Changing Your Car's Oil: It's Easier Than You Might Think

car keys with a girly keyring on a desk next to a macbook

Oil in our cars plays a crucial role. It ensures that all the cars moving parts remain lubricated, that the engine is performing correctly and that you're getting accurate gas mileage. While I knew that changing oil in your car was something you needed to do, me being clueless I left mine far too long. I later found out I'd put my car at risk of failure, thankfully I got away with my lack of maintenance this time, but have vowed to be more careful in future! Admittedly, I didn't do this myself (luckily I have a boyfriend that knows about cars to do it for me) but I did take a look at the process, and I think it's something most people could do. Here's what you need to know about changing your oil. 

1. Always consult your manual
First things first, take a look in your car's manual. This will tell you when you need to change the oil and the best way to change it. It will tell you the amount that you need to fill the oil chambers to, which kind of oil you need and generally enables you to check what you're supposed to be doing for your particular car model. 

2. Position your car properly
For most cars, the oil cylinder is located under the bonnet, close to the engine. Always park your car on level ground when changing your oil- so no sloping driveways! In some cars you'll need a jack to gain access, or better still, two jacks for more stability. Make sure you're certain the car is secure, follow the instructions on the jack carefully so you don't risk it falling on you.

3. Drain the old oil
Leave the engine on for a few minutes to warm up the oil inside it. However, if the vehicle was already in motion recently, then give it a few minutes to cool it off. Hot oil could cause skin injuries, which is obviously something you have to avoid at all costs. Put a basin such as a washing up bowl underneath to catch the old oil, and open the oil plug (again, your manual will show you where this is). Give it around ten minutes for the whole batch to pour out. It's supposed to be brown, but mine was that old it had gone jet black looked terrible. Not good!

4. Replace everything
Once the old oil has been drained, remove the oil filter. When you're replacing this, ensure that you apply some new oil on it for extra lubrication. Close the oil plug and pour the new oil in from the top. Be careful about spilling any on the engine, smoke emissions once you start the engine are always going to be scary.

5. Start the engine
Before you start the engine, make sure that there are no leaks underneath. Use a dipstick to check oil levels, you'll have been shown how to do this when doing your driving lessons. Remove the stick, wipe it, dip it, and wipe it again. Read to see if the oil levels are up to the standard required for that vehicle. Start the engine to increase pressure ,and to make sure that everything is in its right place. 

Finally, put the drained oil inside a container and dispose of it at a gas station. They can recycle it, and they also know the best place to dispose of the oil. If you're as clueless as me, sites like http://MyFirstCarGuide.com can be helpful- or if you really don't want to deal with it yourself you can always have it serviced at a garage. 

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