How & Why You Need To Change Your Oil
OK Lads we know your car is well passed that cute Jiffy Lube sticker and you are dreading the trip back. You are just not thrilled about going mano a mano with a snooty underachieving auto mechanic. You are not interested in hearing some lip service about how you’re car is falling apart. What’s worse is that their script works and you generally start thinking about a $150 radiator flush, even though you went there for a $29 oil change.
Well if you must go, the first thing you should do is read your manufacturer’s recommendation for oil change. You will be surprised to learn many cars do not need oil changed at 3000 or even 5000 miles. Many auto manufacturers recommend changing oil at 10,000 miles, typically if the model requires synthetic oil.
Now for you adventurous corporate wranglers who desperately want no part of Saturday’s wicker basket shopping with the wifey. This is the perfect excuse to get dirty in your driveway, drink beer and listen to Lynyrd Skynyrd, White Snake or whatever band will annoy your neighbor.
How To Change Your Car’s Oil
Changing your oil is a great way to connect with your vehicle and take some control over its maintenance. Any time spent under the hood and under the car affords you an excellent opportunity to look around and see if anything else needs attention.
- Wrench to remove drain plug
- Oil filter wrench
- Oil drain pan
- Jack, stands or ramps depending on vehicle clearance
- Concert T-Shirt, put it on (very important)
First make sure you purchase the correct oil for your engine.
If you can’t find a funnel make one out of a plastic water bottle. Some drain pans have a screw-on lid and pour spout, which makes it easier to transport and recycle the old oil.
Your engine and its oil should be warm when you get started, but not hot. Let the car sit so the exhaust system cools off some, but don’t allow things to go stone cold. You may need to remove the undercover. Some newer cars have these aerodynamic covers to improve fuel economy and keep things clean. Unfortunately, the covers can hide the engine’s oil drain plug and oil filter. Some covers have built-in access hatches and they’re usually labeled.
Now it’s time to locate the oil filter and drain plug. The vast majority of cars have a bottom-mount screw-on filter, such as the one shown here.
It’s important to place your drain pan under the drain plug — but not directly under it. The oil will stream out abit, like a water hose so plan for that or you will be creating some abstract art on your driveway. You should also remove the oil cap on the top of the engine (dipstick) so that the oil flows out easier.
You can usually remove the drain plug with a common wrench or socket. The hex end on a typical drain plug is almost always a common size that comes in a standard tool assortment, but even the domestic carmakers tend to use metric in the 14-17mm range. A three-eighth-inch drive ratchet typically does the job.
Inspect and clean the oil drain plug while the rest of the oil is draining. You want to make sure the rubber washer is in tact so that you have a tight seal and do not leak oil. After the oil completely drains, clean the area around the valve and screw the plug back in and tighten with a wrench. You want the plug to be tight but don’t over torque the screw as you will need to remove it again in 3-6 months. This is the part Jiffy Lube always screws up .. closing valves, because they are always laughing and literally screwing around.
Now it’s time to remove the oil filter. Filters loosen in a hurry, at which point oil starts to gush out all around the perimeter. Go slowly and switch to unscrewing the filter by hand as soon as you can. Unlike drain plug removal, there is no way to avoid making a mess at this stage. Make sure you reposition the drain pan before you start. Don’t let go of the filter once it starts to come off.
Use rags to clean as much oil away as you can, paying special attention to the filter sealing surface. Make sure to remove the old filter’s O-ring if it stuck itself to the surface. This could cause a bad seal and all your oil to eventually leak.
Now you prepare the new filter for installation by dipping the tip of your finger in the new replacement oil and smear it on the gasket ring of the new filter. This will lubricate the gasket and create a good seal for the new filter, and ensure that you’ll be able to get it off the next time. Carefully screw on the new, lubricated filter. In general, you’ll tighten the filter until the gasket touches, then a quarter-turn more.
Now you are ready to add the new replacement oil. Pop in your funnel and add the recommended amount. Be sure to start your car and let it run for awhile after you add the new oil, then check the oil again. You may need to add a little more after it cycles through the engine.
Now you can pat yourself on the back and enjoy a cold one. But, you’re job is not complete until you recycle the old oil. You MUST do this, don’t be a tool. Almost all states require by law that you recycle your oil. It’s simple, find your local Pep Boys, gas station or car dealership, they will gladly add it to their recycling.
Thanks For Reading!