A vehicle’s engine oil plays an extremely important role. An engine is made up of complex moving parts, and without the help of oil, these parts can rub together and function improperly. Engine oil also helps absorb excess heat within the engine to prevent it from overheating. In order to keep a car functioning well over many years, keeping the oil well topped up and clean is essential. However, not every car owner knows what signs to watch for when it comes time to change a vehicle’s oil. Sometimes, it’s up to automotive professionals to know the warning signs and prevent a bigger problem.
If you’re considering enrolling in an auto technician program, read on to discover four signs a vehicle’s oil needs to be changed.
1. Grads of Auto Technician Courses Know to Look for Poor Oil Quality
When oil is fresh and clean it should be a light honey colour. As it’s used, it will slowly start to become a dark amber, then turn to a murky brown, and then finally become even darker. This indicates that the vehicle’s oil is becoming old and dirtied. In addition to a dark colour, dirty oil may have particles or contaminants floating around in it. Once a vehicle’s oil is extremely dark in colour and contains particles, it definitely needs to be changed.
Dirty oil is extremely ineffective because it can’t coat and lubricate the engine properly. Therefore, it’s extremely important to watch out for dirty oil because vehicles can easily become damaged if they are running on poor quality oil.
2. Grads of Auto Technician Courses Know to Check for Low Oil Levels
Over time, a vehicle will start to use up its oil, especially when the oil becomes dirty and ineffective. This is because the vehicle has to use up more oil in order to keep the engine running smoothly.
If you or a client suspects that the vehicle needs an oil change, it’s always best to check where the oil level is at. To do so, take out the oil dipstick and clean it with a cloth. Slowly reinsert the dipstick, then remove it and check to see how high the oil level comes up. As graduates of an auto mechanic apprenticeship likely know, dipsticks will usually have lines that indicate where the oil level should be. If the oil level is on the lower end, it’s time for a change.
3. Grads of Auto Technician Courses Know to Watch for the Check Engine Light
Another obvious indicator that oil needs to be changed is the check oil light on the vehicle’s dashboard. If it’s lighting up or flickering, it could mean the oil quality is poor or that the oil needs to be topped up.
Some vehicle owners may be put off by the check engine light because they are afraid it’s indicating a costly repair. While this is sometimes the case, oftentimes the check engine light is just indicating the vehicle’s oil needs to be changed. However, avoiding dealing with the light can cause problems if an oil change is long overdue. After completing your auto technician courses, it’s always best to advise your clients to bring in their car immediately if they can’t determine why their engine light is on.
4. Grads of Auto Technician Courses Know to Listen for a Loud Engine
A loud engine that’s making knocking noises is a serious indicator that a car’s oil needs to be changed. The knocking noise means that the rods in the engine are knocking together because they aren’t being properly lubricated by the oil. When rods knock together, they run a greater risk of breaking, and repairing broken rods is an expensive feat. Therefore, if your client or you notice a knocking noise coming from the engine, the oil level will need to be inspected and fixed immediately in order to avoid a hefty repair bill.
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