OIL LEVEL CHECK
Checking the engine oil level at every full tank fuel stop is probably a good habit to have. Check the engine oil as follows:
- Park the car on a level surface.
- The engine may be either hot or cold when checking oil level. However, if it is hot, wait for a few minutes after the engine has been shut off to allow the oil to drain back into the crankcase. If the engine is cold, do not start it before checking the oil level.
- Open the hood and locate the dipstick. Pull the dipstick from its tube, wipe it clean, and reinsert it.
- Pull the dipstick again and, holding it horizontally, read the oil level. The oil should be between the top and add mark. If the oil is below the add mark, add oil of the proper viscosity through the capped opening of the valve cover.
The dipstick may have a reading of 3.5 max. on it. That figure is the oil pan capacity in liters.
- Insert the dipstick, and check the level again after adding any oil. Be careful not to overfill the crankcase. Approximately one quart of oil will raise the level from the low mark to the high mark. Excess oil will generally be consumed at an accelerated rate even if no damage to the engine seals occurs.
OIL AND FILTER CHANGE
Oil changes should be performed at intervals as described in your owners manual. However, it is a good idea to change the oil and oil filter at least twice a year, and to change the filter each time the oil is changed. If your car is being used under dusty conditions, change the oil and filter sooner. The same thing goes for cars being driven in stop and go city traffic, where acid and sludge buildup is a problem. The oil should also be changed more frequently in cars which are constantly driven at high speeds on expressways. The relatively high engine speeds associated with turnpike driving mean higher operating temperatures and a greater instance of oil foaming.
Always drain the oil after the engine has been run long enough to bring it to the normal operating temperature. Hot oil will flow easier and more contaminants will be removed with the oil than if it were drained cold. A large capacity drain pan, which can be purchased at any automotive supply store, will be more than paid back by savings from do-it-yourself oil changes. Another necessity is containers for the used oil. You will find that plastic bleach containers make excellent storage bottles.Oil Change
- Run the engine until it reaches the normal operating temperature. Raise and safely support the front of the car.
- Slide a drain pan under the oil pan drain plug.
- Loosen the drain plug with a socket or box wrench, and then remove it by hand. Push in on the plug as you turn it out, so that no oil escapes until the plug is completely removed.
- Allow the oil to drain into the pan.
- Clean and install the drain plug, making sure that the gasket is still on the plug.
- Refill the engine with oil. Start the engine and check for leaks.
The car manufacturer recommends changing the oil filter at every other oil change, but it is more beneficial to replace the filter every time the oil is changed.
- Drain the oil as already described.
- Remove the lower splash shield, if necessary for clearance.
- Slide a drain pan under the oil filter. Slowly turn the filter off with an oil filter wrench.
Due to clearance problems on front wheel drive models, removing the alternator and replacing the filter from the top may be easier.
- Clean the oil filter adapter on the engine with a clean rag.
- Oil the rubber seal on the replacement filter and install it. Tighten it until the seal is flush and then give it an additional 1 / 2 to 3 / 4 turn.
On the 1979 and later front wheel drive Colt with 1597cc engines, the oil filter mounting flange distorts as the temperature changes. As a result, leakage past the oil filter gasket may occur between the time the engine is started from cold and the time it reaches operating temperature. In most cases, the leakage stops when the engine is hot. The factory-supplied filter and replacement MoPar filters have a thick, wide gasket which compensates for this occurrence. Most aftermarket filters do not have such a gasket. The best idea on these cars is to coat the oil filter gasket and mounting flange mating surfaces with gasket sealer, such as Permatex No.2, or its equivalent, not engine oil, prior to installation. Before applying the sealer, make certain that the mating surfaces are clean and free of oil. Screw the filter on in the normal manner.
- Install the splash pan. Fill the engine with the proper amount of oil. Start the engine and check for leaks.