Today we are going to dive under your car’s hood with you and get down to the nuts and bolts of car maintenance- we’re talking about the golden elixir of your engine – your car’s engine oil. Now when it comes to engine oil changes, we all know that they need to happen regularly. It can be a bit of an annoying and intimidating task, particularly for those who are less familiar with car maintenance. But you’d be surprised how straightforward and simple the whole process can be.
Before we roll up our sleeves, it’s crucial to grasp the significance of what your car oil really means to your car’s health and performance. Hence, the first pit stop on our journey today will be exploring the importance of regular oil changes and why this routine task is so vital for the longevity of your engine.
Once we’ve covered the ‘why’, we’ll shift gears to the ‘how’. We’ll break down the oil change process into manageable steps, so that you can master the skills needed for a DIY oil change. By the end of this, you’ll be able to perform an oil change like one of our seasoned mechanics. So, without further ado, let’s dive under the hood and get started!
The Lifeblood of Your Engine: Engine Oil
- 1. Keeping it Cool, Keeping it Smooth
Oil acts as a lubricant for all those moving metal parts in your engine, preventing friction and overheating. Without proper lubrication, parts can wear out prematurely, making your engine’s job harder than it needs to be. So, changing your oil regularly ensures that everything is moving smoothly and efficiently.
- 2. A Clean Machine
Over time, your oil collects all kinds of gunk – dust, dirt, even tiny metal shavings. This can cause damage to your engine, parts. Regular oil changes mean your engine, remains a clean machine, less susceptible to costly damages.
- 3. Better Performance and Fuel Efficiency
A well-lubricated engine performs better. It improves your car’s fuel efficiency because the smoother the ride, the less the engine has to work, and the less fuel you burn. Regular oil changes can improve your gas mileage by 1-2%.
- 4. Longevity of Your Car
Regular oil changes help prolong your car’s lifespan. By reducing wear and tear, keeping your engine clean, and maintaining efficient operation, you’re effectively preserving your investment for years, if not decades, to come.
- 5. Environmentally Friendly
Old oil is full of contaminants. When it’s not changed regularly, it can lead to increased emissions, which is harmful to the environment. Proper disposal of old oil is also vital – you can’t just dump it down the drain. Most service shops recycle the oil, ensuring it doesn’t harm the environment.
The big question that always pops up is, “How often should you change your oil?” Well, several factors come into play, like your car model, driving habits, and the conditions in which you’re driving. However, a good rule of thumb is every 5,000 to 8,000 kilometers, or typically every three months, whichever comes first.
But what about the cost of an oil change? Well the cost of an oil change can vary due to several factors such as the type and quantity of oil, the quality of the oil filter, labor costs, etc. With that being said, doing it yourself can save a pretty penny. It’s not as complicated as you might think, and with a little time and patience, you can easily learn the ropes. So, how long does an oil change take when doing it yourself? On average, set aside about 45 minutes to an hour to ensure you’re not rushing the process.
So, are you ready to get your hands dirty? Let’s talk about the DIY oil change process.
DIY: Changing Your Own Car Oil
Before we start, you need the right tools. Grab some engine oil, a new oil filter, a wrench set, oil filter wrench, oil catch pan, funnel, gloves, safety glasses, jack stands or ramps, and some shop rags or paper towels. Make sure to consult your owner’s manual or do some research online to determine exactly how much oil you’ll need and the type of oil filter for your specific vehicle.
Step 1: Prepare Your Vehicle
Park your vehicle on a flat, stable surface and engage the parking brake. If necessary, raise the front of the car using a jack and secure it with jack stands or ramps. Remember, safety is paramount, so ensure the car is completely stable before you slide under it.
Step 2: Drain the Old Oil
Locate the oil drain plug beneath your engine and place your oil catch pan beneath it. Using gloves and safety glasses, loosen the plug with a wrench, then remove it by hand. Let the old oil drain out into the pan, but be careful, it could be hot.
Step 3: Remove the Old Oil Filter
While the oil is draining, find the oil filter. Use an oil filter wrench to loosen and remove it. Remember, it will probably be full of old oil, so have your catch pan ready to catch any spillage.
Step 4: Install the New Oil Filter
Before you install the new filter, dab some fresh oil on the gasket on the top. This helps to create a proper seal and makes removal easier next time. Screw the new filter in place as tightly as you can by hand. Generally, you don’t need to use a wrench to tighten the new filter.
Step 5: Replace the Drain Plug and Add New Oil
After the oil has drained completely, replace the drain plug and tighten it using your wrench. Be cautious not to over-tighten. Now, place your funnel over the oil fill hole on top of your engine and slowly pour in the new oil. Your vehicle’s manual should indicate the correct amount.
Step 6: Check Oil Level
After you’ve filled the engine with oil, pull out the dipstick, wipe it clean, then push it back in. Pull it out again and look at the oil level. Ideally, it should be between the two marks. If it’s low, add a bit more oil.
Step 7: Dispose of Your Old Oil Properly
Remember, never pour oil down the drain or into the trash. Transfer the old oil from the catch pan to a sealable container and take it to a recycling center or auto shop that accepts used oil.
A few tips and tricks can make the oil change process smoother. For instance, if the oil filter or drain plug is stuck, a screwdriver or a gentle tap on the wrench can provide the leverage or impact needed to loosen it. Take your time, letting the oil drain completely, and wear old clothes because oil changes can get messy!
As we close the hood on this topic, remember that our professional mechanics are always here to lend a hand if you need it. Car maintenance is not just about saving a few bucks on the cost of an oil change; it’s also about ensuring that the job is done right for the sake of your safety and the longevity of your ride.
Performing an oil change can seem like an intimidating task, but with a little patience and attention to detail, it can be a satisfying DIY project that saves money and extends the life of your car. So, whether you are in for a quick express oil change or prefer to roll up your sleeves for a DIY oil change, the choice is yours. But remember, regular oil changes are essential to keep your ride purring for miles and years to come.
And if you’re ever in need of professional assistance or simply want to save time, our doors are always open for you. Our experienced mechanics are ready to perform an express oil change to get you back on the road swiftly and safely. So, if you’re in or around Oakville and your car is due for an oil change, feel free to swing by. We’re here to keep your ride running smooth and your journey enjoyable.