OIL LEVEL CHECK
See Figures 1, 2 and 3
At every stop for fuel, 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 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, which is on the front of the engine. 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 MIN and MAX mark. If the oil is below the MIN mark, add oil of the proper viscosity through the capped opening of the valve cover.
- Replace 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
See Figures 4 through 12
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 three to four times a year depending on how many miles the car is driven. 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. The cost of 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.
To change the oil:
- Run the engine until it reaches the normal operating temperature. Raise and safely support the front of the car.
- Remove the filler cap, wipe it off and set it aside.
- 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. Tighten the drain plug to 25-33 ft. lbs. (34-44 Nm).
- Refill the engine with oil and replace the filler cap. 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. Aside from the obvious improved filtration that a new filter affords, what most people don't realize is that a quantity of the old oil remains in the filter at all times. If the oil filter is not changed with the oil, the old, contaminated oil has a chance to mix with and dilute the new oil. Not renewing the oil filter at every oil change, in reality, only constitutes a partial oil change.