Engine oil plays a critical role in a car's operation. It lubricates the engine's parts, minimizing friction and reducing heat. Over time, engine oil degrades and accumulates dirt, reducing its efficiency and potentially damaging the engine.
That's where regular oil changes come into play, helping maintain your vehicle's health and extend its lifespan. Most car owners understand the importance of regular oil changes, but not everyone is familiar with the actual process.
Here's what that process might look like.
Step 1: Preparation
First, gather all necessary tools and materials. You'll need new engine oil, an oil filter, an oil filter wrench, an oil drain pan, a socket set, and a funnel. Make sure to consult your vehicle's manual to purchase the correct oil and filter for your specific make and model.
Step 2: Drain the Old Oil
Start your vehicle and let it run for a few minutes. This warms up the oil, allowing it to drain more easily. Then, turn off your vehicle and locate the oil drain plug underneath. This is typically on the underside of the engine's oil pan.
Place your oil drain pan underneath the plug, then use your socket set to unscrew the plug. Let the old oil drain into the pan. Be aware that the oil could be hot.
Step 3: Replace the Oil Filter
While the oil is draining, it's time to replace the oil filter. Locate the filter and use your oil filter wrench to remove it.
Before installing the new filter, apply some new oil to the gasket on the top of the filter. This helps ensure a tight seal. Then, screw the new filter into place.
Step 4: Refill the Oil
Once the old oil is gone, replace the drain plug. Remove the oil filler cap from the top of the engine, place your funnel, and pour in the new oil slowly.
Step 5: Check the Oil Level
After you've added the recommended amount of oil, check the oil level by using the vehicle's dipstick.
Step 6: Dispose of the Old Oil
Finally, responsibly dispose of the old oil by taking it to an auto parts store or a recycling facility.
Visit an Auto Repair Professional
If you don't have the time or expertise to do an oil change yourself, take your vehicle to a professional auto repair shop for an oil change. A technician can perform the oil change quickly and safely, ensuring your vehicle is running smoothly.