Changing your oil regularly is required to keep your car’s engine running well. You need to make sure you use the right kind of oil as well as changing the oil at the right time. Your owner’s manual will tell you what type of oil to use and how often to change the oil. If you don’t have the owner’s manual, you can probably find an electronic version to download online.
Synthetic Oil vs Conventional
The first thing you need to decide is whether to use conventional oil or synthetic oil. According to ExxonMobil, synthetic oil is better for your car because it is more chemically stable and is slower to break down. It does not acidify or oxidize as quickly as conventional oil, and it keeps protecting your engine longer than conventional oil. Synthetic oils keep your engine cleaner, and they perform better at both high and low temperatures.
With synthetic oils, you can usually go longer between oil changes. For example, with some of the full synthetic motor oils in the Mobil 1 line, you can go up to 20,000 miles or one year between oil changes. However, if your car is under warranty, you must follow the manufacturer’s recommendations or you may void the warranty.
Most older cars need oil changes every 3,000 miles or three months, but newer cars may be able to go 5,000 to 7,500 miles between oil changes. If you use your car mostly for short trips or stop-and-go traffic, or if you tow a trailer with your vehicle, you should get oil changes more often.
Now that we’ve covered when to change your oil, let’s talk about how to change engine oil. It’s easy to take your car to the nearest quick oil change, but the cost can really add up. You can save quite a bit of money by doing your own oil changes. Follow these steps to change your engine oil.
How to Change Engine Oil
1. Jack it up and remove the undertray. First, you need to get the car up high enough so that you can see what you’re doing. Follow safety protocols when working with jacks. Make sure the car is secure before you get under it. Now, remove the plastic undertray that covers the underside of the engine.
2. Remove the plug and drain the oil. Set your oil drain pan under the drain plug and then remove the plug to drain the oil. Make sure the receptacle you use to catch the oil is big enough. There will probably be at least a gallon of oil.
3. Remove the old oil filter. Locate the oil filter. It’s shaped like a cylinder. Make sure the rubber O-ring comes off as well. It will prevent a proper seal on the new filter if it is left behind.
4. Replace drain plug and oil filter. Replace the drain plug and screw it in tightly, but not so tightly that you damage it. Apply a thin coat of oil to the rubber gasket at the top of your new oil filter and then install the filter. Don’t overtighten.
5. Add oil. First, replace the undertray and lower the car to the ground. Then add the amount of oil recommended by the manufacturer.
6. Check the oil. Use the dipstick to double-check that you have the correct amount of oil in the engine.
Maintaining your engine by changing the oil as recommended by the manufacturer will help your engine last longer. When you’re ready for a new used car, come visit Auto Action at one of our six locations. We have the perfect car for you in our extensive used car inventory.