Oil & Lube Warning Signs

Car Care
Tips

Motor Oil is Your Car, Truck, or SUV's Lifeblood

To keep your vehicle functioning properly and healthy, it is important that your engine has at least the minimum amount of oil pressure. Your car's motor oil keeps nearly all of your engines components moving thousands of times per minute. Proper lubrication is essential to prevent your car from breaking down. Routine oil checks and oil changes can keep you and your car from running into costly and potentially disastrous repairs.

But just in case you haven't been so up-to-date with your oil changes here are some symptoms to look for that may indicate that it is time to get your oil checked and changed.

Oil Pressure Warning Light

Today's technology takes a lot of the guessing out of changing your oil. If your oil light is turned on, open your car's hood and use the dipstick to check your oil levels. Keep in mind the darker the oil, the older it is.

If your oil level is below the ADD line then it's too low. If you recently added oil, then your engine could be leaking or burning motor oil. Remember that not all oil leaks pour down from the engine. Depending on the filtering route, the oil might be located away from the engine. Leaks can also show up in the valve cover, time gaskets or oil pan. Look for grease stains under your car to locate the leak.

Issues With Transmission

If your transmission is making a grinding noise or you are experiencing difficulty shifting gears, there is a chance it's clogged with sludge or grease. This problem can force your car to move sluggishly when hitting the highway. If you suspect your vehicle's transmission is having issues, check the transmission fluid levels while the engine is running to get a thorough look at its fluid color.

Transmission fluid should be bright red. If it's brown or black then it's filled with grime and sludge, and needs to be flushed. Flushing your transmission as required in your car's owner's manual will prevent your gears from slipping, stalling after it has been in gear, and jerking when in motion.

Dirty Spark Plugs

If, upon examination, you notice oil in your spark plug wells and/or on different parts of your engine then there is likely a faulty or broken seal. A broken valve cover could also be the culprit. Valve cover gaskets need to be replaced if they are rotten, shrunken or broken. In some cases, the presence of oil is only due to a loose cap.

Valve cover gaskets are an easy and inexpensive fix. If you're the type to do it yourself, your owners manual will have instructions on how to replace them. If you realize it is your valve cover gasket then it should be fixed as soon as possible to prevent your engine from losing too much oil too quickly, which can kill your engine. Plus, a leak in this area can cause harmful fumes and possibly a fire if it reaches the exhaust manifold.

Fluids Have a Strong or Burnt Odor

If you smell something burning while riding around in your car then it could be oil leaking on your exhaust manifold. Because it's dripping onto a hot exhaust, the smell of hot oil flows through your car. This could be caused by a leaky crankshaft or valve cover. Smoke from your exhaust is a sure sign that a component may not be properly sealed.

If you're unsure how to resolve your oil problems, take your car to Pep Boys for a Fluid Leak Evaluation. Our experienced technicians will check your oil levels; replace oil filters, if needed, flush your engine, and replace your oil to keep your car's components well-oiled and lubricated.

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