How To Change Your Engine Oil

Learning to change your vehicle's engine oil can save you time and money. Here's how to do it in a few simple steps.

Changing your automobile's engine oil is an important part of keeping the engine clean and problem-free. This task should be performed every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, or about every three months. Failing to keep your car well maintained can lead to expensive problems like engine damage or rusty joints, since lubrication is usually included with an oil change at auto shops. However, if you choose to perform this service yourself, you can save time and money, as well as deciding whether to lubricate key locations on the car or save that chore for another time.

Before getting started with the oil change, read your vehicle's owner's manual to see what kind of oil your vehicle should use. Then look for the kind of oil filter you will have to buy. Some people add materials to their oil in hopes of getting better performance or a cleaner engine. Most manufacturers strongly recommends against the addition of any additives to the engine oil. This oil is an engineered product and its performance may

be impaired by supplemental additives.

Park your car in a secure area, perhaps your garage or driveway. You may want to block the tires to keep the vehicle from rolling. The tools you will need for this job are an oil filter wrench, a pan or bucket to catch the drained oil, cleaning cloths or rags, a half-inch

wrench to take your negative battery, and a jack. Remember, it is against the law to throw

away the used oil. Call your dealer and find out where to take it, as there are collection centers for used products like engine oil.

To begin this job, first take off your negative battery cable, which will keep you from getting hurt in case there are any bare or broken wires that you might bump. Then jack the car up high enough so you will have plenty of room to work. Block the back tires so the car can't roll. Open the hood and prop it safely. Remove the oil cap to help the oil drain faster.

Next, slide your oil bucket or pan under the oil drain bolt. (Check the vehicle's operating manual or call the dealer if you don't know where this is located.) Remove the oil drain

bolt and turn it counter-clockwise to the left. This will release the used oil. Make sure you clean the oil drain bolt with a cloth or rag. When the oil stops dripping into the pan, it is

time to remove the old filter. With the oil filter wrench, slowly turn the filter, making sure you have a bucket or pan under it. Once you have loosened the filter, carefully drop it in the bucket or pan. Then use your rags to clean any oil that might have spilled. Now take the new oil filter and put on the rubber seal. Turn the oil filter with your hand until it is hand tight. Using your oil filter wrench, turn it three-fourths of another turn. Then replace the oil drain bolt and tighten it so there are no leaks. Let down the jack and start filling the engine opening with oil. Do not overfill; this can damage your motor. Put the oil cap back on, then reconnect the battery cable. Start the engine and check for leaks. If

you should spot a leak, stop the engine at once and tighten the bolt. Restart the engine and make sure it is not leaking anywhere else. If for some reason you cannot find an oil filter wrench, you can use an old belt. All you have to do is pull the belt tight around the oil filter, then with one hand on the filter to keep it from slipping, slowly turn it until it

is loose enough to manage by hand.

Always use high quality oil and filters to keep your car running smoothly. Watch for sales to get low prices on these products, and stock up then. A half-hour of effort a few times a year can save you thousands of dollars in engine repair or a car replacement.

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