One of the most important things you can do to keep your car running more efficiently for longer is to regularly change the oil and oil filter. Over time, oil breaks down and the contaminants and debris clog the filter, making cooling the engine more difficult and risking the life of the car. Depending on how you drive or the type of car you drive, an oil change is recommended every 3 to 6 months or 5,000 to 7,500 miles. Some cars require a change of oil every 10,000 to 20,000 miles or 12 to 24 months. It is wise to check your car service manual or consult a mechanic for a more accurate advice. Fortunately, it is very easy and inexpensive to change your car oil yourself. Here are seven steps to follow in changing car engine oil.
Make sure that you have all the equipment and supplies you need to change the oil. To make draining the oil easier, make sure that the car engine is a little warm, but not hot. During the cold season, you can start the engine and keep it running for a minute or two to increase the viscosity of the oil. In normal sunny weather, this will not be necessary.
Find the oil drain plug located under the car. This should be a large nut under the oil pan just below the engine. If your car is high, you can reach the nut with ease but smaller cars may need to be raised.
If your car needs to be raised, lower the car onto sturdy floor stands placed at the recommended jack points for your car. Do not rely upon the floor jack to hold the car while you are underneath draining the engine oil.
Push a container under the oil drain plug and make sure that the pan is large enough to take all the oil from the engine.
Open the hood of the car then open the oil filter cap on top of the engine. Opening the oil filter cap will help make the oil drain with ease and faster as air can flow in while the oil is drained out. Next, unscrew the oil drain plug gradually but be ready to move your hand fast out of the way when oil begins spilling through the drain. Wait till all the oil is drained, then remove the pan and place a paper or a towel on the floor to protect the floor from the last drips.
The next step can be tougher. Locate the filter assembly which can be on the front, back or on one side of the engine. You will need to find the oil filter then remove it from the engine. Removing involves grasping it then twisting in an anti-clockwise direction.
Note that the filter may have a little oil which can spill on removal. Remove the filter carefully then screw the new filter in its place.
Tip: lubricate the oil filter seal with a few dabs of fresh oil. This will help prevent the gasket from drying out and make removal of the oil filter a lot easier with your next oil change.
Replace the drain plug by screwing it into place. Do not forget to include a new washer or gasket if it had one. Ensure that the threads do not cross – the screw should be snug enough but not too tight. Consult your car’s service manual for the correct torque setting.
Warning: do not over-torque the drain plug.
Use a funnel to pour the new engine oil into the oil filler hole located on top of the engine. The right amount of engine oil to pour is often indicated on the owner’s manual. Do not rely on the oil dipstick as it does not provide accurate measurement. Pouring the oil gradually and steadily should prevent bubbling and spilling.
Lower the car off the jack stands.
Replace the oil filler cap and tighten with your hand. Next, start the car and look under the engine to see if there is any spillage. Next, check if the check engine oil light on the dashboard is on. If the filter and drain plug are tightly in place, there may be a few drips of oil leaks before it stops. Wipe off any leaks then check again after a minute or two for any squeezes.
Those are the simple steps to follow when replacing car engine oil and oil filter to make your car run more smoothly and to prolong engine life.
About the author:
James McDonnel contributed this guest post. James is an automotive enthusiast and a freelance writer. He writes for wish.co.uk and he enjoys rare driving experiences, to find out more check wish.co.uk/driving-experiences