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Write What You Drive

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Stop Neglecting Your Car's Engine and Change its Oil

by Randal Whitmore

Cars require regular maintenance and servicing, it's a well-known fact. If a car is often used and never serviced, the likelihood is that it will reduce in performance quality or in the worst case break down altogether.

Each model that manufacturers produce is accompanied by a manual of some sort that specifies when significant components need attention e.g. it might specify that a car's engine oil needs replacing every 5,000 miles with a particular type of oil.

There are other benefits of maintaining a car, such as a greater price negotiation position if you decide to sell your car (even better if you have a fully stamped service book from a service centre). It is therefore in a motorist's best interests to arrange some form of inspection and maintenance for their car.

To help drivers keep their car's engine running smoothly, I'm going to provide a simple step-by-step guide to changing a car's engine oil.

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The Basic Method of Changing a Car's Engine Oil

You Will Need:
•Engine oil (the type specified in your car's manual)
•Oil pan/ a large, flat container
•New oil filter
•New sump plug
•Car ramps/ a jack and axle stands
•Wrench and socket set
•Oil filter grip

Step 1: Run your engine for a while to warm up the oil inside it. This will make it run out of the engine easier later on.

Step 2: Open your bonnet and raise the front of the car using a jack and axle stands or a pair of car ramps. Before getting underneath it, make sure that the supported car is stable by pushing on it a little - not enough to push it off the ramps.

Step 3: Locate the sump plug on your engine's oil sump (bottom of the engine), which looks like a bolt, and place your large, flat container underneath it. Then loosen the plug using a spanner or wrench and unscrew it using your hand. The engine's oil will come out of the hole very fast once you've removed the plug so be sure to move your hand out of the way quickly, unless you want your arm to be covered in dirty oil. The oil should be flowing out into the container that you placed beneath it.

Step 4: Find the engine oil filter and unscrew it. You should be able to unscrew it with your hand but if there is difficulty, use an oil filter socket/ grip to get some leverage. When you first unscrew it some oil may come out so try to place another container below it in order to catch this. Some may drip down onto the exhaust, which can simply be cleaned up with a rag.

Step 5: Once you've removed the old filter, take your new one and use your finger to place some oil around the rubber seal. Install it in place of the previous filter by screwing it in a clockwise rotation until it fits snug to the sump. Use your hand to screw it on but not too tight because you should be able to remove it with your hand on the next oil change you perform.

Step 6: Attach your new sump plug bolt to the oil sump using a wrench and again don't fix it on too tight, just enough that it would prevent any leaks.

Step 7: Come out from underneath your car and remove the container you caught the oil in from beneath it too. You can now bring your car back down off the ramps or jacks but do this without starting the engine.

Step 8: Take your new oil and use a funnel to get it into the engine more accurately. Make sure you fill it with the amount recommended in your manufacturer's manual. You can use the dipstick to see the actual level.

Step 9: Once the new oil is in and you've re-attached the oil filler cap, start your engine and let it tick over for a couple of minutes to get the oil flowing around any chambers that may be empty or contain some of the previous oil.

Step 10: After the engine has been turned off (preferably for 30 minutes or so), check the oil level using the dipstick and top up if required. If there has been a drastic loss in oil take a look under the car to see if any leaks require attention. And that's it!

The actual procedure of an oil change is fairly quick and easy, however, it's just one of the many maintenance tasks that need to be performed in order to ensure you car is working effectively.

Other Maintenance Considerations to Make

If you are competent with a car's engineering then servicing your car yourself should be no problem if you follow the owner's manual, however, if you are an amateur with no experience then we'd recommend you take your car to a proper service centre or garage like Service4Service.

There are many other parts of the engine that will need replacement and repair over time, such as the timing and cam belts, the braking system, and more - some of which is covered in the MOT but not in as much depth as a professional garage service.

Just make sure that you carry it out on a regular basis (at least once a year) to maximise the life of your car and its engine.

Author Bio
Randal Whitmore is an automotive author who writes for Service4Service. His current car is a 2006 Jag X-Type that drives like a dream and is very fuel efficient with its 2.2 litre diesel engine.

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