Symptoms of Low Engine Oil

Oil Changes in D'Iberville

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Drivers in D’Iberville, Gulfport, and Hattiesburg deserve great performance out of their car. Part of that is keeping up with maintenance, like oil changes, but how do you know when you’re low on oil? What are the symptoms of low engine oil?

In this article, our team will review the most common signs of low engine oil, which include:

  • Oil dashboard warning light
  • Knocking sound from engine
  • Shaking in steering wheel when driving
  • Burning smell
  • Low oil level

Pat Peck Kia reviews these signs in-depth below so you know what you should look and listen for when your engine is low on oil.

Signs You Have Low Engine Oil

Fortunately, when your engine is low on oil, it has several ways of telling you. From casual reminders to urgent warning signs, some of these symptoms include:

  • Oil Dashboard Warning LightDashboard Light – Most cars come standard with a dashboard light that gives you a warning about your oil levels before any of these other symptoms occur. In some vehicles, it’ll just display the words CHECK ENGINE, but most of the time, it looks like an old-fashioned oil can with a drop of oil next to it. If you’re not familiar with this image, picture a flat square tea kettle.
  • Engine Sound – Listen to your engine. You know how it normally sounds. If it starts making a knocking sound or roaring like it’s having to work a lot harder than usual, that’s a clear sign of low oil. Since oil’s job is to cool and lubricate your parts, when there’s not enough to go around, your parts will start to build up friction, which can cause problems and eventually break down. These sounds are a warning that if you continue to drive with low oil, you’ll be damaging your parts.
  • Shaking – Another way your engine will tell you if it’s dealing with too much friction from not enough oil is by shaking. You’ll often feel vibrations in your steering wheel or driver’s seat while your car is making the noises mentioned above. This is another urgent warning to add oil as soon as possible and get service.
  • Burning Smell – Sometimes, you’ll actually be able to smell when your oil is too low. When there’s not enough oil to keep your parts cool, you’ll be able to smell the remaining oil burning as your engine gets hotter. Do not continue driving if you smell burning. It’ll do more damage and may lead to your engine overheating. Pull over and add oil or get your car towed to a service center.
  • Dipstick Levels – Luckily, there’s a way to get ahead of all these symptoms. Pop the hood and find the dipstick. When you pull it out, you’ll be able to check your oil level. Not only will it show you when it’s low, but you’ll also be able to see the color and consistency, too. If it looks like a thick, black syrup, you should schedule an oil change.

When to Get an Oil Change

How often you’ll need new oil depends on whether your vehicle takes conventional or synthetic. Check your owner’s manual to see what’s recommended for your car, but most follow these general guidelines.

Conventional oil will work effectively between 3,000 and 5,000 miles, or for about three months. Synthetic oil is what you’ll find in most new cars. It was designed to last longer and requires an oil change every 6,000 to 7,500 miles, or every six months.

Oil Change & Service Center

At Pat Peck Kia, we proudly provide drivers in D’Iberville, Gulfport, and Hattiesburg with a service center to take care of all your engine oil and maintenance needs.

If you notice any of these symptoms of low engine oil, schedule service for help from our expert technicians. They can take care of everything from a routine oil change to preventative maintenance and service.