Review these Oil change tips and some unique oil change advice from a mechanic in reference to changing engine oil yourself. Changing your own engine oil has some advantages over going to a quick lube center but it is not right for everybody.
The oil change service is a simple operation on some cars and harder than it should be on others. Either way it is very important to your vehicle's longevity and should be performed as recommended by the manufacturer whether it gets done at a repair shop or in the driveway.
The quick lubes are in the business of doing maintenance services extremely fast. This usually involves the mechanic rushing to complete it as soon as possible. Often these guys are timed and can be fired if slow.
You on the other hand can devote an hour to change your own engine oil. This will result in an outcome based on quality not speed. When you're lube, oil and filter service is done properly the engine will last longer and provide better trouble-free performance.
Not to mention the flexibility to use better quality materials if you choose to. Some lubricants claim and show proof that they can increase fuel economy for the life of the vehicle. The following oil change tips are things that I do myself on every oil change.
When you are changing engine oil you want to make sure that the engine is warm. Not hot and not cold. What I do is I will run the engine for about 20 minutes or take a trip to the local convenience store for a Slurpee, then put the vehicle in the oil change area.
I will then let the automobile set for another 20 minutes and allow the engine to cool. This also allows the engine oil and deposits to settle into the bottom of the oil pan. Allowing the engine oil to circulate before the service is a good idea because it can remove some last minute dirt.
Before I remove the drain plug I will pull out the engine oil dipstick and carefully feel the temperature of the dipstick and the dirty oil to make sure it's not too hot and not too cold. When the engine oil is cold it becomes thick and drains slowly. When it's hot it comes out fast but you run the risk of burning yourself and messing up the driveway with splashes.
When I am changing my own engine oil on my Chevy Blazer or even my wife's Toyota Corolla. I do not lift or raise the vehicle. The main reason for this is safety concerns and convenience.
The most dangerous part of being a do-it-yourself mechanic is lifting your vehicle in your driveway without the proper equipment and safety precautions. If you can avoid dragging out your floor jack and your jack stands and remain safe at the same time. You're much better off. On the two cars that I own lifting the vehicle is not necessary for changing the oil.
Yes I do have to lay on the ground and reach under the vehicle to access the drain plug and the oil filter, but it can be done. This may not be possible on all vehicles, but you should certainly take a look and see if you can reach the oil filter and the drain plug without raising the vehicle. If you can, this is the best way to go.
My third oil change advice to you is to have some patience and let the oil fully drain from the oil pan. After I remove my drain plug I allow the oil to drain for 20 minutes or sometimes even a half hour.
This is a good time to check and top off your fluid levels and perform a visual inspection of belts and hoses. The bulk of the oil comes out within a minute or two, but it will continue to drip from the drain plug area.
The dripping engine oil may be small in quantity, but has the highest concentration of dirt and debris. Because we have let the oil settle before we started the maintenance service most of the dirty oil and sediment has reached the very bottom of the oil pan. I have even been known to flush out the last of it by adding some fresh oil before installing the plug.
This is one of the main advantages of doing the oil change service yourself at home. Taking your time and doing the best possible job while at the same time, enjoying some quality time with the beloved automobile. I call my car Christine!
A quickly lube place that works on volume will often just drain the bulk of the oil and then jam the plug back in and refill the fluids. This method winds up leaving the dirtiest of the oil in the bottom of the pan.
The undesirable remnants of the old stuff are then mixed with the fresh oil and reduce the quality of the service. But since we are do it yourself mechanic's, we can take the extra time and allow the dirtiest of the engine oil to drain from our oil pan.
A bonus tip: Oil drain plugs get worn over time. This is an inexpensive little bolt that you might want to consider replacing. If it's to late and damage has occurred to the pan threads I put together an article about stripped drain plugs on my blog.
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