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December 30, 2009

Changing Your Own Motor Oil

Artistic-oil-change-flickr_photos_jeffwilcox_1315365072_oil-change Are you a wannabe do-it-yourselfer who has been afraid to try to change your own oil? While this task can seem daunting, if done carefully, it doesn't have to be messy or complicated. Before you begin, be sure you have the proper tools to remove the oil filter and drain plug, as well as a container into which to drain your used oil.

We've broken the process down into three simple and eco-friendly steps, so be sure to read the entire series: Changing Your Own Motor Oil (Wednesday, December 30); Changing and Recycling Your Own Used Oil Filter  (Thursday, December 31), and Recycling Your Used Oil (Friday, January 1).

Changing Your Own Motor Oil
Dirty_oil-changeTurn off the engine, block the wheels and set the parking brake before getting under your car.  To avoid burns, make sure that the engine is not too hot.  Consult your owner's manual for directions.

Remove the drain plug on the bottom of the engine's oil pan and allow the used oil to drain from your car into a suitable container such as a drip pan.

If you're changing your oil filter, do it next, following the directions in the next article,  or on the filter itself.  Afterwards, replace the drain plug in the bottom of the engine's oil pan.  Make sure that it's tight.

Pouring_oil Carefully add new motor oil.  Although most cars take four to five quarts of oil, always check your owner's manual for the amount of oil required and the recommended grade of motor oil to be used.  Do not overfill.

With the parking brake still set and in a well-ventilated area, start the engine.  The oil pressure light may be on, but it should go out after a few seconds.  Once the light goes out, allow the engine to run for a few more minutes.

Turn off the engine and check the oil level.  Also check around the oil filter and drain plug for oil leaks.

So you know when to change your oil next according to the manufacturer's recommendation in your owner's manual, write down the date and mileage as well as grade and brand of motor oil you installed.

Blitzusa-oil-disposal-container Use a funnel or carefully pour the used oil from the drip pan into a suitable recycling container.  You can reuse the drip pan but do not rinse the residual oil down the drain

When you've completed your oil change, don't be tempted to dump your oil into the gutter or or toss your filter into the trashcans: approximately 220 million gallons of used oil are improperly disposed of each year -- and just ONE gallon of used oil can contaminate up to one million gallons of drinking water! Check back for Part Three and learn How to Recycle Your Used OIl.

All information contained in this series has been sourced from:
* South Carolina DHEA Office of Solid Waste Reduction & Recycling: Used Motor Oil Recycling Pamphlet (1/08)
* U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Collecting Used Oil for Recycling/Reuse - Tips for Consumers Who Change Their Own Motor Oil and Filters
* U.S. Department of Energy:  Used Oil Re-refining Study to Address Energy Policy Act of 2005, Section 1838

We've broken the process down into three simple and eco-friendly steps, so be  sure to read the next two steps: Changing and Recycling Your Own Used Oil Filter  (Thursday, December 31), and Recycling Your Used Oil (Friday, January 1).

Jody-devere_president_askpatty JHappyNewYearAPody DeVere
President and CEO

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