Getting an oil change on your car according to the maintenance schedule specified in your vehicle’s owner’s manual is probably the single best thing you can do to maintain its longevity. Otherwise, in a very short time, you may have to say ‘goodbye’ to what may be your second largest investment.
However, all oil changes are not alike. And whether you do it yourself or have it done for you by a professional, the same rules will apply.
So how can you make sure that your vehicle gets the best possible oil change? Simply follow the tips outlined below.
1. Allow your vehicle’s engine to warm up fully. Once an engine is warmed up completely, all the dirt particles and contaminants that settled at the bottom of the oil pan when the engine was off get churned up and suspended in the oil. This will ensure that most of the contaminants get removed when the oil is drained. In other words, they will be drained out with the old oil.
2. Make sure the vehicle is level when the oil is being drained. This enables the old, dirty oil to drain out as completely as possible.
3. Examine the waste oil as it is draining into the pan – look and feel. Look for signs of contamination such as water because with every drain, water will settle at the bottom of the pan. Also, feel for bits of metal which could suggest internal engine problems. You may not have noticed the last time you took your car in for an oil change but a good mechanic normally will run his fingers through the oil while it is draining to ‘feel’ for grit, metal and other contaminants that signal possible engine problems.
4. Remove and inspect the old filter carefully. Most modern cars use a spin-on oil filter. Spin-on oil filters were invented in 1955 by Purolator, today, the supplier of high quality oil, air, cabin air, fuel and transmission filters as well as PCV valves and breathers to the North American aftermarket and car manufacturers. http://www.purolatorautofilters.net. Most important, when removing the filter, make sure that the gasket sealing ring comes off with the filter. If it does not, use your fingernail to pry it loose and remove it.
5. Now choose your new filter carefully. Select one that has been manufactured by a company widely known for the quality and efficiency of its filtration products like Purolator for example. Purolator has been in the business for the last 90 years since it introduced the first automotive filter in 1923.
“The performance of a filter is determined by its efficiency in capturing contaminants and its capacity to hold that debris,” said Kevin O’Dowd, spokesman for MANN+HUMMEL Purolator Filters. Purolator’s premium grade PureONE oil filter, for example, is 99.9 percent efficient and can hold up to 13 grams of debris, the equivalent of 31 standard size paper clips. Purolator Classic oil filter, on the other hand, according to O’Dowd, features a multi-fiber high-density media that holds back engine-damaging dirt and pollutants and is 97.5 percent efficient in capturing contaminants. Where applicable, both filters also feature an anti-drainback valve that protects against engine dry stars.
6. Install the filter properly. Make sure to coat the sealing ring with fresh motor oil and install it hand tight only. Purolator PureONE’s unique 100 percent grip control feature keeps fingers from slipping and makes installation trouble-free at any angle. Additionally, its PTFE-treated sealing gasket makes removal and installation easy and problem-free. Purolator Classic features an internally lubricated Nitrile gasket that makes filter removal easier.
7. Choose the correct grade of new oil. Oil is the lifeblood of the engine and choosing the appropriate grade will ensure proper performance. Refer to your owner’s manual for the correct service designation. It will be specified as an API (American Petroleum Institute) rating. If you happen to be working on a vehicle with a diesel engine, then remember it requires oil that is specifically formulated for diesel service and has a separate API rating. While there are pros and cons to using synthetic oil versus conventional oil, you can’t go wrong if you follow the recommendations in your owner’s manual.
8. Choose the correct viscosity or thickness of oil. It will vary by make and model of car and the climate in which the vehicle is operating. The viscosity of the oil will be specified in the owner’s manual as an SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) number. For example, a typical multi-grade oil is the 5W30. Choosing the proper thickness of oil can affect cold starting, engine protection and fuel economy. For example, 5W-30 oil chemically ‘acts’ like fairly thin 5 weight oil in cold weather to all for easier engine starts, yet ‘acts’ like thicker 30 weight oil when it’s hot to afford more protection under conditions in which you’d expect oil to get thinner as it gets hotter.
9. Use exactly the right amount of oil. Too much or too little can endanger the life of the vehicle’s engine parts one way or another. Over-filling can cause oil leaks and can damage engine seals and gaskets; having too little oil can cause friction and shorten engine life.
10. Invest a few dollars in buying a magnetic oil pan drain plug that can capture most of the potentially damaging metal particles that may collect in the oil pan.
A seemingly simple procedure like an oil change can potentially have major consequences for your car’s driving performance and longevity. So follow the rules and you will enjoy thousands of miles of driving pleasure.