Regularly changing a vehicle’sÂ engine oil and filter is one of the most important periodic maintenance tasks every motoristÂ should do to keep the vehicle running well for a very long time.
Buy the Right Oil and Oil Filter
Confirm the right motor oil and oil filter unit to best fit the car requirements. To do so, one must secure the following information: carâ€™s engine displacement size and carâ€™s year, make, and model, and carâ€™s oil type. Following carmaker recommendations for oil viscosity is always the best route to avoid engine damage and poor car performance. It is best to buy a quality filter rated to go the distance as the oil.
Gather Tools and Equipment
Before even opening the hood for a change oil, one should always make sure to have all the necessary supplies and equipment within reach. Aside from the oil and filter, one must prepare the following: oil wrench fitting the diameter of the filter to make removing the old filter easily, especially when unscrewing by hand wonâ€™t cut it; socket wrench to unscrew the drain plug; funnel to transport oil; drain pan or old bucket to collect used oil; newspaper to catch any spilled oil outside the pan; rubber gloves to protect the hands from hot surfaces; and oil rags or paper towels to wipe off drips and help clean hands.
One should also invest on a jack and jack stand, car ramp, or a safe and secure set of blocks or wheel ramps to elevate the carâ€™s front off the ground and give more room to work underneath the car. Additional tools may be needed in the case of some vehicles that require removing the top or bottom panels for the change oil.
Warm Up the Engine
Warm up the engine for 5 to 10 minutes to allow sludge to move out of the engine easier. Donâ€™t keep the car running for too long to prevent the oil from getting too hot. If the oil gets too hot, wait for about 30 minutes to avoid getting burned.
Raise the Car
With the car parked on a flat surface and the parking break engaged, put the car ramp or wheel ramps in front of the front wheels accordingly. Alternatively, locate the jacking points and jack up the car using a jack stand. As additional security measure, put wheel blocks or tire restraints on the rear tires. Apply enough force by rocking the vehicle to test its safety while raised.
Drain the Oil
Spread newspaper out on top of the drain pan placed underneath the engine, specifically under the oil drain plug. Always exercise precaution when working underneath the car, especially with the engine and exhaust that may still be very hot. Loosen the lone bolt of the oil drain plug by turning it counterclockwise using a socket wrench. When still not familiar with this part, verify that it is really the engine oil drain plug and not the transmission drain plug by checking the manual and looking for a flat metal pan closer to the engine than the transmission.
Wear rubber gloves and manually unscrew the loosened plug as quickly as possible to give way to the stream of oil for draining and minimize spill. The draining process usually takes about 10 minutes. Once oil stops dripping, reinstall the drain plug by hand, then tighten with a quarter turn clockwise using a wrench.
Remove and Replace the Oil Filter
Oil filters come in different varieties depending on car specifications. These include self-contained units that can be simply unscrewed by hand and those made of paper that slides out after unscrewing a cap. Look for the oil filter, a Coke can-sized object that is usually found under the hood, but at sometimes foun beneath the car. Move the drain pan underneath the oil filter before unscrewing the oil filter for replacement counterclockwise, as more oil may still come out from it. If itâ€™s difficult to remove, one may need an oil filter removal tool. To avoid oil spill while removing the filter, wrap a small plastic bag around the filter to catch any oil that escapes as you remove it.
After allowing the opening to drain completely, wipe off the opening using paper towel or oil rug. Smear some of the new motor oil along the rim of the new oil filter by dabbing a finger to it, ideally while still wearing gloves, as this lubricates the gasket and prevents sticking, cracking or causing oil leak by creating a reliable seal for the new filter. Putting a small amount of oil into the filter itself prior to installation also reduces the amount of time the car takes to regain proper oil. Skip this step if using paper filter. Replace the filter and manually tighten the seal. Wipe off both the filter and pan after oil filter replacement.
Refill the Oil
Once everything underneath the car is sealed and secure, remove the oil cap from the top of your car, place a funnel inside the fill hole, and refill the tankâ€™s oil based on the manualâ€™s specified amount and grade of motor oil. Most oil jugs provide a measure on their handle to confirm how much oil is left. If the filter is mounted vertically, filling with oil may reach almost up to the top. If the filter is mounted at an angle, a minimal amount of oil will spill just prior to spinning the filter on. It is good to hold the bottle with the spout on top so oil pours more smoothly without bubbling. Replace the fill cap, tighten all parts, making sure there are no loose tools and leaking issues. Wipe off any spills to prevent burning oil smell.
Test the Car and Record Information
Get the car off the jacks. Start the engine for a minute to allow the new motor oil to circulate thoroughly. Turn off engine and allow the oil to settle for 5 to 10 minutes to check oil levels by pulling out and cleaning the dipstick, the putting it back and removing it once more to see how much oil there is inside. It is worth noting that in cases when the engine has just run, one canâ€™t always rely on the dipstick for accurate measurement, as some oil may still be in the galleries. Check the odometer to record the distance the car should run before next oil change and list down the date to also serve as basis for the next oil change.
Dispose the Used Oil in an Approved Facility
Since dumping car motor oil in an unapproved area is often illegal, and more importantly, is a serious environmental concern, pour the oil from the drain pan to a secure container and bring this to any auto parts store, gas station, or oil-recycling center for proper oil disposal.