Oil Change Tips: 7 Common Mistakes to Avoid
An oil change can stand out as a pivotal situation for your vehicle. Whether you take on the DIY path in car maintenance or find yourself in an emergency, oil changing is crucial. In those moments, you might end up committing mistakes in the process.
These mistakes may cause critical problems that can make the situation worse. The good news is that you can avoid them by taking note of each one. Today, we look at these oil change tips as we note the mistakes and their proper preventive measures.
Using the Wrong Viscosity Oil
One of the oil change mistakes you can avoid is using oil that has the wrong viscosity. Vehicles have different engines equipped on them. This also means they have different oil types that have varying degrees of viscosity.
When you put the wrong oil in the wrong engine, you will encounter engine problems. The oil protects the engine from wear and tear, letting you avoid engine breakdowns.
You should also take note of the type of fuel used by your vehicle. Diesel oil does not work the same as gasoline oil.
Putting Too Much or Too Little Oil
The good news for this problem is that you can remedy it with ease when you catch on with the signs. For one, adding too little oil would cause the engine to run hot from the friction and wear. You can remedy this by adding more oil.
If you add too much oil, you can drain out the excess through the drain plug. You may need to check the engine first to see if you have the right amount of oil. This would include cycling the engine and then checking the dipstick.
Another note when it comes to adding engine oil is to pay attention to the engine cap. Do not forget to reinstall it after removing it to fill the engine.
Not Warming the Engine Up
One thing you should note when changing the engine oil is to warm the engine up first. Doing so makes the process easier, with the oil having an easier time to flow. Remember that oil does not flow well when it is cold, making it take longer to drain it out.
To make sure it drains out well, consider starting your vehicle’s engine and have it run for 5-10 minutes. Once it is close to normal operating temperature, you can turn it off. Once you turn the engine off after that amount of time, the draining process should be easier.
During the time that the engine runs, better get your tools ready. This leads us to the next mistake.
Not Having the Tools Needed for Oil Change
Not preparing the needed tools can be quite a blunder that many would have. This is a common mistake that beginners often encounter. Forgetting your tools can make the whole process slower and messier.
When you compare this to various garages and service bays, they have their tools at the ready. What they would need for it is within arm’s reach. Keep this in mind as one of the tips to use on your regular oil change routine.
Using this thought process, make sure to have your tools nearby. This includes the tray or basin that drains the oil and the fresh batch of engine oil you would put on the engine.
Overtightening the Oil Drain Plug
When you finish draining, you need to be careful when tightening the oil drain plug. There are moments when you tighten up the drain nut and opt to make it tighter to avoid leaks. While it serves its purpose that way, it can prove disadvantageous in future oil changes.
Make sure not to overtighten it. Drain plugs with crush washers would tighten fine at 30-35 ft-lbs.
Those that don’t have it would be better off with 20-25 ft-lbs of force. Check your service manual for details.
Speaking of drain plugs, be careful when handling them. You might have a moment when you drop the drain plug by accident due to the heat.
Not Replacing the Drain Plug Gasket
There are situations when the drain plug gasket is a single-use type. Knowing if it is a single-use type or a reusable gasket can help you approach this matter. One way to know this is to check the material and see what you have.
A gasket with thicker plastic is a reusable type you can use every time you change the oil. In some cases, others would use copper washers or gaskets that deform when you tighten the drain plug. These types are only for single-use, and you will need to replace them.
The good thing about the copper washers is that you can replace them with ease. They do not cost a lot, and you can find them on sale at a local auto parts store.
Not Checking and Replacing the Oil Filter
Don’t forget to check the oil filter. If you skip out the filter change, you might end up damaging your engine. The filter keeps your engine oil clean and flowing as it goes through the engine to provide the needed protection for your components.
In this case, you have to conduct both the oil change and the filter change together. Use a quality filter for your car for better performance.
Keep These Oil Change Tips in Mind
With these oil change tips, you should be able to make your vehicle run in peak condition. You won’t experience engine problems and breakdowns with a clean engine. Consider caring for your engine and every aspect of your vehicle with these maintenance tips.
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