The purpose of motor oil is to remove sludge from your engine and keep the moving parts well lubricated. This cuts down on friction, which can help to extend the life of your vehicle. Many people take their cars into a shop for a professional oil change because they find it to be more convenient and cost effective. However, it is also possible to change the oil yourself. If you do so, however, you have to make sure that you dispose of the used oil responsibly.
When To Change the Oil
The general guideline is that you should change the oil in your vehicle every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. However, when to change the oil depends on several factors, such as the type of oil you choose. If you use a synthetic oil, you may be able to wait longer between oil changes. Conventional oil, however, needs changing more often.
There are important signs to look for and listen for that indicate that you need an oil change sooner rather than later:
• Strange sounds from the engine
• Oil that is dark-colored in appearance
• Warning lights on the dashboard
Take the third sign seriously, because if the oil light comes on, damage to your vehicle is imminent or may have already occurred.
How To Change the Oil
Now that you know when to change oil, you need to know how to change oil. Oil that is warm, but not hot, will pour out more quickly, so be mindful of the vehicle’s temperature. Be sure to wear safety goggles and gloves. From this point, it is a step-by-step process.
1. Raise the Front of the Vehicle
First, put wheel chocks behind the rear wheels, making sure the vehicle is parked on a flat surface. Then use jack stands to raise the vehicle in front.
2. Prepare To Drain the Oil
Set an oil drain pan beneath the drain plug. When the plug is open, the oil will drain out, so be sure the pan is ready to catch it. Open up the hood and remove the cap from the oil filler.
3. Remove the Plug
This will cause the oil to drain out into the pan. Wait until it has slowed to a trickle before you replace the drain plug.
4. Replace the Plug and Change the Oil Filter
Be careful not to overtighten either. You may damage the threads, and leaks could result.
5. Install New Oil
You can perform a free VIN lookup to determine the type of oil to use. Use a funnel to pour in the oil and then check the level using the dipstick.
What To Do With Used Oil
When you have a professional oil change, you do not have to worry about disposing of the used oil that has been removed. However, when you change your own oil, this becomes your responsibility. The best thing to do is to recycle the oil, but first you need to contact the facility to be sure they will accept it. If not, they may be able to tell you where to go. Be sure that you prepare the oil for transport by placing it inside plastic containers that close tightly.
Be sure you have everything you need before you start your oil change. You should be able to find it from an auto parts retailer.