Keeping your car in tip-top shape can help prevent unneeded repair bills and unexpected trips to the mechanic. One often-neglected automobile maintenance item is the oil change. Oil changes are easy, relatively inexpensive and a must-do item for proper car maintenance.
What Needs To Be Done:
Checking and changing your car's oil is a major part of responsible car ownership. Regular maintenance is the key to extending your automobile's lifespan and maintaining optimal performance.
Why Do It?
Your car's engine is complex and contains numerous moving parts. Oil is what lubricates these moving parts and keeps everything moving smoothly. In addition, engine oil contains additives. These additives need to be replenished by changing the oil so that it will continue to work as expected. Here is some information regarding the importance of changing your car's oil:
- Without oil, your engine would simply stop working.
- Oil quickly becomes dirty, and the dirt wears out engine parts.
- Changing the oil regularly can help extend the life of your car's engine, ensure that it runs optimally and obtain its maximum miles per gallon.
- Regular maintenance may help you save money in the long run by potentially lowering the frequency of engine problems
Every car manufacturer has a slightly different recommended oil change schedule. Consult your owner's manual or visit CheckYourNumber.org to find your car manufacturer's recommended oil change interval.
One factor to take into consideration is whether you are using synthetic oil, which can last longer, or conventional oil, which you may have to change more often. When your dealership or fast-lube service changes your oil, they will generally put a sticker on your window to tell you at what date or at what mileage—whichever comes first—you will be due for another oil change.
How To Do It:
According to Cars.com, car owners need to check their oil every few hundred miles by looking at the oil dip stick in the engine.
Step 1. Pop the hood.
Locate the oil dipstick and remove it. A graphic of an oil can usually marks its location.
Step. 2. Wipe off the dipstick and
You want to make sure to clean the oil off the dipstick with a rag, put it back in and remove it again.
Step 3. Determine the oil level.
The dipstick is marked to show at what level the oil is full. If the level of the oil is between the full and add marks, add one half-quart. If the oil level is at or below the add mark on the dip stick, add one quart of oil.
Step 4. Be careful not to overfill.
Too much oil will create an oil froth, making it more difficult for the oil to properly function.
Remove the dipstick.
Wipe the oil off the dipstick, reinsert it, remove it again and check the level.
Add oil if necessary.
Remember to pay a visit to a professional for an oil and filter change at the intervals suggested by the manufacturer or sooner (if your driving style dictates). While changing the oil and filter, be sure the technician checks your brakes, transmission, headlights, brake lights, back up light, belts and windshield wiper fluid. Most fast-lube establishments and car dealerships have a set protocol to check these items during an oil and filter change, but it never hurts to ask to make sure.
Need help remembering to change your oil? Sign up for Allstate's Maintenance Reminder.