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How Do I Change The Oil In My Car???

Answers:1   |   LastAnswerAt:2011.03  

Asked at 2011.03.24 00:36:57
What am I looking for underneath the vehicle in order to change the oil and filter out? I'm tired of just pouring a bottle of oil into the engine under the hood and not actually changing it from the bottom of the car!!!!!! What knobs or whatever do I look for, how is this done???? I know that is a simple thing but I dont know how and I'm sure that its someone out there who does, I want to be one of those who does!!!!!!!!!!!
answer jdm  Answered at 2011.03.24 00:36:57
It's good that you're taking a pro-active approach to maintaining your car. You should first start by grabbing a repair manual, like Hayne's or Chilton's. I prefer Hayne's, but they're both good and cheap. It'll detail every procedure in there, from checking tire pressure to overhauling your engine. It will surely have the best description of changing your oil as well.

When you go underneathe of your car, on the bottom of the engine is the oil pan. As other people mentioned, it has a bolt in it that's the plug. Make sure you have a pan out, remove the plug and let the oil drain. I prefer to do this when the oil is cooled off though, as A) it won't burn you and B) it's all settled back into the oil pan insead of still on the engine parts themselves.

Some cars have the filters hanging off of the bottom or out of the side. My Ford truck hangs out the driver side of the engine, my old Chevy car has is in the back of the engine and hanging down on the driver side and my Nissan car has it mounted between the firewall (wall between engine and interior) and the engine, facing the back of the car. It take some manuevering, but once I did it the first time, it becomes cake. Just be ready, depending on how it's oriented, it may spill some oil.

Your oil filter should come off by hand, although it may need some coaxing with an oil filter wrench ($5). Make sure that when you put it back on, you A) lubricate the rubber gasket with some oil and B) tighten it only by hand...this is not a thread you want to strip. Ditto with the oil plug. Turn it hand tight, and then 1/4 past that with the wrench.

Fill your car's engine up with the proper amount of oil. Note the date and the mileage, and repeat the procedure in 3,000 miles or 3 months, whichever comes first. If you keep solid documentation of all repairs, and especially oil changes, the added confidence that you maintained the car well may help out when it comes time to sell your car.

Try to change your oil filter everytime, and at every fourth oil change, swap out your old air filter as well.

Oh, and for what it's worth. Yes, sometimes the quick change places are helpful, however, in my experience, it becomes more expensive and even chance-ey. One time my brother took his truck there, and through some weird miscommunication, they ended up only putting in 2 quarts of oil. It was almost too late when we realized it. Also, they'll try and push the synthetics on you...there's no need for them in a lot of cases, but that's your call. Just be aware that they're pricier.
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