How to Change Your Car's Motor Oil
First, let's answer the question; Why should you change your own oil? Because
you can save time and money. You don't have to wait in line at the service garage
or quick oil change shop. For ten bucks you can get the best oil and a brand new
oil filter. And, it's so easy to do that you could train a monkey to do it.
Changing your cars motor oil is a very simple three-step process: 1. Drain the
old oil. 2. Replace the oil filter. 3. Add the new oil. But before we go through
the steps, lets answer a few basic questions.
When should I change my oil?
Look in your cars owners manual. Most auto manufacturers recommend changing the
motor oil every 6,000 miles for normal service, or every 3,000 miles for severe
service. I change my oil every 6,000 miles, and my engines run like new when I
trade my vehicles in with well over 100,000 miles on them. One thing that I do
is change a new cars oil after the first 300 mile break-in period. Then, after that,
I change the oil every 6,000 miles.
What kind of oil should I use?
You are not going to save money by using an off-brand oil because your engine
will wear out sooner. Use oil that meets the American Pertroleum Institute (API)
classification SL. I use Valvoline, Quaker State, Pennzoil, or Havoline brand oil.
These quality oils contain additives that make them work better and longer.
If you are changing your oil just before winter, use SAE 10W30 weight oil. This
number means the oil will have a thin 10 weight viscosity when the engine is cold,
helping the engine to start easier, and then the oil will thicken to 30 weight
viscosity when the engine warms up, protecting the engine better. If you are
changing oil just before summer, use SAE 10W40 weight oil. The extra 40 weight
viscosity will protect your engine better when it's hot.
What's the First Step?
First let your engine cool off. Modern engines run at close to 300 degrees (F)
and hot oil will definitely give you a severe burn. You shouldn't have to jack
your car up unless you have some kind of ground hugging sports car or low rider.
Almost all cars have enough space underneath to reach under and change the engine oil.
Step 1: Drain the old oil.
Locate the oil drain plug and place a pan under it to catch the oil. With a box
wrench, remove the oil plug.
Note for newbies: To remove the drain plug, turn it counter-clockwise.