Oil Change Tips PDF Print E-mail

Changing the oil in your car's engine regularly is probably the cheapest and simplest way to extend your car's life. At AJ Foreign Auto, we encourage you to stop by and let our trained automotive technicians perform this service for you. It is a great way to make sure their educated eye looks over the other aspects of your car to catch trouble before it stops you on the side of the road.

But, we understand some folks enjoy getting personal with the mechanical aspects of their car regularly. An oil change is a great way for you to do that. Here are some tips that might help you perform the job a bit better and easier next time.

  • Warm the engine before changing the oil. It helps get more of the old oil out quickly. Run your engine for just a few minutes. No need to get it hot. As long as it's not stone cold, you'll be fine. To avoid burning yourself on the engine block or exhaust, make sure it's cool to the touch before starting the work.
  • Try wearing disposable exam gloves (like doctors wear). This way you don't get oil on your hands or dirt under your fingernails. Used oil has been shown to cause skin cancer in laboratory animals. Wearing gloves is a great way to protect yourself. Gloves or not, make sure you thoroughly wash exposed skin with soap and water after the work is done.
  • Use 3 or 4 layers of newspaper, or tear up a cardboard box, and then place them under your oil drain pan before removing oil. This will help catch oil waves as the pan is being slid. It will protect your garage floor if spills occur. Also, while it's pouring, keep an eye on where it's going (the flow changes constantly for the first few minutes). Be ready to move the pan around while the oil drains.
  • Wear old clothes to perform the oil change because no matter how careful you are, things tend to get dirty.
  • Collect and save some old plastic screw-top bottles (for example: liquid clothes washsoap, 2-liter drink, or gallon milk containers can work well) to place the used oil into. This will help you dispose of oil properly.
  • Remove the oil cap before draining the oil or removing the filter. This will speed the draining of oil.
  • Try changing the oil filter before changing the oil. This way your hands will not be as slippery from all the grease and oil. It can be much easier to properly tighten the new filter. Also, while the oil catch pan is empty and maneuverable, it is easier to move it around to capture the often erratic oil drain flow.
  • Use a rag to wipe the area where the filter mounts to the engine. Make sure the rubber seal of the old filter is not stuck to the engine. Remove any of the old seal that might be left behind on the engine before installing the new filter.
  • Use some new oil to lightly coat the rubber seal of the new filter before installing it. That will help ensure a good seal and ease tightening of the new filter.
  • Once the oil filter gasket first contacts the engine, tighten the oil filter according to the directions for your application (usually found on the new filter box), preferably by hand. Generally, this is 3/4 to 1 full turn after the filter gasket contacts the engine. No need to over tighten here.
  • Remember to recycle your used motor oil. Feel free to bring it in to us at AJ Foreign Auto. We can recycle it properly for you. Make sure you bring along the used filter as well. It should also be recycled.

    It is estimated that less than 15% of "do-it-yourself oil changers" properly recycle their oil. The remaining majority dump the oil into sewers, on the ground, and into the trash. Four quarts of improperly disposed oil can ruin a million gallons of freshwater.

    Why is this? Well, while an automobile engine is running, the motor oil collects heavy metal (lead, cadmium, zinc, and barium), iron/steel particles, and copper. Several of these contaminants are toxic and harmful to the environment. Additional hazards associated with used oil result from the various additives used in its manufacture. Oil poured down household drains, or directly onto the ground, will work its way into the waterways and ground waters. Illegally disposed of oil can pollute the groundwater with contaminants such as lead, magnesium, copper, zinc, chromium, arsenic, chlorides, cadmium and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

    Don't be a contributor to polution. Bring the used oil and filter to us or, better yet, bring the car and we'll take care of the whole job for you!



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AJ Foreign Auto

130 Cherry Street (Behind Wegmans)
Ithaca, NY 14850
Business Hours: Call for appointment
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