Many people may start wondering when they see the title. Of course there is no fake oil change, but a bad oil change could lead to a bigger problem if the mechanic did not follow the right procedure.

If you just stopped by a messy dirty crowd shop and ask for a $20-30 oil change, you are most likely getting this kind of oil service:

1. A “mechanic” will use a floor jack to raise the vehicle from one of the front lifting points.

2. Lose the drain plug and let the oil out for 5 minutes then tighten it right away.

3. Put the car down, add new oil in tell you to go see the cashier.

Quick and easy? No, this is WRONG!

To us who love our cars so much that we even treat them as human beings, they would do an oil change as follows:

1. Open the oil refill cap

2. Raise up the car from all side so the oil pan will be balanced,  lose the drain plug, let the waste oil drain out as much as possible until it comes out drop by drop slowly.

3. Next we are going to change the oil filter, and that is a  must for every oil change.

used oil filter

4. Replace the old drain plug gasket, it could be made of aluminum, copper or rubber. They are all very soft materials and they will be stretched every time when the drain plug is tighten and put pressure on it. It would lose its purpose of sealing if you  reuse the old gasket.

new and used gasket

5. Tighten the drain plug with a torque wrench to the manufacturer recommended torque specification.

Torque wrench

6. Refill the fresh oil half a quart before the full capacity, turn on the engine and let it run for a couple of minutes.

7. Check the oil level referral to owner’s manual after the engine is off for five minutes (some cars come with electronic dip sticks and they check the oil level while the car is running)

8. Add more oil if the level is low. The oil level should be right below the maximum line. Usually it is one quart capacity from the maximum to minimum mark. It may vary depend on different model, check the owner’s manual for reference. NEVER OVER FILL the engine oil!

Dip Stick

A real oil change would take five more steps and ten to fifteen more minutes.

Many people say just hand tight the drain plug, but if you really look into it closely, the recommended torque for the drain plug can vary from  7 to over 40 ft/lb depends on the model and make! It is a big difference. The torque specification is there for a reason because every drain plug is designed different. There are some big companies which are famous for quick oil changes would happen to have some untrained workers tighten the drain plug with air impact tool which is extremely terrifying. Those powerful tools may easily over tighten the drain plug and cause the oil to leak. Sometimes it might result the whole engine needs to be rebuilt.

If you really care about your car, get your hands on it and do everything right. Your car will appreciate you and save you thousands of dollars by avoiding the careless mechanics.

Regular engine oil usually last three month or 3,000 miles, which ever comes first, synthetic engine oil usually last 6 months or 5,000 miles.  Some manufacturer recommended to change oil every 10,000-15,000 miles.

We always recommend to change the oil no longer than the 5,000 service interval. Change the oil more frequently is the safer way to go, and it would never harm your car.

If you need a clean space, equipment and tools, we got them all at Your Dream Garage DIY Autoshop. If you are inexperienced and need help and advice, we would help you get through it with countless tips and tricks from years of experience working with cars. It is a great opportunity for everyone who really care about his or her car and want to get their hands on. With the decent service bay rental rate we offer, everyone can save money from labor, hassle or other people’s mistakes. More importantly, we do it because we are passionate about cars.

Your Dream Garage, Where Your Dream Begins.