Every time you stop for fuel, 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 will be on either the right or left side depending upon your particular engine. 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 valve cover. See the "Oil and Fuel Recommendations" chart in this section for the proper viscosity and rating of oil to use.
- Replace the dipstick and check the oil level again after adding any oil. Be careful not to overfill the crankcase. Approximately one quart of oil will raise the level from the "ADD" mark to the "FULL" mark. Excess oil will generally be consumed at a faster rate.
OIL & FILTER CHANGE
The oil in the engine of your Pontiac should be changed every six months or 7,500 miles, whichever comes first (Diesels should be changed every 5,000 miles). If you live in an extremely dusty or smoggy area, change your car's oil more frequently. A new filter should be installed with every oil change, and the used oil put into a suitable container and taken to a collection or reclamation point for recycling (many garages and gas stations have storage tanks for this purpose).
The oil should always be changed while hot, so the dirt and particles will still be suspended in the oil when it drains out of the engine. To change the oil and filter:
- Run the engine until it reaches normal operating temperature.
- Put the transmission in "Park," set the parking brake, and jack up the front of the car. Support the front end with jackstands.
- Slide a drain pan of at least 6 quarts capacity under the engine oil pan.
- Loosen the drain plug. Turn the plug out slowly by hand, keeping an inward pressure on the plug as you unscrew it so the hot oil will not escape until the plug is completely removed.
- Allow the oil to drain completely and then install the drain plug. DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN the plug, or you will strip the threads in the drain hole and you'll have to buy a new pan or a "trick" replacement plug.
- Using an oil filter strap wrench, remove the oil filter. Keep in mind that it's holding about a quart of dirty, hot oil.
- As soon as you remove the oil filter, hold it upright until you can empty it into the drain pan. Dispose of the filter.
- Avoid prolonged skin contact with used motor oil.
- Remove oil from skin by washing thoroughly with soap and water or waterless hand cleaner. Do not use gasoline, thinners or solvents.
- Using a clean rag, wipe off the filter mounting adaptor on the engine block. Be sure that the rag doesn't leave any lint which could clog an oil passage.
- Wipe a coating of clean engine oil on the rubber gasket of the new filter. Spin it onto the engine by hand-do not use the strap wrench. When the gasket starts to snug up against the adaptor surface, give it another 1 / 2 - 3 / 4 turn by hand. Don't turn it any more, or you'll squash the gasket and the filter will leak.
- Refill the engine with the correct amount of fresh oil through the valve cover cap, or breather tube (diesels). See the "Capacities" chart in this section.
- Check the oil level on the dipstick. It is normal for the oil level to be slightly above the full mark right after an oil change. Start the engine and allow it to idle for a few minutes.
- Shut off the engine and allow the oil to drain back down for a few minutes before checking the dipstick again. Check for oil leaks around the filter and drain plug.