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How and When to Change Engine Oil

July 27, 2012

How and When to Change Engine Oil

By Jennifer Hulbert

Engine oil changes are activities that any driver must not neglect. This is because changing the oil increases the efficiency and lifespan of the engine more than any other maintenance activity. That being said, there are a few things that you have to take into account in order to know when to change the oil.

When changing the oil, you have to read the manufacturer’s directions because each type of car is different. These instructions will also guide you in oil selection. You’ll also find minor differences in procedure that accommodate varying uses, driving conditions and the like.

The most common instructions to follow when changing the oil is under normal driving conditions i.e. short trips, regular highway trips, occasional drives in dusty roads etc. All in all, you find that the normal duration you should change the oil in is between 3000 to 5000 miles. Sticking to a schedule is better than having to wait for signs like smoke because you do not have to unduly tax your engine.

The following is the general procedure that any driver should follow when changing the oil:

1. Start the engine and let it run for a few minutes. This is very important because the oil and impurities contained therein flow out more easily when they are warm. You may also need to park the car in an elevated place e.g. a ramp if the ground clearance is too low.

2. Look for and unscrew the engine oil fill cap since is the means by which the dirty oil will flow out. It goes without saying that you should have a bucket or drain pan placed underneath to avoid a mess. It also helps to have safety equipment like latex gloves, goggles, closed leather shoes etc. to avoid stains and injuries.

3. The next step cited in procedures of when to change oil is the installation and tightening of the oil drain plug with a new gasket in accordance to the manufacturer’s directions. You should then place the bucket or drain pan under the oil filter. Remove the filter, plus the gasket and wipe them down with a clean, absorbent cloth.

4. The next step is manual installation of the new oil filter gasket. You should first apply a thin film of new oil in the opening and screw it tightly on. After this is done, add the new oil into the tank, making sure that you follow the car manufacturer’s specifications on oil type, level, etc. This will allow you to prevent unnecessary wastages, when changing the oil.

5. At this stage in the directions of when to change oil, check the oil level using the change engine oil dipstick. The level should be a little ways above the full mark so as to accommodate the oil that will go into the filter.

6. The final step is screwing on the oil fill cap, starting the engine and letting it run for a few moments. This is to allow the new engine oil to circulate into all parts of the engine.

In a nutshell, changing the oil tends to be a very easy and necessary procedure that a driver should never neglect.

Service Plus Automotive is a family owned business since 1991. We are focused on providing the best possible customer service experience when servicing or repairing a customers vehicle. We strongly believe in customer education and regularly show the customer what needs repairing. We are very involved in various community activities and believe in giving back to the community who has supported us for almost 20 years. For more information, go to

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