Do Your Own Oil Change

Preparing for Your Oil Change Never change your oil while the engine is hot! Let it cool for a few hours as oil can burn you badly. ​Caution! If you drove your car recently, your oil could be very hot. When your engine is warmed up, your engine oil can be as hot as 250 degrees! Allow at least two hours for your oil to cool before you start your oil change. Oil burns are very dangerous. Be sure you have a safe area to do your oil change. Level, solid ground is a must so that you can safely jack up your car. Consider putting something on the driveway or garage floor underneath the engine in case you spill. Cardboard or a piece of plywood are great for this. Before you even start to do your oil change, be sure you have everything you need to get the job done. What You'll Need Ratchet or open end wrench Oil filter wrench Oil catch/recycle container Funnel New oil filter New oil Clean rag Draining the Old Oil The first step in preparing your vehicle for an oil change is to get the old stuff out of there. The oil drains out of the oil pan at the very bottom of your engine. The oil is held in by a drain plug that looks like a big bolt at the bottom of the pan. Catching the Oil For Recycling Before you remove the oil drain plug, be sure that your recycling container is positioned underneath the oil drain. An oil change is no fun if most of your time is spent cleaning up oil. When you remove the drain plug, let it drop into the top of the recycling container. There's a screen on top that will keep it from dropping into the muck. Let all of the oil drain out, then replace the drain plug, tightening it to your cars torque specifications (or "snug but not too hard" if you are sans torque wrench.) Put the cap on the oil recycling container so you can drop it off at a location that accepts used oil -- most full service gas stations accept it. Remove the Old Oil Filter Next, you need to remove your old oil filter. Using an oil filter wrench, turn the filter counterclockwise until it's free. Be careful with it, it's still full of old oil that can spill and make a mess. Some oil filters can be reached from the...

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Why is quality motor oil important?

Changing your car's oil at regular intervals isn't just a good idea -- it's a vital part of keeping your car's engine running properly. The purpose of engine oil is to keep the internal parts of your car's engine lubricated and cool. It keeps the moving parts from grinding against each other causing wear and damage. Without frequent oil changes, dirt and sludge can build up in the engine, and old, dirty oil won't lubricate the moving parts as well as new, fresh oil will. Dirty oil leads to serious damage, and if things get bad enough, there may be an engine replacement in your future. Fortunately, changing your oil is a simple and relatively inexpensive procedure. Depending on what kind of vehicle you have, you can get your oil changed at a lube shop or dealership every 3,000 to 5,000 miles (4,828 to 8,047 kilometers). It's not hard to change the oil yourself, either. But what are you supposed to say when you get to the counter at the lube shop and the mechanic asks you, "What kind of oil do you want?" Of course, you'll want to use the weight of oil recommended in your owner's manual, but what brand should you use? Should you choose mineral oil, a blended oil or a synthetic oil? Is there really any difference between a quality motor oil and a less expensive brand? In this article, we'll look at why it's important to invest in good oil, and how high-quality motor oil will keep your engine running. Up next, let's talk about motor oil ratings. When you're considering a type of oil to purchase, look for the "starburst" and "donut" seals from the American Petroleum Institute (API) on the bottle. These identify that the oil meets the API's service standards, and will help keep you away from the lower quality oils. The API's current highest rating for motor oil is SM. This oil is intended for all gasoline engines currently in use and has been the standard since 2004. For diesel engines, the current top oil rating is CI-4. In the API's words, SM oils are "designed to provide improved oxidation resistance, improved deposit protection, better wear protection, and better low-temperature performance over the life of the oil". Older types of motor oil (category SA thru SH) are considered obsolete but are often still on the market. Customers who don't know any better may inadvertently purchase these oils....

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Synthetic vs. Conventional Motor Oil

The next time you walk in to your local shop to get your oil changed and the service attendant asks you synthetic or regular? You just might have to think twice before you answer...for the sake of your wallet, and yes, the environment too! First off, synthetic oil is better than conventional oil when it comes to its form and function. Conventional oil could never stand up to synthetic when it comes to longevity and ability to handle extreme high temperatures without breaking down. But all this advanced technology doesn't come cheap. A synthetic oil change can cost over twice as much as conventional oil...but is it worth it beyond its obvious better performance characteristics? This is not exactly a straight yes or no answer to go along with this question as there are several variables to consider, but in general, most experts would agree that synthetic is (for now) the lesser of the two evils. Their logic stems from the fact that while conventional oil is evil because it is derived from petroleum, synthetics are unfortunately formed by chemicals that are no less harmful to the environment... but there is a difference here. Synthetics can last as much as three times longer than conventional oil, which means that you could be dumping less than 15 to 24 quarts of oil per year. This is of course assuming that you are not recycling your used oil, because if you are, at least a good portion of this oil should be getting reused, but it is quite an extensive process to filter used oil for reuse...so the question still remains, which is better? For your pocket book, there is not much of a difference if you allow your oil change cycles to last longer with synthetic. There is a debate on when you should change your oil, because the age old consensus has always been every 3 months or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first. With todays technology, synthetics are cleaner and meaner (just not necessarily any greener). Their composition is much cleaner, because it is derived in a laboratory rather than nature, and it has been proven to have a lower volatility and therefore not vaporize out the exhaust as quickly. Synthetics have also been shown to produce less resistance in the engine and therefore offer more horsepower and overall efficiency for the engine. This added horsepower in return means that the engine will be able to perform at...

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How To Pick The Right Motor Oil

Choosing the correct motor oil for your car might seem daunting but the best way to start is by checking your owners manual for your car manufacturers suggested oil weight. Adjust this weight based on the weather (more on that later) and then start choosing a specific motor oil brand by checking out the starburst symbol that indicates the oil has been tested and meets the standards of the American Petroleum Institute (API). In addition, there's a 2-character service designation on the container. API's latest service standard is "SL." SL refers to a group of laboratory and engine tests, including the latest series for control of high-temperature deposits. Your third task is to pick the viscosity (thickness) that's suitable for the temperatures your vehicle normally operates in (check your owners manual), and you're done. Well, not quite. There's a whole lot more to the story than that. Understand the Labels These are the labels you'll find on every container of reputable motor oil. The API donut on the right tells you if the oil meets the current SL service rating (C for diesel engines). It also provides the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) viscosity number and tells you if the oil has passed the Energy Conserving test. The starburst symbol on the left indicates that the oil has passed the tests listed for SL service. Is oil really the lifeblood of an engine? That's a long-popular analogy, but it's really not an accurate description. Blood carries nutrients to cells, but it's air that carries fuel—the "nutrition"—for an engine. However, without oil to lubricate and cool moving parts, keep them clean and help to seal the pistons in the cylinders, the engine would run for only a matter of seconds, then sieze. So, yes, oil is important. Oil is so important that we want no less than the best the engine can get—for a good low price, of course. Now, what if you could custom-blend the oil so it had exactly the characteristics you believe that your vehicle needs for the type of driving you do? Sounds pretty neat, and we were given the opportunity to do just that at the Valvoline lab in Lexington, Ky. When we were finished, we had an oil we thought would be just right for upcoming summer weather in short-trip driving around the New York City area. That was our one shot at playing lubricant scientist, but the experience produced only...

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Types of Motor Oil and Recommended Use

Motor oil can be segmented into four basic varieties—synthetic oil, synthetic blends, high mileage oil, and conventional oil. Synthetic Motor Oil Synthetic motor oil has gone through a chemically engineered process. Synthetic oil molecules are more uniform in shape with fewer impurities and better properties than conventional oil molecules. In general, synthetic oil has better extreme high temperature and low temperature performance. Synthetic oils are generally formulated with higher performing additives. Synthetic Blend Motor Oil Synthetic blend motor oil uses a mixture of synthetic and conventional base oils for added resistance to oxidation (compared to conventional oil) and provide excellent low-temperature properties. High-Mileage Motor Oil High-mileage motor oil is specially formulated for late model vehicles or newer vehicles with over 75,000 miles. High mileage motor oil, with its unique additives and formulation, helps to reduce oil burn-off, and helps prevent oil leaks that may occur in older engines. Conventional Motor Oil Conventional motor oils can be formulated in a range of viscosity grades and quality levels. Conventional motor oil is recommended for drivers with simple engine designs and regular (as opposed to severe) driving styles. Motor Oil Grade Designations Motor oils use a rating system developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), to classify oil by viscosity. Viscosity is a fluid's resistance to flow. Fluids that are thin (like water) have a low viscosity, and fluids that are thick (like honey) have a high viscosity. Motor oil also changes in viscosity measurement as it is heated or cooled. Multi-grade viscosity motor oils are able to perform at a wide range of temperatures. For an SAE 0W-20 oil, the “0” is the cold-temperature viscosity rating (the "W" stands for "Winter"), and the “20” is the high temperature viscosity rating. Multigrade viscosity motor oil flows well at low temperatures, but still protects the engine at high temperatures. For comparison’s sake, SAE 5W-30 and SAE 0W-30 will flow better at colder temperatures than SAE 10W-30, while still providing protection at higher temperatures. Always follow the vehicle owner's manual to determine the correct motor oil specification, viscosity grade, and oil drain interval for your engine. The API/ILSAC “Starburst” This symbol is shown on quality motor oils that meet current minimum industry requirements. API is an acronym for the American Petroleum Institute. The institute’s Starburst stamp of approval—“American Petroleum Institute Certified”—was created to help consumers identify engine oils that meet minimum performance standards set by vehicle and engine manufacturers. The Starburst identifies engine oils recommended for a certain application, such...

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8 Best Motor Oils for Your Car Engine in 2018

You would think that, much like cooking oil, motor oil would be a relatively simple thing — not so. We aren't going to inundate you with technical geekery, nor will we give you a chemistry lesson on the functions of friction modifiers. Thankfully, our friends over at Popular Mechanics already have that covered. Once you've narrowed down what viscosity your car requires (that fun 5W30, 15W40, etc. number), and whether it's been running a synthetic oil or not, you're then down to choosing the quantity required for your car and, more importantly, the brand. Each of these top-tier brands spend a great deal of time and resources testing their motor oils, and experimenting with different additives in order to ensure that their oil protects your engine for as long as possible. We have heard numerous stories over the years from incredibly brand-loyal motorists who swear by their choice, often touting the hundreds of thousands of miles they've covered without suffering from engine failure. So we have to ask — what's in the secret sauce? Valvoline Motor Oil Dr. John Ellis, Valvoline's founder, is actually credited as being the inventor of motor oil, so to say the brand has some history would be a bit of an understatement. Starting with steam engines, and then supplying motor oil for the Model T, was just the beginning. Now Valvoline splits its focus between extensive development of oils designed for high-mileage engines, as well as an ongoing support of motorsport. On the high-mileage front, Valvoline is one of the few automakers offering an interesting engine guarantee. If your engine has 125,000 miles or less on it, you can register your vehicle for a program, which, based on a set of entry requirements, will mean Valvoline will provide your engine with a bit of a warranty as long as you follow their oil-service guidelines. Total Motor Oil Total motor oil is far more common in Europe than they are in the U.S., however the brand has been making great strides to ensure the American public becomes familiar with their name as well as their reputation. They've recently become the primary sponsor of the International Motor Sports Association racing series (formerly known as Grand-Am racing). Anyone who follows motorsports outside the U.S. will be vastly more familiar with Total. The brand has been the sponsor of Red Bull's Formula 1 racing team since 2009 (including the 2013 series where Red Bull took home...

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