OIL LEVEL CHECK
See Figures 1, 2, 3 and 4
Your engine oil should be checked at regular intervals (such as every fuel stop). Check the engine oil as follows:
- Make sure the car is parked on level ground.
- When checking the oil level it is best for the engine to be at normal operating temperature, although checking the oil immediately after stopping will lead to a false reading. Wait a few minutes after turning off the engine to allow the oil to drain back into the crankcase.
- Open the hood and locate the dipstick which should be on either the passenger's side for the V8 engine or driver's side for the L4 and V6 engines. Pull the dipstick from its tube, wipe it clean and then reinsert it.
- Pull the dipstick out again and, holding it horizontally, read the oil level. The oil should be between the FULL and ADD marks on the dipstick. If the oil is below the ADD mark, add oil of the proper viscosity through the capped opening in the top of the cylinder head cover.
- Replace the dipstick and check the oil level again after adding any oil. Be careful not to overfill the crankcase. Approximately 1 quart (0.9L) of oil will raise the level from the ADD mark to the FULL mark. Excess oil will generally be consumed at an accelerated rate.
ENGINE OIL AND FILTER CHANGE
See Figures 5, 6 and 7
Under normal operating conditions, the oil is to be changed every 7,500 miles (12,000km) or 12 months, whichever occurs first.
Although the manufacturer recommends changing the filter at the first oil change and then at every other oil change, (unless 12 months pass between changes), The editors of this information recommend changing the filter with each service. It is a small price to pay for extra protection.
When driving conditions frequently include dusty or polluted areas, trailer towing, idling for long periods of time, or low speed operation, or when operating at temperatures below freezing or driving short distances (under 4 miles or 6.4km), change the oil and filter more frequently. Under these circumstances, oil has a greater chance of building up sludge and contaminants which could damage your engine. If your vehicle use fits into one or more of these categories, (as it does for most vehicles), it is suggested that the oil and filter be changed every 3,000 miles (1361km) or 3 months, whichever comes first.
The oil should be disposed of properly after it is drained from the vehicle. Store the oil in a suitable container and take the container to an official oil recycling station. Most gas stations or oil and lube facilities will take the used oil at little or no expense to you.
Oil should always be changed after the engine has been running long enough to bring it up to normal operating temperature. Hot oil will flow more easily and will carry more contaminants than will cold oil. The oil drain plug is located on the bottom of the oil pan (bottom of the engine, underneath the car). The oil filter is located on the left side of most engines covered by this information. To change the oil and filter:
- Run the engine until it reaches normal operating temperature.
- Raise the front of the vehicle and support it safely using a suitable pair of jackstands.
- Slide a drain pan of a least 6 quarts capacity under the oil pan. Wipe the drain plug and surrounding area clean using an old rag.
- Loosen the drain plug using a ratchet, short extension and socket or a box-wrench. Turn the plug out by hand, using a rag to shield your fingers from the hot oil. By keeping an inward pressure on the plug as you unscrew it, oil won't escape past the threads and you can remove it without being burned by hot oil.
If the drain plug is equipped with a removable washer or gasket, check its condition and replace, if necessary, to provide a leakproof seal.
- Quickly withdraw the plug and move your hands out of the way. Allow the oil to drain completely into the pan, then install and carefully tighten the drain plug. Be careful not to overtighten the drain plug, otherwise you'll be buying a new pan or a replacement plug for stripped threads.
Although some manufacturers recommend changing the oil filter every other oil change, we recommend the filter be changed each time you change your oil. The old filter will contain up to a quart of dirty oil, which will contaminate the clean oil. Also, the benefit of clean oil is quickly lost if the old filter is clogged. The added protection for your engine far outweighs the few dollars saved by using an old filter.
- Move the drain pan under the oil filter. Use a strap-type or cap-type filter wrench to loosen and remove the oil filter from the engine block. Keep in mind that it's holding about one quart of hot, dirty oil.
- Empty the old filter into the drain pan and properly dispose of the filter.
- Using a clean rag, wipe off the filter adapter on the engine block. Be sure that the rag doesn't leave any lint which could clog an oil passage.
- Coat the rubber gasket on the filter with fresh oil, then spin it onto the engine by hand; when the gasket touches the adapter surface, give it another 1 / 3 - 1 / 2 turn, (but no more, or you'll squash the gasket and it will leak).
- Refill the engine with the correct amount of fresh oil. Please refer to the Capacities chart at the end of this section.
- Check the oil level on the dipstick. It is normal for the level to be a bit above the full mark. Start the engine and allow it to idle for a few minutes.
- Shut off the engine and allow the oil to flow back to the crankcase for a minute, then recheck the oil level. Check around the filter and drain plug for any leaks, and correct as necessary.