oil change indicator light and oil

Has it been a while since your last oil change in Hays County, TX? If so, your car might be dealing with problems, such as rough idling or reduced fuel economy. But these signs aren’t the only way to tell you’re overdue for an oil change — you may also notice an active oil change light on your vehicle’s dashboard.

Fortunately, you don’t have to panic when your oil change light (or oil pressure light) activates. By knowing what to do and where to go in this situation, you’ll be able to keep your vehicle running smoothly and stop potential engine trouble in its tracks.

Understanding Your Oil Lights

Depending on what oil-related problem your vehicle is dealing with, one of two lights may activate on its dashboard:

Oil Change Light

When you think about your vehicle’s “oil light,” there’s a good chance that the oil change light comes to mind. This light lets you know when it’s time to visit a local auto shop for an oil change service.

If your oil change light turns on for a few seconds when you start your vehicle, there’s nothing to worry about — this process is simply a way of testing the bulbs in your dashboard. On the other hand, you’ll definitely want to set up an oil change appointment if this light stays on for more than a few seconds.

Oil Pressure Light

Though you should never ignore an active oil change light, this isn’t usually a sign of an impending emergency. That’s not the case for your oil pressure light, however; if it activates on your dashboard, you need to take action immediately.

When an engine runs as it should, it gets a steady flow of oil from the oil pump to keep its moving parts lubricated (among other benefits). Without that flow of oil, your engine could get seriously damaged — and if something gets in the way of this process, your oil pressure light will alert you to the problem.

Don’t Rely Solely on Monitoring Systems

Your oil change and oil pressure lights can make it much easier to tell when your vehicle needs professional attention. However, these systems (and the sensors they rely on) aren’t perfect. With that in mind, you’ll want to:

Create an Oil Change Schedule

It’s easy to assume that changing your oil every three months or 3,000 miles is ideal — after all, this is the standard advice most drivers receive on this topic. Even so, this oil change interval might not be the best fit for your own needs.

Factors that can affect your ideal oil change schedule include:

  • Your car’s age. Typically, older vehicles will need oil changes more often than newer cars.
  • How you drive. Do you regularly drive long distances under 50 mph or travel on dirt roads? These are two examples of severe driving habits, which you can counteract by getting oil changes twice as often as usual.
  • What temperatures you drive in. Hays County’s brutal summer heat can have an impact on your car’s oil, making it wise to increase your oil change frequency.
  • What oil type you use. The fact is, some oil types deliver better results than others. For example, a full synthetic oil change will last considerably longer than fresh conventional oil.

Check Your Oil Manually

To perform a manual oil check, park your car and give it a few minutes to cool down. Then, turn it off and locate your dipstick in the oil reservoir under the hood. After wiping off any leftover oil, put the dipstick back in the reservoir and pull it out to find your vehicle’s current oil level.

If your oil level falls in a cross-hatched area or between two markings on the dipstick, you should be OK for now. If it’s lower than that, you’ll want to set up an oil change soon — even if your oil change light isn’t active.

How Can You Reset Your Oil Change Indicator?

After you get an oil change, you won’t need your oil change light to stay on. To deactivate this light and start your oil life calculation system’s countdown to your next oil change, you must reset this system after your service appointment.

Performing a manual reset of your car’s oil change light isn’t complicated — all you have to do is hold down a few buttons on your vehicle’s instrument panel. (Since the exact buttons vary between vehicles, check your car’s manual for a more detailed explanation). On the off-chance that your vehicle requires specialized equipment to reset this system, you can ask the mechanics at your go-to auto shop for assistance.

Where to Get an Oil Change in Hays County, TX

Are you looking for a full-service oil change in Hays County, TX? If so, you’re in the right place. The ASE-certified mechanics at Reliable Automotive can take care of a synthetic oil change service for you, along with any other maintenance or repair work you might need.

Better yet, we offer highly affordable prices — and that’s before our customers get additional savings with our online coupons. Get started by scheduling an oil change today!

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