Every driver's worst nightmare is driving down a deserted road and seeing the oil light come on. This light can mean two things: low oil or low oil pressure. Unfortunately, these conditions can quickly destroy the car's engine. Regular oil changes prevent this light from ever illuminating.

Getting an oil change Kaukauna is one of the best ways to extend a car's life. Waiting too long or skipping this preventative service can have dire effects on the engine. Here are the top signs that it's time to change your oil:

The Engine Starts Knocking

Engines make noise. However, knocking and clicking sounds aren't normal. These unwanted noises often occur when metal components rub against each other. These sounds will only get louder if the oil is old, thick, or contaminated. Changing the oil will soften metal-to-metal contacts and eliminate these sounds.

Dirty Oil on the Dipstick

Clean oil is a bright amber or caramel colour. The hue slowly darkens as the oil ages and collects debris. Too much debris can wreak havoc on the engine. If the dipstick comes out dark brown or black, it's time to replace the oil.

The Oil Is a Different Consistency

Fresh oil has a lightweight consistency that pours easily. As it gets older, the oil might become thick or clumpy. This texture change means the fluid is dirty. If the oil looks different than usual, schedule an oil change to avoid problems down the road. Pro tip: Foul-smelling oil also indicates the liquid is past its prime.

Trouble Changing Gears

Ideally, vehicles smoothly switch from one gear to the next. However, gear changing becomes challenging if there isn't enough oil in the engine. The car might buck when switching gears or get stuck altogether. Adding new oil will provide more lubrication and should resolve the problem.

Smoke Coming Out of the Exhaust Pipe

Vehicles shouldn't smoke. But it's not uncommon to see smoke exiting the exhaust pipe if the engine burns off old, dirty oil. An oil change will likely fix the issue. Smoke sometimes indicates a leak in the valve guide. Replacement seals or piston rings will prevent burning oil from entering the combustion chamber.

The Car Won't Start

All vehicles need an adequate amount of oil to start. Oil's primary job is to lubricate all the small parts inside the engine. This vital fluid also cools the engine between drives. If there isn't enough oil, the engine won't turn over.

The Check Engine Light Comes On

Every car has both an oil light and a check engine light. While the oil light ensures a problem with oil levels, diagnosing the check engine light is often trickier. This warning can illuminate for various reasons, including malfunctioning sensors, clogged filters, or even dirty oil. The next time the check engine light comes on unexpectedly, see if an oil change resolves the issue.

It's Been Three Months

Most car manufacturers recommend replacing the oil every three months. The oil quality starts deteriorating if drivers wait too long between flushes. Those who drive more than average should schedule service even sooner. Changing the oil every 3,000 miles will keep the engine happy.

Save Money by Scheduling an Oil Change

Clean, fresh oil is one of the easiest ways to keep a vehicle running smoothly. Drivers who stay on top of this preventative service spend less on repairs in the long run. The next time you notice any warning signs, head to a local auto shop for an oil change.