Ideally, you should change your motor oil every three months or after every 3,000 miles. If you often drive around in hot or dusty conditions, you might even want to change oil more often than that.
The process is pretty simple, and as easy as one-two-three. Step one is getting ready, step two is draining the oil and changing the oil filter while step three is installing the new oil.
(1) Getting Ready
When getting ready, it is important to have the right tools and materials on hand, such as jack stands, a socket set and an oil drain pan. Let your car engine run for 10 minutes before you drain the oil since warm oil is easier to drain than cold. Make sure you park on a level surface or, if your car has a low clearance, jack it up or drive it onto a ramp. If youre jacking up the car, use two jack stands instead of one. (An additional jack costs about $20 and that is a small price to pay to spare your face from being squished by a badly balanced car.) You might want to check your cars manual about the weight of oil and type of oil filter you need to use.
(2) Draining the Oil and Changing the Oil Filter
To drain the oil, crawl under the car and look for the oil drain plug under the engine near the front of the car. Position your pan beneath the plug then use a socket wrench to loosen the plug, turning counterclockwise. Once loosened, you can use your hand to remove the plug and the hot oil starts pouring out. Make sure all the old oil is drained into the pan. Once its completely drained, wipe the drain plug and the plug opening. Now replace the drain plug gasket and use a wrench to reinstall the plug but dont make it too tight.
Next, look for the oil filter. They are usually at the side of the engine. Place the oil pan beneath the filter in case any oil remains. Unscrew the oil filter (use gloves if it is too hot) and wipe the filter area clean, especially where it mounts to the engine. Dab a bit of your new oil on the rubber seal of the new filter and then screw it in by hand. You dont have to use a wrench to tighten the oil filter.
(3) Installing New Oil
Remove the oil filler cap thats located at the top of the engine. Position the funnel at the opening and slowly start pouring in the new oil You might want to check your manual for the proper oil capacity but, typically, you will need four or five quarts of oil. Once youre done, put back the oil filler cap. Start the engine, let it run for a minute and then check the dipstick. If you need to, add more oil. Now check for any leaks near the oil drain plug and the filter. If you do find leaks, simply tighten the plug or oil filter.
Youre done. But dont forget to clean up. Carefully wipe away any excess oil and put the old oil into a plastic container then dispose of it. Dont just pour it anywhere, though. Better to take it to the recycle center or other authorized locations.
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