Changing Your Oil Safely

With the current economic problems everyone is trying to save money any way they can and one area that is gaining a lot of attention is car maintenance.  It used to be that most everyone new how to do tune-ups and oil changes on their cars but that has changed in the last few decades as we have had enough money to pay people to do these tasks.  Most car owners are strapped for cash now so not only are they buying junkyard parts when they can but they are getting back into doing their own oil changes and brake jobs.  Most tune-ups and engine repairs are no longer possible to do at home due to all the electronics on the new cars.

Brakes and oil changes are still fairly easily done in your driveway or garage.  Both of them can be learned but they also pose a possible risk of harm.  In particular, the car can fall on you and smash your hand, foot, or even something worse.  For this reason, always use car axle stands when lifting your car for any reason.  These are adjustable axle stands that have a wide base which means they won’t tip over even if the car gets off balance.

When changing your oil first get your oil change equipment together, the correct oil filter and the needed amount of oil.  Check with your car’s manufacturer for the proper weight and grade.  Also, you will have the best luck if you buy a pan to drain the oil into.

If you haven’t driven the car today, run the engine for 5 minutes or so to warm the oil, it will flow out much easier.  Lift the car up and install the jack stand.  The oil pan will have a plug which lets the oil out.  Place your drain pan under the engine and unscrew the plug.  Drain the oil.  Reinstall the plug and move the oil pan under the oil filter. It is best to remove the oil filter using a filter wrench.  Be sure to catch any oil that leaks out.

Next, apply a film of new oil to the filter rubber sealing ring and screw the filter on till it just touches the seat and then turn one third turn more.  Lower the car and fill it with the recommended amount of oil.  Start the engine and look for leaks then shut it off and after a couple of minutes check the level.  Top off if needed.

For more car care tips visit Available Car Sales.

Guide to Buying Axle Stands

Planning on getting under the car to change the oil, work on the transmission, or some other task, and you don’t have a car lift?  Then in addition to using a floor jack, be sure to use axle stands. Raise the car with the floor jack, and slide the axle stand underneath the axle.  Put one near each wheel. Jack stands are known to fail, and an axle stand will prevent the mechanic from being crushed. Whether working on damaged cars for fun or profit you should always put safety first.

Axle stands come in many different models.  Before buying one ensure they include the following safety features.

*Make sure the axle stand is made from sturdy materials and of a good quality by checking its appearance. The stand should have no jagged edges that can snag the mechanic’s clothes while under the vehicle. Check the welds, a heavy vehicle could cause shoddy welds to fail, and the car to fall.  If buying a used one, make sure there is no rust as it could signal weakened metal.

*Axle stands come with two kinds of support, pegs and ratchets. The preferred type is the ratchet because it provides a more concise mechanism for holding the vehicle at a particular height.  Although a little less expensive, peg systems are more difficult to use. Should a peg stand be used, ensure the stand has a safety catch to hold the pegs in place, and that the pegs fit properly.

*Before using or purchasing a stand, check to see it has stabilizing feet.  These help support the axle stand, and keep it from slipping on soft surfaces.  Although one should avoid working under a car on soft surface if at all possible.

If you are going to buy axle stands, make sure they have these safety features which will only add a couple of dollars to the cost.  Not having the safety mechanisms could cause serious injury or even death should the stand fail and the vehicle fall.  No sense in risking life or limb to shave a few dollars from the price.