If you ask a bunch of experts how often you should change the oil in your car you will most likely get a rough average of between every 3000 to 5000 miles. While the range will vary, they will all tell you that changing the oil in your car is the single most important thing you can do to your car to ensure the longevity of your engine.
Now if you prefer you can take your car to the local Jiffy Lube, but spending $29.95 in these tough times can hurt just a bit. Instead of spending the money get your old cloths on, grab some rags and follow these simple steps to change your own oil:
- Get Your Supplies: The first thing you need to do is to get the supplies you will need in order to change your oil. This will mean you have to take a trip to your local auto parts store and buy some oil and an oil filter. While the amount of oil you will need depends on your vehicle, most do not take more than five quarts, but you can check your owner’s manual to find out what yours requires. While checking for the amount of oil to use you can also check to see what type of oil is recommended d for your car, such 10W-30 or the like.
- Get Ready to get Dirty: Now that you have the oil and oil filter you need to find a flat spot on your driveway and pop the hood of your car. Before you even get started be sure that you have something to catch the old oil in. You can rig up something or buy an oil catch pan at the auto parts store.
- Change the Oil Filter: First you should locate your oil filter and place the catch pan underneath of it. Then unscrew it (lefty loosey, righty tighty) and allow the little bit of oil that may remain to fall into the catch pan. Once it has drained, wipe off the area where the oil filter goes with a rag and then screw on your new oil filter hand tight. A good thing to do here is to lube up the threads of the new filter with some oil so that it will come off easy the next time.
- Drain the Old Oil: Next you need to look under your car directly under the engine and locate the oil plug which will be attached to your oil pan. You will know it when you see it and this will need to be taken out using the appropriate sized wrench. Have the oil catch pan ready as the old oil comes out in a hurry one the plug is removed. Once all the oil has drained, use the lube trick on the threads of the oil plug and then replace it and tighten it up.
- Add Oil: On the top of your engine you will see the oil cap that needs to be removed so that you can put the new oil in. Once removed you can either add the oil straight in or use a funnel and make it a bit easier on yourself. Put in the amount of oil in that is stated in your owner’s manual and then put the oil cap back in place.
- Check the Oil: Before you are done you need to be sure that you put enough oil in your car. Find the dip stick which is usually marked with a yellow handle. Once you locate it pull it out and wipe it clean with a rag. You will notice that there are markings on the end of the dip stick to show the level of the oil. Replace the dip stick and then pull it out right away and check your level by seeing how much oil is on the end of the dip stick. If you need to add oil then do so, if not replace the dip stick and close your hood.
Now your car is good to go for another 3000 to 5000 miles. Just be sure that you write down somewhere what the mileage is so that you can then add the appropriate amount and come up with the mileage for your next oil change.
You should also take the time to recycle your old oil and oil filter. This is free and can be done by taking it to your local auto parts store. Never dump your oil in an unapproved way as it is not only bad for the environment, but illegal as well.