74% of car owners consider themselves great at vehicle maintenance, but 91.8% admit they’ve put it off longer than they should.

The third most commonly ignored task was an oil change. 31% waited for a month or more.

Procrastination can make your oil change 50 times more expensive than it would be otherwise. Replacing worn parts costs almost as much as a full engine replacement and much more than the mere $500 that’s sent 28% of drivers into debt.

Read on for 3 definite signs you need to change your oil to keep your car running smoothly.

1. Strange Engine Noises

Changing your oil keeps every part of your engine lubricated so it can run properly. If it isn’t providing enough protection, you may notice strange knocking, grinding, or roaring sounds. Fresh oil will make them go away and keep your engine from degrading.

2. Odd Odors

Oil also regulates the temperature in your car. If it’s not doing its job, your engine can overheat, causing a burning smell. It’s even more likely if you live in a warm area.

Oil leaks create a similar odor. They can not only damage your car’s engine but are a major fire hazard. Oil changing is the best way to fix them and is important for the safety of you and your car.

3. Oil Level, Consistency, or Color Changes

One of the most important steps in figuring out how to change your oil is knowing what it should look like. Wait for the engine to cool down, pop the hood, pull the dipstick out, wipe it down, reinsert it, and pull it out again.

The level of oil is one of the first things you should check. If it’s low, it may be time for a change, but you can also look at the color and consistency.

Fresh oil is golden brown and transparent. If it’s no longer transparent or becomes dark brown or black, it’s time to get a change.

Oil should also be relatively clean and have a liquid consistency. A few particles of dirt and debris are okay, but it shouldn’t be thick and grainy.

Checking your oil on a regular basis is one of the best ways to catch any of these signs. Once you do, you also need to make sure you have the right parts for effective oil changing in your car. Check out the RedLine Auto Parts homepage here.

More Tips for When and How to Change Your Oil

Putting off car maintenance leads to more headaches down the road. One of the most important tasks is making sure to change your oil on a regular basis. There’s no one rule on how often to do it, but there are general signs that indicate it might be time.

Check for strange sounds or odors that indicate your engine may be too hot or not properly lubricated. Look at the oil itself to make sure it has the right level, color, and consistency.

Read the rest of our content for more tips for changing your oil and maintaining your car.