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Car Oil Change - Do It Yourself

Getting your oil changed is something that the pros promise they can do in a jiffy, however, with every three thousand miles you drive, the price can add up quickly. You can save yourself some money by doing it yourself. An oil change is not as hard as you may think!

Prior to changing your oil, you will need to pick up some supplies at you favorite parts store. The first thing you will need is six quarts of oil. If your car manufacturer recommends a certain type, you should stick with that. Otherwise, choose a brand you know and trust. (Note- do not mix oil. If you have a quart or two of one brand already at home, make sure you purchase additional quarts of the same kind.) With every oil change, you should always change your oil filter as well. So, you will also need to pick up an oil filter for your particular car. In addition, you will need an oil pan to empty the old oil into. Your best bet is to purchase one that can seal so that you can easily take it to be recycled. And, if you don’t have one already, you could use an oil filter wrench.

After you purchase the necessary items, you are ready to start the oil change. First, elevate the vehicle off the ground using your car jack, just enough to access the underside of the engine. (Note: For added safety, make sure you are using a jack stand.) Remove the oil fill cap on the engine. Then, get underneath the engine. The oil pan covers the entire bottom of the engine, and this is what you will be draining from. Find the engine pan drain plug, which is shaped hexagonal (six sides). Place the oil pan you bought underneath. Next, use a socket wrench to loosen the drain plug. The oil will start to come out. Let this drain completely. Once drained, replace the plug and tighten.

Next, move the drain pan so it is under the oil filter. Use your oil filter wrench to rotate the filter counter-clockwise until it comes off. Once loosened, you’ll need to unscrew it from the engine with your hands. Once off, place in the oil pan- oil will drip out from the filter. Now, it’s time to put on the new filter. When you remove the new filter from the box, you’ll see a rubber gasket on the base. A good trick for easy removal in the future is to coat the gasket thoroughly with oil. When that’s done, screw the new filter onto the filter pipe tightly.

At this point, you’re done underneath, so you can let the car down. But first, get the oil pan and any tools out from under the vehicle. Next, fill the engine with five quarts of oil and put the cap back on. Then, check the oil level. You should see that it’s one quart high, and this is just because the filter is not yet full. Next, start the car and let the engine idle for about five minutes. This will allow the oil pump to pick up the new oil, and get it circulating. Also, check under the car to make sure the filter is not leaking any oil. Then, you can shut off the car and check the oil level once again. This time it should read, “full.”

You’re done! Just repeat these instructions in 3,000 miles.

Written by Michael Walker. Source He is a freelance author providing tips and hints on engine related topics.

Understanding the Drive Layouts

The drive layout is the arrangement of the engine, transmission, and driven axles. The types of drive layouts are Front engine Front wheel drive (FF/ FWD), Front engine Rear wheel drive (FR/RWD), Mid engine Rear wheel drive(MR), Rear engine Rear wheel drive(RR), Four wheel drive (4WD or 4x4) and the All Wheel Drive(AWD). Each of these layouts has their own performance, advantages and disadvantages.

Front engine Front wheel drive (FF/FWD) – The Engine and the two driven axles are placed in front, where the power from the engine is transferred straight to the front wheels. This layout increases the interior space especially in small cars because there is no central tunnel needed for the driveshaft. FF layout has advantage when it comes on low grip surfaces, and its tendency to understeer reduces the risk of losing control. The disadvantage is the load placed on the front tires. The front tires must transfer all acceleration, steering, cornering, and braking forces to the road. This kind of tasks gives a lot of stress in front tires which may lead to wear and tear, while the rear tires have very little load on them.

Front engine Rear wheel drive (FR/ RWD) - This is the complement of FF layout, where the engine is placed longitudinally at the front but the two driven axles are placed at the rear connected through the driveshaft. With this kind of layout, installation of more powerful engine such as V8, V10 and V12 is not a problem. Since the FR has a driveshaft, central tunnel is present in this layout a little interior space is sacrificed. All of the disadvantages of the FF layout are the advantages of FR layout.

Mid Engine Rear wheel drive (MR) – The drive layout that consumes a lot of interior space of the car especially the seating capacity, the engine is placed in the middle of the chassis and the driven axles are at the rear. Although it has more weight at the rear, entering a corner makes it more difficult because the front tires have less traction resulting to understeer and since the rear is heavy, the car tends to oversteer when exiting a corner. This kind of layout is commonly used in racing cars and sports cars because of weight distribution focused in the center of the car.

Rear engine Rear wheel drive (RR) - This layout places both engine and the driven axle at the rear of the vehicle, even though the rear wheels benefit from the additional grip due to the added weight given by the engine, the front wheels still need grip in order to steer the car effectively. That’s why RR layout car can also be prone to understeer.

Four Wheel Drive (4WD or 4X4) / All Wheel Drive (AWD) – It is a term usually used to describe a car where the four wheels receive power from the engine simultaneously. This can be found in an off-road vehicle. A well distributed power to the four wheels improves the grip of the vehicle. The terms 4WD and 4X4 are used in jeeps and other off-road vehicles that require the driver to switch from 2WD used in street driving (two wheel drive) to 4WD to improve the grip depending on the road condition like mud, snow, etc. and it has a high and low gear selection. The AWD term was invented to identify the vehicle capable of driving all the wheels on any road condition without selecting high and low gear selection because the power is distributed on all the wheels. Unlike the 4WD with gear selection, you don’t have to select the appropriate gear to match the road condition. Most of the modern cars use AWD system for more traction and better handling.

Written by Alvin D. Agomaa