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Common Oil Change Mistakes | How to Avoid Costly Errors

Avoiding common mistakes during an oil change

Performing an oil change is a routine maintenance task that keeps your vehicle’s engine running smoothly and efficiently. However, even a seemingly simple process like an oil change can be fraught with potential mistakes that could lead to costly consequences. To ensure your oil change is successful and error-free, this informative guide will highlight common oil change mistakes and provide valuable tips on how to avoid them.(Avoiding common mistakes during an oil change)

Mistake 1: Using the Wrong Oil Type or Viscosity

One of the most critical mistakes during an oil change is using the wrong type or viscosity of the oil. Each vehicle has specific oil requirements, which can vary based on the engine type, age, and manufacturer recommendations. Using the incorrect oil can lead to inadequate lubrication, reduced engine performance, and potential engine damage. Always refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual to determine the correct oil type and viscosity for your engine.

How to Avoid It:

Read your owner’s manual carefully and choose the oil that meets the recommended specifications. Pay attention to the API (American Petroleum Institute) service category and SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) viscosity grade to ensure proper engine protection.

Mistake 2: Forgetting to Replace the Oil Filter

Changing the engine oil without replacing the oil filter is a significant oversight. Over time, oil filters accumulate debris and contaminants, and failure to replace them can result in reduced oil flow, decreased engine performance, and potential damage to engine components.

How to Avoid It:

Always replace the oil filter during every oil change. Purchase a high-quality filter that matches your vehicle’s make and model, and remember to lubricate the new filter’s rubber gasket before installation.

Mistake 3: Over-Tightening or Under-Tightening the Drain Plug

Improperly securing the oil drain plug is a common mistake that can lead to leaks or even loss of oil during operation. Over-tightening the drain plug can damage the oil pan threads, while under-tightening can cause it to loosen and leak.

How to Avoid It:

Follow the manufacturer’s recommended torque specification for tightening the drain plug. Use a torque wrench to achieve the correct tightness and prevent damage or leaks.

Mistake 4: Reusing Crush Washers or Gaskets

Crush washers or gaskets create a seal between the drain plug and the oil pan. Reusing old or worn crush washers can result in leaks and compromise the integrity of the oil drain system.

How to Avoid It:

Always replace the crush washer or gasket during each oil change. These are inexpensive components that ensure a proper seal and prevent oil leaks.

Mistake 5: Ignoring the Oil Level and Quality

Failing to check the oil level after an oil change or using low-quality oil can have adverse effects on your engine. Running the engine with insufficient oil or using low-quality oil can lead to increased engine wear and reduced engine performance.

How to Avoid It:

After completing the oil change, check the oil level using the dipstick to ensure it falls within the recommended range. Also, use high-quality engine oil with the appropriate API service category and SAE viscosity grade.

Mistake 6: Improper Oil Disposal

Improperly disposing of used oil is an environmental hazard and can lead to hefty fines. Pouring used oil down drains or in the trash contaminates water sources and harms the environment.

How to Avoid It:

Collect the used oil in a leak-proof container and take it to a certified oil recycling center or an authorized collection point. Many auto parts stores and service centers accept used oil for recycling.

Mistake 7: Overextending Oil Change Intervals

Ignoring or extending oil change intervals beyond the manufacturer’s recommendations is a common error that can result in accelerated engine wear and potential damage. Oil breaks down over time, losing its lubricating properties and ability to protect the engine.

How to Avoid It:

Follow the oil change intervals specified in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. These intervals are determined based on your engine’s specific needs and driving conditions.

In conclusion, Avoiding common mistakes during an oil change is crucial for maintaining your engine’s health and avoiding costly repairs. By adhering to the manufacturer’s recommendations, using high-quality oil and filters, and paying attention to proper installation and disposal procedures, you can ensure that your oil change is a successful and cost-effective maintenance task. Regular oil changes performed correctly will keep your engine running smoothly and extend the life of your vehicle.

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