Oil Changes for Rookies

You do it. I do it. Your 16-year-old neighbor with the ‘93 Geo Metro does it. Everyone gets their oil changed. Well, at least we’re supposed to. Every several thousand miles or so, or sooner if you aren’t particularly nice to your engine. If you drive an older car or live in an extreme climate you may want more frequent oil changes just to be safe. The oil keeps the engine running smoothly, preventing friction and damage. Keeping that oil filled and fresh maintains your engine and keeps you safe.

The only problem with the oil change is that it’s easy to forget, postpone or reschedule. If you just use the closest Jiffy Lube and don’t have a regular tune-up shop to which you are loyal, it can also be easy to postpone due to lack of familiarity. Are they taking me for a ride (pun intended)? What are they really doing to my car? I drive it in for an oil change and I walk out paying for all these extras and services for parts I never even knew existed! At least it can feel that way when you look at all the boxes and sections on the paperwork.

When you go in for an oil change what are they actually doing? What additional services should you request or refuse? Here’s the basic package for any oil change so you know what’s going on and what to expect:

Step One – Check

The mechanics will take a look at your oil levels and the quality of your oil. They want to see how hard/easy you’ve been on your car and how long it’s been since the last oil change. They may also look up the recommended type of oil for your car and look for any other damage or services they can offer you.

Step Two – Drain & Start Fresh

The mechanics will then drain the oil out of your car to make room for fresh oil. They will also remove the oil filter, which strains dirt, chunks of metal or any other impurities out of the oil before pumping it back through the system. Usually they will replace your filter to make sure impurities are being adequately filtered and not damaging your engine.

Step Three – Fill ‘er Up

Once the old oil is drained they will fill it up with the oil of your choice. Certain shops may also have oil additives which can boost the performance of your car or truck. If you are concerned about the age of your engine, overheating or just giving your car a little TLC then oil additives are an inexpensive way to take your auto care to the next level. Many shops carry oil additives and can mix them into your oil at your request or you can buy CleanBoost products here which keep your engine from experiencing buildup or friction. Reduced friction means improved power and efficiency from your engine.

Step Four – Extras

Most places now check other maintenance areas – tire pressure, and the fluid for wipers, brakes, antifreeze, and transmission. They may also check your serpentine belts, battery, air filter and headlights. Check their website or call ahead to see if these services are included in a regular oil change or if they are additional fees. They may offer you upgrades such as a new air filter, wiper blades or brake pads if you need them, so make sure you know what you need and what you are willing to buy when you show up for your oil change.

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Tech Guy

About the Author

Tech Guy

Automotive enthusiast, passionate about Jeeps, hot-rods, turbos, performance, efficiency, diesels, fuels, high performance oils, additives and anything with an engine.