Oil change is an important maintenance service you have to do regularly for your car to decrease and eliminate any filth that has accumulated in your engine. As sludge is a regular occurrence in vehicles it’s the oil changes that keep the engines running efficiently by keeping it clean. For the most part, changing your oil is a straightforward job, but there are a few oil change tips you should always keep in mind. Always cool down oil before changing if you don’t want to suffer burns by letting your vehicle sit for a while before the oil changes and use the right drain pan to protect you, your family and the environment from any oil spill. Also don’t leave the filter seal dry by applying a bit of fresh oil if you don’t want leaks, but never overly tighten the plug that it would be impossible to open it, follow oil weights as specified and required by the car manufacturer, among others.
You can always use some oil change tips — as straightforward of a procedure it may seem — most especially if you are attempting to do it yourself for the first time. Even if you’ve been doing the oil change yourself for a long time there’s always room for improvement. We will discuss the do’s and the don’t of oil change in this article.
How long should I let my car cool down before changing oil?
Changing the oil when it's warm is often preferred as it flows better and comes out faster. And when the oil is cold, it's more viscous (it's thicker), so it drains out more slowly. But if you don't let it cool before changing it, it might cause significant burns. If the engine is cold, start it and run it for 2-3 minutes to speed up the oil change process. The oil will be heated to around 100 degrees, which is not hot enough to burn you but hot enough to flow readily. Allow 20-30 minutes for the car to cool before draining the oil if it has been driven. Wear rubber gloves and have plenty of clean towels on hand to swiftly wipe up any oil that drips on your hands.
Oil Change Tips To Go By
- Always use a drain pan
The job will be considerably easier if you have a nice drain pan. Open type, semi-open with drain, fully closed with drain (from left to right). You should have enough sense not to pour that awful dirty oil or any oil down the drain. And to do that you'll need a drain pan to drain the oil safely and securely while also protecting the environment.
Drain pans come in a variety of styles, including open top, funnel-top with drain spout, and semi-open with drain spout. The funnel-top is the optimum type because the oil is completely covered and leaking is unlikely.
- Don’t forget the protective gears
It is critical to have the proper protective gear and materials when changing your oil at home to ensure a safe, clean, and stress-free oil change. It's a good idea to put on rubber gloves. Oil stains are no one's friend, whether you're working in your garage or on the driveway. When performing an oil change, keep some oil-dry on hand. Also, to protect your driveway from ugly spills, we recommend laying a tarp, old shower curtain, or something similar underneath the oil pan. When you're through, wipe it down and fold it up to save for later.
- Use a good wrench
Oil filters are notoriously difficult to remove, especially if your hands are soiled. You'll also find a variety of tools to assist you with your oil change at your local auto store. We adore oil change gear that can assist you in removing any stubborn oil filters. There are a range of types and configurations to match your demands and budget, from clamp-style to 3-jaw adjustable wrenches.
- Make sure to effectively seal the filter
Make sure you wipe a little oil on the seal after you've filled the filter with oil. One of our oil change tips is to not leave the filter seal dry, which is a common mistake made by inexperienced oil changers. As a result, filters become loose and leaky. The filter will eventually unthread, spilling the oil — the engine's lifeblood on the ground. The motor oil will also keep the gasket from sticking and leaking oil. Before installing the filter, fill it halfway with oil and spread a bit around the filter seal.
- Plug it tight
Always double-check that the plug is properly tightened. The standard spec is 25 foot pounds. You must reinstall the plug before pouring the oil into the engine. Make sure the gasket stays in place if one is present. Remove any sludge from the magnetic tip, then re-thread the plug into the oil pan and tighten it. Check the spec for your car and use a torque wrench if you're not sure. The standard spec is 25 foot-pounds-pounds.
- Pouring the oil right
Use a funnel and make sure you're holding the bottle correctly. The spout should be placed at the top of the bottle rather than at the bottom. The oil will not churn as a result of this. Pouring oil may appear to be a simple task, but for the newbie, getting more oil in the engine than on the can be a difficult task. The natural instinct is to hold the bottle with the spout at the bottom, however this will always result in gurgles and spurts. Instead, position the spout at the top of the bottle and pour slowly.
The oil will stream out of the bottom of the spout while air enters the bottle from the top, allowing for a lovely, simple pour. Turn the bottle sideways if you're using a gallon jug. This is also useful for anti-freeze.
- Follow oil specifications like the oil weight
Another one of the oil change tips is to always follow the specifications on the filler cap or under the hood spec sticker for the right oil. There are specified oil weights for each engine that should be used in that engine. The weight is printed on the oil fill cap under the hood in most modern cars, however it varies by make and model. If not, there may be a little tag on your engine that specifies what it needs.
Older, higher-mileage engines usually require a step heavier oil. There are specified oil weights that should be used in that engine. This is dependent on the make and model. The weight (5w-30, 10w-30, etc.) is printed on the oil fill cap under the hood in most modern cars, although it is also listed on the spec sticker under the hood in others.
- Dispose the dirty oil responsibly
This is where having a closed drain pan with a drain comes in handy. It's a lot easier to pour the old oil back into the bottles for disposal. It is necessary to properly dispose of used engine oil. Not only is it better for the environment, but it also complies with state and local regulations on the disposal of old oil.
- Follow oil change schedule
Don't rely on the amount of oil you put in; always check the dipstick. Always examine your owner's manual for the correct amount of oil that the engine requires to fill the crankcase and follow the schedule. You don’t want to suffer the consequences of not having that oil changed on time.
To verify that you have the appropriate amount of oil in the engine, check the oil level after pouring the second to last bottle into the engine, and then check it again after the last bottle. After a few miles, check the oil level (as well as for leaks) to ensure that everything is still in working order.
- Be critical of how your local garage can upsell doing an oil change
This is another one of the very important oil change tips not often talked about. Unfortunately, to get you in the door, many local fast lube joints price oil changes at an extremely low, occasionally negative profit margin. They then proceed to charge you for the higher-margin air filter and transmission work, to gain profit. And most of the time you may not really need the upgrade or the repair. So do not readily give expensive services a go and look for second opinions most especially if a lot of money is involved.
Keep track of when you last had those items done, as well as what defines a good, acceptable, or bad condition for these various parts and systems. Keep an eye out for air filters and lights, as these are simple to install and can cost a lot less if purchased from a parts store. Wait a few days if there is something important that needs to be done that you can't accomplish yourself. Get quotations from a few other places and you should be able to save a significant amount of money.
- Look for best Oil Change deals
For something as simple as an oil change, you don't need to be a repeat customer. Keep an eye out for the greatest deal as you can occasionally find them for as little as $15.00. You can either change the oil yourself or have someone else to do it for you. The initial investment in equipment is what really moves the needle in favor of letting someone else handle it, at least financially. That is because initially you will have to invest in a drain pan, a filter wrench or even vehicle ramps in the first year, which could add $55 to your expenses.
Should I let my oil drain overnight?
It's probably not necessary to leave it out overnight, but it won't hurt. It's a slim chance that a foreign object could go into the pan and contaminate it while it's exposed to the air. Even after an overnight drain, a tiny amount of unclean engine oil would still most likely stay stuck in the engine. Just drain out whatever comes out easily is a solid rule of thumb. As long as it's 80-90 percent of the original oil, any remnants will be diluted 5-10 times by the fresh oil.
Is it OK to change oil once a year?
Many modern vehicles can now go at least 7,500 to more than 10,000 miles between oil changes, with them already using synthetic oil or a blend of synthetic and conventional oils which allows them to maintain their lubricating properties longer.
Many late-model vehicles also come equipped with oil life monitors signalling when it's time for an oil change in accordance to how the car is driven and not only based on mileage or time. For those vehicles driven at only 6,000 miles or less per year, manufacturers typically recommend changing the oil once a year.
Is changing your own oil cheaper?
No. It is not less expensive to change your own oil. It is, in fact, more expensive. However, the small details, such as knowing exactly what's in your car and having the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself, make DIY oil changes well worth the time, money, and effort.
Changing your own oil is a terrific way to stay in touch with the health of your vehicle. Because you can see what's beneath the hood and under the engine, you can spot possible problems before they become a significant problem. At the end of the day one of the great oil change tips you must follow is on your vehicle owner’s manual. Always follow manufacturer's recommendations and everything should be on track with your vehicle.
It's critical to double-check your manufacturer's specifications on everything from the sort of oil needed to the quantity or blend. If you use the improper oil in your car, for example, you may experience less lubrication and a shorter engine lifespan. Take the time to find out exactly what your car requires.