Changing out a car's oil — according to the guys in white lab coats who designed the engine — is the key to a long and trouble-free life. Better even than super engine longevity is becoming mechanically familiar with one's automobile. Dropping out the oil and swapping the oil filter takes but about an hour, but can mark the beginning of a lasting friendship with your car's underbelly. You really don't want those underpaid malcontents at the local Meth-o-Lube laying hands on your hoopty anyway.
Changing Your Oil
A thin film of oil molecules is all that keeps moving parts from grinding themselves into overengineered scrap metal. Another equally important function of engine oil is to keep those same parts and the inside of the engine clean. Modern engine oil does a most excellent job at both tasks, but only for so long. Oil and filter can only contain and suspend so much crud and combustion by-product that, before long, the balance of lubrication shifts away from trouble free motoring and toward engine wear.
The best advice to follow concerning oil and filter changes comes from the folks who manufactured your vehicle. This same information is often in the owner's manual, as well as online. Here you'll also find how much and what type of engine oil to use. If all else fails, every 3000-5000 miles or three months is a general target. Remember that stop-and-go city driving or regular lead-footed behavior may qualify as "severe duty" when it comes to maintenance schedules. In these cases, more frequent maintenance may be required.
Stuff You Will Need
· Ramps or a jack and jackstands
· The biggest drip pan around
· Container to catch and store used oil
· Wrench for the drain plug
· New drain plug gasket
· Some manner of oil filter removal wrench
· Recommended oil and oil Filter
· Cheepo disposible gloves
· Rags, and lots of them
Go for a spirited drive to warm up the engine. Warm engine oil will drain faster and more completely. Support vehicle safely on jackstands or on ramps. Position the drain and drip pan to catch every last drop of oil. Pull the drain plug, being careful not to drop it into the drain pan. That's right ladies, I'm available.