Sunday, May 22, 2011

The best oil change ever

Changing the oil on your vehicle is probably the single best thing you can do for it. Getting your oil changed isn't very expensive and doing it on a regular schedule will help to greatly extend the life of your vehicle. If you are in a pinch you can always take it to one of those oil change places and and get it done in 30 minutes or less. This is better than nothing and if more people would do this then they would have fewer issues with their cars. Personally I don't really like these places as they don't seem to do a very good job and I keep hearing horror stories of them stripping out the threads on the oil pan so I just do my own oil change.

Benefits of doing your own oil change:

  1. It is done correctly
  2. Cheaper
  3. You can take care of other things as well
Mandatory Supplies:
  1. Oil (probably between 4 and 8 quarts). If you don't know how much you need, or what type ask at you local auto parts store, they are helpful. I prefer O'Reilly because they are close and seem to have most of the part I need. I recommend synthetic oil, grease, and other fluids as they are better.
  2. Oil filter. The people at the parts store can help you with this as well
  3. Funnel
  4. Hydraulic floor jack (don't use the crappy spare tire jack, those are junk)
  5. Oil drain pan
  6. Socket set or wrench set (you will need the size that fits the oil drain plug)
Recommended additional supplies:
  1. Power steering fluid
  2. Grease gun
  3. Fluid transfer pump
  4. Synthetic Grease
  5. Antifreeze
  1. Drive the car around until it is fully warmed up. This will make it so the the old oil drains out quicker. Additionally this will get all the crud in the oil in suspension so it will be carried away with the old oil.
  2. Open the hood
  3. take off the oil filler cap
  4. Jack the car up (use one of the jack points for changing the tires)
  5. put the drain pan under the oil drain plug
  6. Remove the oil train plug
  7. Do these optional (recommended) steps as the oil drains out as the oil draining will take a while (probably close to 30 minutes)
    1. put the battery on a charger (trickle charge ensures that the battery is fully charged)
    2. using the fluid transfer pump remove all the fluid in the power steering reservoir. (cheeper to replace the fluid a little at at time than to pay for a new power steering pump)
    3. refill the power steering reservoir with fresh fluid (probably close to 12 ounces)
    4. grease all suspension parts using synthetic grease (makes these parts last longer. These are expensive)
    5. Shake the dirt out of your air filter (this will help extend its life)
    6. Check to see that your belts aren't cracked or worn (you don't want to get stuck somewhere)
    7. Check the radiator hoses 
    8. Check the tire pressure (don't want to get a flat)
    9. Check your coolant level (refill as needed, you don't want to run low on coolant as a blown head gasket will probably be the end of you car)
    10. Fill your windshield wiper fluid.(you want to see don't you?)
    11. Check lights and blinkers (this avoids a visit from a L.E.O.)
    12. Take the battery off the charger
  8. Now that the oil has finished draining out put the oil plug back in. Initially put it in finger tight (several full turns) then use a wrench or socket to tighten it down the rest of the way. This will prevent you from stripping the threads on the oil pan.
  9. move the oil drain pan so it is under the oil filter.
  10. Remove the oil filter and put it in the oil drain pan (more oil will drain out)
  11. Fill the new oil filter with oil (This will get oil into the engine quicker when you start it)
  12. put a light coat of oil on the rubber gasket on the oil filter (This will make it so you can easily get it off when you change it next time)
  13. Put the new oil filter on. once it makes contact with the engine turn it another 1/4 to 1/2 turn. this will keep oil from leaking out.
  14. Take the oil drain pan out from under the car
  15. Take the car off the jack
  16. Put the funnel in the oil filler hole and pour in the correct amount of oil.
  17. Put the oil filler cap back on.
Congratulations you have just done the best oil change ever. I do all of this each time I change oil on any of my vehicles. At this point you are stuck with some old oil, an old oil filter. Some auto parts stores will take the old oil and filter, but if not you can always dispose of them at the local hazardous waste disposal site. In Dakota county MN it is free. My local O'Reilly store take used oil so I just save up the old filters and bring a bunch of filters to the Recycle center at once (about 3 or 4 times a year).

Note* I am NOT sponsored by or in anyway affiliated with O'Reilly auto parts, I do NOT own stock in O'Reilly either.  I have had better experiences there than at any of the other auto parts stores so that is what I am basing my recommendation on.

1 comment:

  1. Add this to the checklist: Pull out the dipstick and observe the oil level. If the oil level is below the low line, the car may be burning more oil than it used to. A mechanic down the street says he is seeing lots of mid to high mile vehicles, otherwise well cared for and gently driven that are using more than 1 quart between oil changes. My 270K mile Dodge van needs a quart every 2,000 miles. The family 180K mile Honda needs between-changes oil too. I asked mechanic down street, should I put in valve stem seals on the Honda? When a car smokes at stoplight after freeway driving yes you do need exhaust seals. Otherwise... a gray area.