If the engine is the heart of a vehicle, then oil is its blood. When it doesn’t have enough, things are going to go wrong, very quickly.

While most people know to check their oil on a regular basis, they may not look for much more than whether or not it’s low. That’s not all you need to worry about, though.

Dirty oil is full of bits of metal and grit. This can destroy the engine over time. While your oil filter is designed to catch much of this, it isn’t meant to last forever. The filter should be changed when you change your oil.

What happens if your oil does get too low? Since it’s the lubricant for your engine, a lack of oil can cause moving parts to grind against each other and, if left unchecked, the engine will seize up and stall your vehicle. This can ruin your engine completely.

Taking care of the lifeblood of your vehicle is a very important part of regular maintenance. Part of that maintenance is knowing when your vehicle needs an oil change.

Signs it’s time for an oil change

You should be checking your oil regularly, to be sure it doesn’t get too low. Don’t rely on the check oil light – you need to make sure you are on top of things before it’s even an issue. However, oil needs to also be changed, even if it doesn’t burn off.

Here are some signs that you need to take your vehicle in for an oil change.

The oil is dark and dirty: Your oil should normally be amber in colour, but over time it will get darker from the heat. It also picks up debris and particles as it moves through the engine, which can turn the colour darker. Check the oil in at least once a month to see if it’s darkening. If it’s thicker and black enough to obscure the stick, it’s time to change it.

Smoke will come out of your exhaust: It’s normal to have vapour or exhaust exiting the tailpipe, but when your oil is leaking, you’ll see actual smoke being emitted. This is a pretty serious sign that your vehicle needs a tune up and should be taken to a mechanic immediately. If you check the oil, it will likely be down a bit because of the leak. If it’s not, then you may have other issues going on.

The engine makes more noise: Brand new oil will provide adequate lubrication for the engine and keep it running quietly. Once it begins to break down, the lubrication doesn’t work quite as well and the engine will gradually get louder. You may not notice this at first, since it will be subtle, but it will change. If left too long, the engine will start knocking and roaring.

You’ve driven 5,000 km: You should change your oil after every 5,000 kilometres or every three months, whichever comes first. Your oil will be ready to change at that point and staying on top of it will allow you to keep your vehicle in great working condition for longer.

Your oil light comes on: Of course, there’s always the backup of your check engine or oil light coming on, though you shouldn’t rely entirely on this for determining when to check your oil. As soon as you see the light, take a quick look at your oil to change it. Keep in mind that the oil light is what will come on if you need to change your oil, but if your car is in danger of permanent damage, the check engine light will come on, so it’s much more serious at that point.

You can smell oil: You shouldn’t be able to smell motor oil in your vehicle, so if you suddenly smell the strong scent of oil, you need to get your vehicle checked and change the oil. If you smell oil with exhaust fumes or fuel, then your vehicle is likely overheating. You should pull over immediately and get someone to check the engine.

You should always trust your instincts when you hear something or notice something different about your vehicle.

Where to get your oil changed

You can either change your oil yourself or have someone else do it for you. While not difficult in most vehicles, an oil change does take time. You need to drain all the dirty and old oil out of the system, then replace it with clean oil.

There is also the issue of disposing of the old oil. You can’t just dump it in the trash or pour it out, as it is considered a threat to the environment. Find out where you can safely dispose of your used oil before you change it yourself.

Of course, changing your own oil is messy and time consuming and requires jacking up your car or crawling under it to open the oil drain and that can be a hassle. Most people prefer to get a professional to change their oil, instead.

Having a mechanic handle this task for you isn’t very expensive, but it saves you a lot of time and mess. Plus, the garage will dispose of the oil correctly, so you don’t need to worry about it. The mechanic should also replace the oil filter for you. This is, again, a relatively simple task, but messy.

Any mechanic should be able to change your oil fairly rapidly, but if you want someone who will do the job efficiently and notice any other issues while under the bonnet, choose carefully. There are centres that offer fast oil changes and these can be useful for quick and easy changes when you don’t have much time. However, you’ll want to find a decent mechanic for any other type of work.

Look for a mechanic familiar with your vehicle’s make and model. They will be able to check it over when you come in for an oil change and should catch any minor problems that could become bigger later on. It’s always better to fix minor issues before they turn into giant, expensive problems.

Since you’ll be taking the vehicle in at any rate in order to get the oil changed and the oil filter replaced, it makes sense to do a quick check of the rest of the vehicle.

For commercial businesses with a fleet of vehicles, this is also a good time to do a tune up and make sure everything is in running order. If you take good care of your vehicles, they will last far longer and will provide you with more transport time. It’s definitely a worthwhile investment.

Getting your oil changed regularly is your best option for a healthy vehicle that will continue to run smoothly for years to come. It may not be the only part of the car that is in need of improvement, but it’s something that you can change fairly simply and it will protect the vehicle against a seizing engine and other common problems that crop up if there is debris in the motor oil.

Fuel companies and oil delivery

As important as oil is, you need to make sure you always have it available for when you need to change the oil in your vehicle. For larger companies where lorries and heavy equipment are used, this oil may be purchased in bulk.

A good fuel supplier is also important, since your vehicle will run cleaner with the right fuel. In order to maintain your vehicles properly, including industrial machines and personal cars, you need to ensure that the oil is clean and new and that the fuel is the right type. It’s an essential part of keeping cars working properly and having fuel delivery can be useful if you have a fleet of vehicles to keep fuelled.

With the right care and maintenance, vehicles can last far longer than we expect. All too often, it’s neglect that causes the breakdowns and ongoing issues with cars. When you leave a problem too long, it can affect the entire car.

For example, if you don’t top up the oil when needed or change it, you could end up with a worn-down engine that needs replacing sooner, rather than later. It’s best to stay on top of these things and enjoy using the vehicle for far longer.

Are you in need of fuel delivery or oil delivery? Then you’ll want to contact Western Fuel today to find out what we have to offer. Call us on 01278 431451 or email us at info@westernfuel.co.uk to speak to a local, industry expert.