Everyone knows that regularly getting your oil changed is an important component in car maintenance. Unfortunately, many drivers rely exclusively on the number displayed by their odometers to know it’s time to take their vehicle to the shop. There are even drivers who don’t know the tell-tale signs that indicate it’s time to get out, look at the dipstick, and do something about the oil. 


At Fred Anderson Toyota, we want to make sure your vehicle is running optimally at all times. That’s why we’ve put together this handy list of a few ways to tell when it’s time to schedule a service appointment.

Oil Change Warning Signs

Your Tailpipe Is Smoking

A certain level of translucent vapor being emitted from your tailpipe is nothing to be worried about. However, you should take your vehicle into the shop if that vapor turns to smoke. This could indicate all sorts of problems, from something small like an oil leak all the way up to faulty engine parts. If it’s smoking, it might be broken. 

Your Engine Becomes Noisy

This seems like a no-brainer: You turn the keys and the engine roars before simmering down to a hum. Engine noise is just a part of driving. While this is true, it’s good to remember that the engine shouldn’t make much noise at all since its parts are coated in a thin, protective lubricant to prevent metal-on-metal contact. So, if your engine begins to produce a rumbling, knocking, or roaring noise, your oil might have broken down — meaning your engine’s parts are at risk. 


Your vehicle’s engine should immediately begin circulating oil after you turn the key. However, oil that’s broken down and become sludgy will make this process both much more arduous and much longer. So, if your engine is taking a lot longer than usual to warm up, followed by a constant ticking, it’s probably time to take your vehicle in and get its oil changed. 

Vibration While Idle

Oil protects your engine against metal-on-metal contact. As the oil breaks down and the engine’s parts start making contact, your vehicle will begin to experience abnormal vibrating or shaking. This can be especially felt while idle. If this is happening to your vehicle, you need to do two things: Limit the amount of time your vehicle is idle, and schedule your next oil change. 

Dark or Murky Oil

Oil is a natural rich amber color. As our vehicle operates, however, its oil begins to change shades to a murky, dark brown. Unfortunately, this isn’t something you’ll be able to just know. You’ll have to get out and check your car’s dipstick. It’s recommended you do this once every month or so. Your oil fine if you can see the dipstick through it, but if it’s dark and sludgy then you’re due for an oil change. Remember: if you can see the line, you’re fine!

Schedule Oil Change Service in Raleigh, NC

If you notice any combination of the above symptoms, it’s time to bring your vehicle to our award-winning service center in Raleigh, NC. Our technicians specialize in providing our clients with the most efficient, cost-effective vehicle service solutions in the area. Take a moment to look at our current service specials while booking your next appointment.