10 Tips for a Successful Oil Change
One of the most common do-it-yourself car maintenance jobs is the classic oil change. A simple process, yes, but it is always important to refresh your memory, so you fully understand what it takes to have a completely successful oil change. And if you have never changed your own oil before, welcome! We hope this guide can become handy in your learning and understanding on how to change your car’s oil.
Tip #1: Double check manufacture guidelines.
Every vehicle is different when it comes to oil changes. From the type of oil needed, quantity or blend, it is crucial to double-check your manufacturer’s guidelines regarding these specifics. For example, if you put the wrong oil in your car, it can lead to reduced lubrication and an overall shorter engine lifespan. Take the extra time to research exactly what your car needs.
Tip #2: Ensure the correct weight.
All engines have specific oil weights that should be used in each particular engine. This varies by make and model, but most modern cars have the weight printed on the oil fill cap under the hood. If not, there may be a small sticker that identifies what your engine requires. The weight of your oil should always be matched with the one recommended by the manufacture. No exceptions. You can read more about the different types of motor oils on our blog here.
Tip #3: Protective gear is key.
When changing your oil at home, it is imperative that you have the correct protective gear and supplies to ensure a safe, clean, and stress-free oil change. It is a good idea to wear rubber gloves and have plenty of clean towels handy to quickly remove any oil you may come in contact with. Also, we recommend using a tarp, old shower curtain, or something similar to lay underneath the oil pan in order to protect your driveway from nasty spills.
Tip #4: Let your car cool down.
This is important whenever you conduct any type of work – big or small – on your vehicle. If you have recently driven your car, it is important to let it sit for 20-30 minutes to ensure the oil does not burn you. Yes, it flows freely when warm but can cause serious damage if your skin comes in contact with it. If you want to warm up the oil, you can run your car for 2 minutes to get the oil warmed up to flow easily, but not enough to cause harm.
Tip #5: Use the correct drain pan.
Of course, you aren’t going to let your oil drain freely into your hands or onto the ground – you need a drain pan! These are easy to find at any auto store and will ensure that your oil can drain safely and securely. Some drain pans, such as the funnel-top drain pan, fully cover the oil, limiting the chance of a disastrous spill. Some also feature reinforced handles that help with transporting the dirty oil.
Tip #6: Need a grip?
Oil filters can be very difficult to remove, especially if your hands are covered in oil. At your local auto store, you will also notice an array of tools to help with your oil change. We love gripping oil change tools that can help you remove any stubborn oil filters. From clamp-style to 3-jaw adjustable wrenches, there are a variety of styles and options to fit your needs and budget.
Tip #7: Seal your filter correctly.
One of the most common oil-changing mistakes is not letting the new oil filter dry. When the new filter is put back on wet, it results in a poor seal that can lead to loose-fitting and leaky filters. After some time, the filter may even unthread itself, leaving your car’s oil all over your driveway. Always make sure to fill the filter about halfway with oil and then spread a tiny bit around the filter to ensure a perfect seal.
Tip #8: Get it in the engine.
Easier said than done for most oil-changing novices, ensure that all your oil goes into the engine – not on it. Ensuring you are using an effective funnel and pouring the oil at the correct angle will help with this. Always make sure to turn the spout so that it is at the top, over the funnel, and begin to pour slowly. This helps ensure air does not cause the oil to spurt and gurgle when being poured into the engine.
Tip #9: Dispose of old oil responsibly.
Used engine oil should always be disposed of properly and responsibly – no ifs, and, or buts. Not only is this better for the environment, but some states also have laws regarding how used oil must be disposed of. Many local auto shops may be able to take this oil off your hands, which ensures the oil is properly recycled.
Tip #10: Dipstick is key.
Your engine’s dipstick is important in your overall car’s maintenance and oil changes. Usually identifiable via a bright yellow ring, your dipstick tells you exactly what your engine’s oil level is. After pulling it out, wipe it off with a rag or cloth, then reinsert, this time pulling out and identifying the marking on the dipstick. It’s important to check your dipstick after every bottle of oil. Once your dipstick tells you your oil is at the appropriate level, be sure to check your dipstick again after a few miles of use. This will identify any potential oil leaks you may have.
What Could Go Wrong?
What could go wrong with my DIY oil change? There’s a reason why auto professionals are paid to do them. Many mistakes can occur when changing your own oil at home and should be considered before trying it yourself.
Some possible issues that may arise include:
- Not keeping track of mileage
- Using the wrong oil
- Not sealing oil filter properly
- Not changing the filter’s O-ring
- Over or underfilling oil.
Christian Brothers Automotive Oil Change
For over 30 years, the auto repair experts at Christian Brothers Automotive have offered quality care and maintenance services for your vehicle, including full-service oil changes. Whether your car is brand new or has hundreds of thousands of miles on the odometer, you can trust our professional and friendly experts to ensure it’s running at its absolute best and is well cared for.
When you decide to get an oil change from Christian Brothers Automotive, you also have access to:
- The highest-quality fluids and filters available
- Free vehicle courtesy check with every visit
- Comfortable and clean waiting areas
- Complimentary WIFI and beverages
Time for an oil change? Click here to find your local CBA shop and get scheduled today!