have you checked your oil recently?


Cruz Hernandez, contributor

if you are among the many people that drive cars daily, then you should make it a habit to check your oil at least once a week. owning a car is not as simple as filling the tank when it’s empty and keeping driving, you should check your oil weekly and add/change it when needed. usually, it’s good practice to change your oil every 3,000 miles however with modern engines and oils, you can change your oil up to 5,000 miles. however personally I think it’s still better to change it every 3,000 miles. As simple as it seems some people don’t even know how to check their oil. so that is what I’m going to be going over, how to check and change your oil. the first thing you are going to want to do is to get the supplies that you are going to need, such as a funnel, oil, oil filter, drain pan, and sockets for your drain plug. depending on your vehicle you may need to use a jack to lift your car off the ground so you can get under your car. but the first step is to open your hood and locate your oil dipstick to is usually a yellow or orange handle. pull this out and check your oil level it will either say full or add or it will be somewhere in between. (as shown below)

inspect the oil with a napkin to see the color of it, if it is dark and not very transparent then you will need to change it, if it is a transparent goldfish color then the oil is still good. but in this case, we are just gonna say that your oil is ready to be changed, first, you would go underneath the vehicle and locate the oil pan. which is right under the engine. your gonna find the correct socket size of the drain plug and get your drain pan and place it underneath the oil pan to catch the oil, (you want to make sure you have your oil fill cap open to help let the oil flow out easier. its located in the engine bay) then your going to crack the bolt lose and lose it slowly with your hand if the motor was running before it will help the oil flow more freely as it will be warm, but be careful in case the oil is hot and you don’t want to burn yourself. as you get toward the end of the bolt be quick to take it out and Catch the oil when draining. while this it’s draining you are going to take off your oil filter, this is different on every motor it can be horizontal or vertical, but you are gonna use a special tool to take it off, there are a couple of different options depending on where your oil filter is located they gave oil filter sockets that will go on a wrench to take them off, or a swivel oil filter wrench, slide either tool onto the oil filter and twist counter-clockwise, then you take off the oil filter and place it in the oil pan and let the remaining oil finish draining. Once you are done draining the oil put the oil drain plug back on tight, you should already have the correct oil filter and oil for your vehicle the oil number should be on the oil fill cap it may say something like 5w-20 or 0w-20 or something of that sort (as shown below)

if you cannot find the oil you can go to your local stores such as orileys or auto zone and ask for assistance there for both the oil and oil filter of your vehicle. once you find the right filter you can pre-fill the filter with some of the correct oil, although this step is not necessary. however, if you do want to rub a little bit of oil over the rubber gasket to prevent sticking the next time you change your oil filter, place this on and snug it tight. then you may go up to your engine bay and take your oil and pour it into the oil fill tube with a funnel, make sure to check how many quarts of oil your engine holds prior to filling to prevent putting too much and buying too much after you put enough to let the oil settle in the engine and check the oil again with the dipstick if it it is not at the full line then add a little at a time till you reached the full line, once you are done with that you may put the cap on your fill tub make sure that filter and drain plug are tight, then start your vehicle and let it run for a bit, then you are finished with your oil change! after you drive it around, let the engine cool and check the oil one more time to ensure it is full then check it weekly as it is still good practice.