Changing your oil, of course. While there are many fluids in your car that
need to be changed regularly, the engine oil needs to be changed most frequently
and neglecting your oil changes can also be the most costly. At the very least,
take your car in for an oil change every 3000 miles if you are using bargain
services or every 5000 miles if you are paying for synthetic oil and premium
services. As a general rule, a basic oil change will be somewhere in the range
of 15 to 30 dollars while synthetic oil changes can start at 50 to 60 dollars
and go up from there.
While these are good options for being on the go or if your vehicle is
maintained under a fleet program, you can change your own oil using premium
synthetic oil for less than thirty dollars. Using synthetic oil has numerous
advantages, the foremost being that you can run that oil for longer before
changing it if you combine synthetic oil with a high quality oil filter.
First thing be sure to look at the weight of oil that your car requires. This
will be in the owner manual that came with the car and is sometimes printed on
the oil cap in the engine. This number will usually look something like xxW-xx
(e.g. 5W-30). Most passenger cars will take around four quarts and some trucks
will take more. When buying oil, try a good brand of synthetic oil like
Valvoline or Mobile One. Value synthetic oil tends to burn up, which could be
devastating if you run your engine without enough oil. Pair this with a high
quality oil filter such as Fram Extra Guard or Purloater PurOne. These filters
capture more particles than value filters. With these components you can safely
put 5000 to 8000 miles on one oil change, depending on the season (in Winter oil
needs to be changed more frequently).
Additionally you can use oil additives to improve the lifespan of your
engine, as well as potentially improving your driving quality and gas mileage. I
personally recommend conventional Lucas. This is a product you can find at a
major retail store or auto parts store. Adding 1/4 quart in to your winter oil or 1/2
quart to your summer oil is a great way to slow oil leaks and improve your performance.
Lucas in short helps prevent the wear that comes from starting
your car. If your car is older or has more than 75000 miles, try using an oil
flush product. This is simply something you add to your oil, run the car at idle
for five minutes, then you turn off the car and drain your oil out. These
products contain solvents that pull deep seated grime out of your engine.
To change your oil you are best suited finding a video online that is
specific for your car. Generally the top oil cap is visible on top of the engine
and the bottom drain plug is a horizontal bolt on a square pan below the engine.
Be sure to have a container ready to catch the oil, otherwise you will have
quite the mess on your garage floor. The oil filter location varies widely
depending on your car. Take that off by gripping it firmly with a rag or a
wrench and turning it counter clockwise. Save the oil that comes out of the car
and the filter because this can be recycled for free at a local automotive
establishment and is toxic to the environment if you just dump it. Also put some
new oil in the oil filter before you install it. Otherwise you will briefly
choke your oil flow when you first start the engine. Remember to check the
dipstick too, because this will have a high and a low notch on it. Take the
dipstick out, wipe it off, then put it back in. When you take it out again the
oil on the dipstick should come close to the top notch when your car has enough
oil in it.
After your oil is changes take your car out for a spin!