When we talk about the maintenance of your automobile, it is hard not to discuss the essence of changing the car oil. It is vital to the lifeline of your car just as human beings need to drink water. It keeps your engine well lubricated and gets rid of dirt as you hit the road.
Now, if you have not changed your oil in a while, that's okay. I won't judge you. I perfectly understand that you have a crazy busy schedule. Thus, there is barely enough time to take it to your local mechanic or book an appointment with the dealership. But, the bitter truth is, it has to be done -your oil needs to be changed.
Not to worry, we have answered some of your questions about oil change in this article. Keep reading to find out how you can conveniently do to change your oil.
Table of Contents
How long does an oil change take?
So, really, how long does an oil change take? Well, the straight answer is 15 to 45 minutes. However, that's the average time to change the oil. By that, I mean, if there are no obstacles between you and changing your vehicle's oil, you can get it done in the above stipulated time.
Truthfully, there is no complication to the oil changing process. It is a straightforward process. Hence, it can be quickly learned. So, you can either choose to do it yourself and leave it to the mechanic to do it. There's all the option of using the services of a fast-oil change company.
Nevertheless: it should be noted that changing the oil by yourself can take 30minutes to an hour, especially because you would most likely change the oil the old fashioned way.
But, getting it changed at a car station shouldn't take up to 20 minutes of your time. The reason is simple: the mechanics ply a faster route to draining the old oil and refilling your vehicle with new oil.
So, why do you need to get your oil changed regularly? Why can't you just keep cruising around town with the old oil till death do you and live apart? (Lol). Well, there are a couple of reasons.
For starters, some part of your engine generates friction when the car is in motion. As a result, these moving parts need to be lubricated to avoid engine failure or prevent your engine from overheating. Here is where the oil comes in. It keeps these moving parts lubricated to prevent the overheating and breakdown problem.
Also, the oil becomes dirty when it is not changed. Trust me; you don't want that in your car. Else, you'll put too much burden on your engine, and you'll run out of gas quickly.
Factors that affect the Oil change time.
A lot of factors determine how long changing your oil would take. Although the estimated time is 15 to 45 minutes, it could take longer than that. Here are some of the factors that could elongate your estimated oil change time.
1. Customer wait time:
This factor especially affects oil change time when you go to a quick lube shop. The average wait time for an oil change at a quick lube shop is 15minutes. However, in cases where there are a lot of customers waiting to get their oil changed like you, you might have to wait for your turn. Waiting your turn elongates the oil change time.
2. Dealership oil change
Changing your oil with the dealership is the best way to do it. The reason? The dealer knows your car very well. Hence, he is less likely to make mistakes in the process. Also, you can do it for free as long as your car is still under warranty.
However, the downside to changing your oil at the dealership is it takes a lot of time. Now, you're probably wondering, how long does an oil change take at a dealership? Frankly, it might require you to leave your car at the dealership for a full day or for months to get it. Worst of all, you would need to schedule an appointment first.
3. Car design
If your car's drain plug and filter can be easily located, it would speed up the oil change process.
4. DIY Home:
You would most likely spend close to an hour or more changing your oil by yourself. Nevertheless, two factors can delay you: your skills at oil changing and your toolkit. If it is your first time, you might need to do a lot of screwing and unscrewing before you get it.
After oil change, you will want to learn how to reset oil change light
DIY: The Oil Change Process
If you've decided to change your car oil by yourself, that's fantastic. Also, read through this section carefully. Quickly, step-by-step, I'll show you how to change your vehicle oil. Honestly, it saves you money.
It's okay if you can't afford the luxury of time to change your car oil by yourself. That's fine. You can have your oil changed in the fast-oil change store or by a professional technician. So, buckle your seat belt and let's get down to the oil change process.
What you need
- Oil and Oil filter.
- Oil filter wrench.
- Wrench for the drain plug.
- Latex gloves.
- Drain plug washer.
- Jack and Jack stand.
- Oil drain pan.
Step One: Check the oil requirement. Before you begin the oil changing process, determine the amount of oil you would need for your vehicle. Don't worry; you don't need to measure anything. Simply check the owner's manual to know.
Step Two: Get the car ready for extraction. Start the car so that the engine and oil can get warm. Then look for the drain plug of your car. Sometimes, you might need to raise the car with the Jack stands to get to it. Before you pull the plug, secure your hands with hand gloves. Also, put a bucket you're no longer using underneath.
Step Three: Remove the Drain plug and Oil filter. Once removed, the oil would flow into the bucket. However, you need the oil to be warm for it to flow into the bucket smoothly. You can remove the oil filter while the oil drains into the bucket. But this depends on your car design. Using the oil filter wrench, take out the oil filter and empty the oil in it into the bucket.
Step Four: Replace the Oil Filter. Before fitting this new oil filter, add a little bit of oil on the gasket on it. Then, put the filter in. Don't forget to tighten it so that it is firm.
Step Five: Change the Drain Plug. Change the seal or gasket first before fitting into the new drain plug. Use a wrench to make it firm.
Step Six: Pour the new oil. Your funnel comes to play here. If you don't have a funnel, anything -like an old water bottle, can suffice. Put it into the oil filler hole and pour the oil in. Tip: do not add the exact amount of oil recommended by the owner's manual. Instead, ensure it is one quart lesser than the recommended amount. Once the oil is in, change the oil filler cap.
Step Seven: Check for leaks. Do this by simply starting the engine. Let it run on for close to 60seconds or less. The oil should disperse in the process. Then, check to see if the oil is leaking. If it is, you probably did not tighten something we'll. If it is not, you are good to go. Take the Jack out from underneath the car. Proceed to the next step.
Viola, that's how you change your oil. Remember: give or take; this DIY process shouldn't last more than an hour. However, certain factors might make it last more than the stipulated time. Keep reading to find out.
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How Often should my oil change occur?
The standard and generic responses are after your car has run up to 3000 miles or for three months. The loophole? It doesn't apply to most cars. The reason is that while some cars can still function properly with the same oil after running for more than 3000 miles, some start to give signs of a possible breakdown merely after 1000miles.
Also, certain cars need their car oils to be changed continuously. More so, cars with synthetic oils can run more than 10,000 miles without needing an oil change. The best thing you can do to determine your answer is to consult a specialist to know what works for your car in terms of oil change interval. You could also follow the owner's manual recommendation.
Are there consequences to not change my oil?
Yes. There are consequences to not change your car oil - both on time and at all. For starters, your engine would be at risk of a breakdown. It also allows sludge into the engine. The worst-case scenario of old, black, and opaque oil is that it could lead to engine seizure.
We've seen how vital oil change is in vehicle maintenance. Yes, it's a bit messy, but its benefits far outweigh its seemingly inconvenient nature. When next you sense your engine is about to break down or your vehicle's performance has drastically dropped, it might be time for an oil change.
You can either take control of the narrative by changing the oil yourself. Or, you could use a really good quick lube shop with fantastic reviews. You could also drive your car to the local mechanic store who is good at what he does. Whatever option you go with, brace yourself for the time you would likely spend. In the end, it is all worth it.
James is a certified auto technician specializing in commercial vehicles. With 30 years of experience under his belt, James has encountered almost every type of automotive issue there is! Besides his day job at the repair shop, he is also an amateur race car driver.