When you own a car, there are lots of different things that you’re going to need to do to maintain it. From checking the air pressure in your car’s tires every so often to topping off the various fluids in your car, it’s going to be important for you to make car maintenance a top priority. One of the most essential things that you’ll need to do when it comes to your car is change the oil in it. If you don’t, you’re going to notice the oil change light coming on more often than it should. Here is everything you need to know about the oil change light and some information on what you should do about it if you ever see it turn on.
What Does the Oil Change Light Look Like?
If you’re the type of person who also seems to put oil changes off until the very last minute, you’re probably well aware of what the oil change light looks like. But if you tend to stay on top of oil changes, you might not be all that familiar with it. So let’s kick things off by making sure that you know what to look for on your car’s dashboard as far as your oil change light is concerned.
It’s usually pretty easy to spot the oil change light in your car when it turns on because it’s often just a light that says “CHANGE ENGINE OIL” in big, bold letters. It makes it almost impossible to miss. That being said, it’s worth noting that the oil change light in your specific car might also say something like “MAINTENANCE REQUIRED” or something along those lines. You may want to sneak a peek at the owner’s manual for your car to see exactly what you should look out for with regards to your oil change light.
What Does the Oil Change Light Mean?
Now that you know what to look out for when it comes to your car’s oil change light, let’s jump into talking about what it means. Contrary to popular belief, the oil change light in your car does not mean that it’s on the verge of running out of oil. You don’t necessarily need to pull off the road immediately and get your car’s oil changed when the oil change light comes on.
You should, however, take note of the oil change light coming on in your car because it typically means that you’ve had your oil for an extended period of time and that you need to have it changed sooner rather than later. Your car’s computer will use all of the fuel and mileage data that it collects to decide what it’s time to turn on the oil change light in your car. As a result, it’s usually pretty accurate with regards to letting you know when it’s almost time for your next oil change.
How Often Should Your Car’s Oil Change Light Come On?
In a perfect world, you shouldn’t see your car’s oil change light come on hardly at all. You should be staying on top of the oil changes that your car needs so that the oil change light in your car doesn’t ever come on. But if you routinely push your car to the limit and don’t get your oil changed every three months or 3,000 miles like most experts suggest, you might see your oil change light come on almost every time that you need an oil change.
You might also have a car that can go for longer than 3,000 miles in between oil changes. If this is the case, your car’s computer is likely programmed to turn the oil change light when it reaches whatever mark your auto manufacturer has set for it. In some cases, that could be 6,000 miles or more depending on what kind of vehicle you drive. You should, again, consider consulting the owner’s manual for your car to find out when the oil change light is programmed to turn on.
How Can You Steer Clear of Your Car’s Oil Change Light Coming On?
If you don’t want to see the oil change light come on in your car, there is a very simple way to avoid it: Change your oil on a regular basis! While you don’t need to get into the habit of changing your oil every month or so, you should try to get it changed as often as your auto manufacturer recommends. When you take steps to change your oil on a regular schedule, you shouldn’t ever have to worry about the oil change light in your car coming on.
There are some people who have started to rely on their oil change light to tell them when they need to have an oil change performed. You should try not to do this if you can help it. While the oil change light can serve as a good reminder for those who might forget to get their oil changed, it shouldn’t be something that you count on to tell you to get your oil changed. You should have a system in place that allows you to remember to change your oil long before your oil change light comes on.
Is It Safe to Drive Your Car When the Oil Change Light Is On?
As we alluded to earlier, you don’t have to start to panic when you see the oil change light come on in your car. It’s not an indication that your car is on the brink of running out of oil or anything. Far too often, people see this light come on and think that it’s a sign that they need to get their car off the road before it’s completely out of oil, which is simply not the case.
Generally speaking, you should be OK to continue to drive your car when the oil change light is on, provided it hasn’t been on for weeks at a time. You can usually keep on driving your car with the oil change light on for a week or two before it’ll start to become a problem. The oil change light is a tool that is designed to help you remember to schedule an oil change, not a tool that should keep you up at night wondering whether or not your car’s engine is on the brink of conking out on you.
How Many Miles Can You Drive With Your Car’s Oil Change Light On?
Every auto manufacturer takes a slightly different approach to when they have the oil change light turn on in their cars. It’s why we can’t sit here and tell you exactly how many miles you can continue to drive your car for before getting an oil change once your oil change light comes on. But on average, most people are going to be able to keep on driving their vehicles for upwards of 500 miles once their oil change light comes on. They won’t have to worry about dealing with any major issues until they hit that point.
With that in mind, you shouldn’t get lulled into a false sense of security simply because you can technically continue to drive with the oil change light turned on in your car. While 500 miles might seem like an eternity, you might be surprised by how quickly you’ll put that number of miles on your car. And the last thing you want to do is ignore the oil change light for 500 miles and then realize that you have a much bigger problem on your hands. You should start planning to get the oil changed in your car when you see the oil change light turn on so that you don’t find yourself stuck in this position.
What Might Happen If You Ignore the Oil Change Light in Your Car?
People live very busy lives these days. Because of this, it’s not all that uncommon for them to put off oil changes, even when the oil change light in their car is staring them right in the face every morning. You yourself might be guilty of putting off having oil changes done by ignoring the oil change light in your car. You should try not to ever do this since you could do some real damage to your car by not changing the oil in it.
The oil that you put into your car is basically the lifeblood of your vehicle’s engine. Without clean oil, your engine isn’t going to run as efficiently as it could and should. Your engine also isn’t going to be able to keep all the moving parts inside of it lubricated. This could lead to everything from minor engine problems to complete engine failure. And once your engine goes, you can pretty much kiss your entire car goodbye since repairing or replacing an engine is going to be extremely expensive.
On top of all that, you might also inadvertently void the warranty on your car if you have one by not changing the oil in it. Whether you have a warranty through your auto manufacturer or through a third-party company, they’re usually not going to honor your warranty if they discover that you’ve put off having regular oil changes done despite the oil change light coming on in your car. It’s yet another reason why you should make it a point to change your car’s oil early and often.
Who Should You Trust to Change the Oil in Your Car?
As we’ve tried to stress to you time and time again here, changing the oil in your car is a vital part of maintaining it. But you shouldn’t trust just anyone to handle an oil change for you when your oil change light comes on. You don’t have to hire the best mechanic in the world to perform an oil change since it’s not that complicated of a job. But you should have a reputable oil change place on hand to perform oil changes for you when you need to have them done.
You might also want to consider learning how to change the oil in your car yourself. Although this isn’t going to be a job for everyone, it’s something that you can think about doing on your own if you have some experience working on cars. It’s easy enough to drain the old oil out of a car and replace it with new oil. It’s also easy enough to figure out how to replace an oil filter in your car.
Whatever you do, you should make sure that someone is changing the oil in your car and then resetting your oil change light so that you’re not always driving around with the oil change light on. You’re going to be asking for trouble if you don’t always have changing your car’s oil at the top of your to-do list.
How Much Will an Oil Change Cost You?
The good news for those who have noticed the oil change light come on in their car is that it’s not going to cost a whole lot to get it to turn off. Oil changes cost little to nothing in the grand scheme of things when you consider how important that they are. You’re usually only going to have to pay somewhere between $20 and $55 for them.
At that price, it almost makes more sense to have someone else change your oil for you as opposed to doing it on your own. It’s one of the most affordable car services around and shouldn’t break the bank, even if you have to do a handful of oil changes every year to keep your oil change light off.
Is It Time for You to Get an Oil Change?
If you can’t remember the last time that you changed the oil in your car, you should drive your car down to a local oil change place and have the oil in it changed right away. If you don’t, it’s only going to be a matter of time before your oil change light comes on. And while that light coming on isn’t the end of the world, it’s better for you to stay on top of oil changes rather than letting the oil change light in your car let you know that you need them. It’ll ensure you’re always taking good care of your car.