If you’ve been following Car Deal Expert’s series on basic maintenance and care of your vehicle, you’ve learned some essential elements of car care that will help keep your vehicle running for all of its natural span. Here are some additional tips for dealing with engine oil, filters, valves, spark plugs, hoses and belts. Remember, this is basic stuff that any car owner can do.
Basic maintenance with motor oil tip No. 1: Check oil at every other gas stop
It’s a good car care practice to check your vehicle’s oil at every other fill up. Make sure the oil is warm from driving at least 15 minutes, park in a level area, shut off the engine, then wait 15 minutes. That will give the oil enough time to drain back into the pan. Take out the dipstick, wipe it clean with a rag, then reinsert, pushing it all the way back in. Pull out, and check the motor oil level. If it’s between the hash marks, you’re golden. If it is low, add the type and amount of motor oil recommended in your vehicle’s owners manual.
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Basic maintenance with motor oil tip No. 2: Change your engine oil frequently
The parts inside your car’s engine require proper lubrication for proper function, which is why motor oil is important. Over time and the experience of extremes of temperature, however, motor oil viscosity increases and thermal breakdown of the fluid will occur. While your vehicle’s manufacturer suggests oil changes at specific mile intervals, take that as a baseline, a mark beyond which you would not want to venture without a change. Considering that dirt and metal particles from the engine tend to gum up motor oil, so couple that with the aforementioned conditions and the real answer to how often you should change your car’s engine oil is that you should do it more often than your vehicle manufacturer recommends. This is particularly true if you have an intense stop-and-go daily commute.
Basic maintenance with motor oil tip No. 3: Don’t overfill the crankcase
Considering the importance of engine oil, it might seem tempting for you to overfill so that things are that much more lubricated. Don’t do it! If you overfill, motor oil can rise up into the crankshaft, where air will be churned into the oil. If this happens, the oil pump won’t be able to circulate the engine oil as effectively, and overheating can occur due to friction and stress from rubbing parts. Too much motor oil can also hamper proper spark plug function. Let’s just avoid overfilling any automotive fluid, shall we?
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Changing your engine oil and filter
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