least every month to stay vigilant.
2. You can smell oil inside the car
Do you smell oil in your car? It means just one thing. The oil is leaking and dripping on a hot engine part. As it burns away, you will perceive it in your car. That’s a bad sign that needs immediate attention. There are plenty of parts your diesel engine oil can be leaking from. Let’s list a few here.
- Oil plug
- Oil filter
- Valve cover gasket
- Oil sending unit
- Oil pan gasket
- Head gasket
Minor oil leaks can be overlooked without consequences, especially if your mechanic got an eye on it and checks it at every oil maintenance service. For those kinds, you might not even sense it. But anytime you do, please see your mechanic. It might be severe and can even lead to a vehicle fire in the worst-case scenario.
3. Exceeding the mileage
After a change of diesel engine oil, many mechanics and change shops place a mileage sticker on the inside of the windshield on the driver’s side of the car. In the sticker, the mechanic will include the date you should return and the number of distances you should cover before returning.
Some also include the weight of the oil used. Chances are that you’ve traveled a lot of miles in the last few months. You should consider going for another change of oil before the date specified on the mileage sticker.
4. Low oil level
As a diesel vehicle owner, one of the things you must know is the location of your dipstick. You should normalize checking your oil level regularly. At least once per month is safe enough to make sure your oil level doesn’t surprise you when you check. It also ensures that you haven’t been operating with black oil for a long period.
Once you have a look at your dipstick and it obviously has shortened, it doesn’t always mean there’s a leakage, or it burnt off. It’s a normal thing. If the oil is below the safe level and you are still within your mileage, just top it off. You are good. But if you’ve overshot beyond your milestone, change the entire oil. The professionals should do it as they will check for possible leakage before filling it up.
5. Engine noise
The primary importance of diesel engine oil is lubrication. The oil forms a small protective layer between engine moving parts. This prevents metal-to-metal physical contacts that cause the wear of engine parts. When there is high physical contact between the metallic parts of your engine, the engine noise will increase.
In the worst cases, you start to hear rattling or knocking sounds. You will literally listen to the painful noise of your engine as it tears out. Bad oil, or not enough oil causes this. When the oil gets bad, it loses its viscous property and, hence, its ability to lubricate.
When you begin to hear the knocking sound of your engine, you should react immediately. Quickly take the car to your mechanic to change the oil.
6. Oil check light
On the dashboard of every car, you have different signs. Amongst them is the oil check light. It’s a red light shaped like an oil can and a drip coming from the spout. If this light comes on, your car is trying to communicate to you that your car’s diesel engine oil needs a top off
The oil check light is the most common sign, but the last sign your car will give. It shows up when the oil pressure in the engine drops below the safe level. Low oil level causes this low-pressure level in the engine. Or a faulty pump/sending unit can also cause it.
On seeing the light, quickly park your vehicle, and top it off with fresh oil. When you start the engine again, look out for the light. If it goes off, you are good to go. If not, make sure not to keep the engine on. Call your mechanic immediately.
7. Oil change reminder light
Now, this is different from the oil check light. In newer cars, they are usually two oil lights. We just discussed one above. Let’s talk about the second. The oil change reminder light has absolutely nothing to do with the oil level. Mechanics usually set it to come up after you have driven through a certain mileage.
Once it comes on, it means either you have gone beyond the recommended mileage or the mechanic didn’t reset it when you last visited. In response, once you see this light, take up your mileage sticker and compare the mileage on the sticker and the one on the odometer.
If you still have more mileage, you are good. The mechanic probably forgot to reset it. If not, you should take it to your mechanic for a change.
Tom Robbins said, there’s birth, there’s death, and in between, there’s maintenance. You can prolong the duration between birth and death with proper maintenance habits. Keep an eye on your vehicle for all of these signs.
Once you notice any of the signs, change your oil. You can always top off your oil level by yourself. But changing your oil, you shouldn’t rush the task. Let a professional be aware of it and do the change. With that, you’ll be sure not to use the wrong diesel engine oil. Keep your vehicle safe.