How to Change your Car’s Oil to Prolong its Life
One of the most important things you can do to prolong the life of your car is to regularly change its oil. In worst case scenarios, vehicles that do not receive oil change as per the manufacturer-recommended interval would not run more than 10,000 miles. Whether you own a sedan, SUV, van or truck, you need to perform routine maintenance to ensure that your vehicle can last for hundreds of thousands of miles.
If you’re planning to change your vehicle’s oil yourself, you will be delighted to know that you wouldn’t need sophisticated training and tools to do so. Why would you spend a lot of money on hiring a mechanic when you can go the DIY path? Aside from that, this is the most important car maintenance task you should know to keep your engine in good condition for a long time. So, keep on reading to discover all the steps you need to successfully change your oil.
Study your Car Manual
You should check your car manual and see your engine’s exact oil capacity, as well as the specific weights of oil required or allowed. If you noticed that there are details tagged as “without oil filter” or “with oil filter,” always choose the latter. This is important because you’d have to change the oil and filter at the same time.
Warm the Engine
When the oil is warm, it flows easily. So, don’t forget to warm the engine by driving your vehicle before performing the oil change.
Collect the Tools and Materials
You would need a wrench or socket with extension, an oil filter, a torque wrench, and sufficient oil for replacement, as well as for topping off later. You would also need a drain pan to collect the used engine oil. You would also have to use jack stands or car ramps for working under the car. Finally, also have a vinyl shower curtain liner handy.
Lay Down the Vinyl Shower Curtain
Without proper protection, your driveway or garage can be stained by oil spillages. So, make sure you buy a vinyl shower curtain liner and lay it down before starting the process. You can easily wipe the liner if you do spill some oil.
Tighten the Drain Plug Using a Torque Wrench
It is true that you can easily remove the oil filter drain plug using your sheer strength. However, you wouldn’t be able to retighten it as easily. Using a torque wrench, tighten the plug to the manufacturer-recommended setting. This will ensure that it will not leak, but it can still be loosened. After that, apply a light coat of fresh oil around the gasket of the new oil filter. This will give it a better seal, lowering the chances of leaking.
Store the Excess Oil
If you end up with excess oil, make sure you keep it in the trunk. This can be crucial especially in scenarios when you unexpectedly find the level low, but do not have access to the exact weight and brand.
Responsibly Dispose of the Used Oil
Used oil is a hazardous waste and there is a proper way to dispose of it. Responsibly disposing of waste oil is also an important part of DIY car maintenance. If your local council does not have a program for getting rid of used motor oil, contact a fleet manager. There are several commercial garage buildings that use waste oil for their heating systems. They would be glad to accept your used oil as long as you did not add another fluid to the mix.