Car Oil Changing Tips You Need to Observe

Fresh oil pouring into a car engine during a serviceChanging the oil of your car can be a dirty job, but it has to be done. Engine oil should be changed at least once in every six months. It is easy to do this task yourself if you want to avoid unnecessary costs. You should first assemble the requirements which include an auto funnel, the oil, a drain pan, a filter, wrench and a notebook with a pen for keeping date records. The following are tips to help you effectively change your engine oil.



Purchase the Correct Oil and Filter

It is important to check the car manual before you buy the oil that is specifically meant for the engine of your vehicle. The viscosity of oil differs, and the wrong one can adversely affect the functioning of your engine. For example, it is easy to damage the engine and reduce its performance. Additionally, different models of cars have varying filter recommendations which can be found in the manual.


Engine Temperature

Always make sure that before you change your oil, the engine is warm. If it is cold, ensure you start it to run for about 5-10 minutes. Besides, if the engine is overly hot, do not change the oil because you can get burned in the process. Give it about 30 minutes to cool.



Avoid working under a car which is only supported by a jack. This jeopardizes your safety because the strength of the jack is not very reliable. Therefore, it is important always to ensure that you use jack stands. Also, make sure that you wear gloves before starting the process. This is because you dealing with chemicals which may react with your skin.


How to know when you need to change your oil

Dark Oil

oil filterIt is important to check the oil on your engine every month using the dipstick. If you notice that the color has completely changed to black, this could be a sign that you need to change it as soon as possible. However, the dark color is not entirely in itself a reliable way to do it. This is because whenever the oil enters the engine, it tends to change color. A more reliable way is to check whether the darkness is unusual or it has become abnormally thick.

Strange Smells

If you notice that your engine is producing strange smell of oil, that is an indication that there is a problem. There three possible reasons for a strange smell: Firstly, it could be an oil leak or secondly; it is overheating or thirdly; the oil needs to be changed. The second and third explanations are already enough to make you change the oil to avoid damaging the engine.


Check the Smoke from your Exhaust Pipe

During the cold weather, it is quite easy to see the type of product leaving through the exhaust. If what you see is translucent vapor, then your oil is still in good condition. However, if you see smoke, it is a sign that you need to change it as soon as possible.

How Often Does My Car Need a Tune-up?

Every driver or car owner understands that their vehicle needs regular oil changes, but many aren’t sure when they need to take their vehicles for a tune-up. What’s a tune-up? Well, you’ve probably heard your auto mechanic talk about doing an oil change and replacing your car’s engine air filter and other additional items, haven’t you? If yes, then you have an idea what tune-up means. The aim of having a tune-up is not to fix problems in your car but instead serves as preventative maintenance for your vehicle’s engine.

A tune-up usually involves changing oil, replacing distributor caps, engine air filter, spark plugs, fuel filters, belts, tires, PCV valve, and spark plug wires. Before performing a tune-up, your mechanic will want to know why you think your vehicle needs it. On today’s vehicles, tune-ups are performed based on mileage. That means you out to refer to your manufacturer’s guide which indicates the mileage intervals within which to replace the respective parts. As mentioned, tune-ups are performed to prevent parts from failing before replacement. Waiting till your car parts fail can result in serious issues. Here are signs that your vehicle needs a tune-up.

A Clogged Engine Air Filter

Many drivers don’t realize that a clogged engine air filter affects acceleration and performance of a car. Over time, your car’s engine air filter gets dirty which is why you must change it after the recommended mileage. If you live in areas with a lot of soot in the air, you may need to replace your air filter sooner. Consider replacing your fuel filter and cabin air filter after every 15,000 miles.

Hard Starting

Hard starting is one of the most common problems car owners encounter. Perhaps you’ve already experienced it as well. One of the causes is usually bad spark plugs. Consider replacing your spark plugs after every 60,000 miles. The same applies to your PCV valve, timing belt, and spark plug wires. Any starting failure could be as a result of a problematic electronic component in your ignition system. When you experience any sign of hard starting, it’s time to take your car for servicing.

Sputtering or Stalling

You’ll notice this when you’re either driving uphill or accelerating. If this happens, that’s a sure indicator that your vehicle needs some tune-up. Sputtering or stalling is a sign that there’s buildup of grime and dirt in your emission system.

Illuminated Check Engine Light

You know that something is not right in your vehicle’s emissions control system when you see a signal in your check engine light. Of course, this will depend on the exact problem. However, it’s important to note that the problem can affect the performance of your engine which is why you shouldn’t ignore it. You better see your mechanic immediately to diagnose and fix a minor problem than wait until it’s bigger and costly.

Running Rough and Poor Fuel Mileage

If your engine is running rough, especially when accelerating or idling, there’s a problem with your fuel system or the ignition system You may experience the same problem when driving at any speed. You could as well be getting fewer miles out of a certain quantity of gallons of gas. When this happens, it’s a sign that your vehicle needs to be tuned. A sudden decrease in your vehicle’s fuel mileage is a sign that you need to see your mechanic.

Your vehicle owner’s manual should always be your starting point. It’s what you need to prevent most of the problems your vehicle is likely to face. Refer to the manual to see how often your vehicle’s systems and parts need maintenance.