Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tech Basics - Oil Changes

Oil changes are an easy and quick way to save yourself a couple bucks and ensure you get good premium oil and filters. Here's the few quick and simple steps to do it, on your own.

You'll need a funnel,  4-5 quarts of oil for most cars (checking a service manual or the under hood maintenance sticker will let you know how many quarts the motor requires). While you don't have to change the filter every time you do an oil change, most auto parts stores of packages that will get you the filter for free or pretty close so doesn't hurt to change it. Lastly you need a catch pan or a bucket to contain the old oil, DO NOT dump this, any auto parts store will allow you to return the old oil to them FREE of charge.
Begin by jacking up the car and securing it on a stand (if you have one). The car doesn't need to be very high, just up enough for you to reach the oil pan drain plug and filter. The drain plug is a medium size bolt and washer on the side or bottom of the oil pan. There will be only one and it will be on a slight angle. With the engine cold, loosen the bolt with a wrench. Once loose place you catch pan below and use a pulling/turning motion with your fingers to remove the bolt with out dropping it in the pan. Once the Oil is drained, put the bolt back in. Some bolt have a copper crush washer on them, this seals the bolt to the pan. if you have this is must be replaced at time of removal or it may leak no matter how much you tighten it. Luckily not to many newer cars have this.

Next move the pan under the filter. Using a filter wrench or a set a channel locks unscrew the filter using the same process as the bolt. The filter will hold additional oil so make sure your pan is under it. Once removed make sure the rubber seal came off with it, sometimes they tend to stick. Before installing the new one, rub oil around the new seal, this will hydro lock it in place causing it to properly seal. When reinstalling do not use a wrench, this should be hand tight. If need be, you can use a wrench to tighten if you don't have the hand strength, but be careful not to over tighten or damage the filter.
Lastly add in your new oil. Once your close to the recommended fill amount keep checking the dip stick to see when you have filled it, you don't want to under or over fill the engine. This will cause several issue if it occurs. Once filled start the engine and check for any leaks Done!

Tech tip- synthetic oil will last 5-6,000 miles and coat better vs. 3,000 miles for non-synthetic, but doesn't mix with non-synthetic. So before changing over make sure you thoroughly drain the non-synthetic oil and use the same manufactures suggested weight, unless other wise told.

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