Many fleet owners can save time and money by performing routine maintenance on vehicles themselves. Whether you’re working on a personal truck or a fleet vehicle, changing oil is a common task that can be completed in your own shop.
If you are unfamiliar with the mechanics of changing a vehicle’s oil, the best way to learn is from another person, so find someone who can help you out the first time. Otherwise, there are a variety of resources online. For example a step-by-step guide on edmunds.com can help you learn the basics of this relatively simple process.
After familiarizing yourself with how to perform an oil change, use the following list of tips and tricks to make the most of this money-saving endeavor.
• Choose the oil that is right for your vehicle. Check the owner’s manual for advice on which oil is recommended for a particular engine. Consider using a Maxtron® synthetic oil to keep your engine running its best. See my blog post, The Synthetic Oil Advantage, for more details.
• Record the mileage and date you change the oil to help determine when the next oil change will be needed.
• Use precaution when jacking up your vehicle. Park on level ground, use jack stands, and securely chock the wheels to keep the vehicle from rolling and/or crushing you. If you’ve never jacked up your vehicle to work beneath it, consult the owner’s manual, the Internet or a professional mechanic for advice first.
• Top off vehicle fluids when you perform an oil change. Check the engine coolant, transmission and brake fluids, as well as the windshield washer and power steering fluid levels.
• Be cautious to add the correct amount of oil when filling the crankcase. Under filling the oil sump could lead to engine failure due to lubricant starvation and overfilling can result in mechanical agitation of the oil, creating a froth that is debilitating to the engine and costly to repair.
• Properly dispose of used oil and other leftover materials such as engine coolant, brake or transmission fluid, and dirty rags with engine oil residue at a local recycling center that accepts this form of waste. Never dump used materials in the trash, sewer, street, gutter or on the ground.
Knowing how to change your vehicles’ oil can help you save money especially if you have multiple vehicles to service throughout the year. You will also become better acquainted with the quirks of each vehicle in your fleet. Check the Cenex lubricants page for more information on all things lubricant, including gear oils, transmission fluids and, of course, engine oils.
- Greg McAfee, CHS Director of Marketing, Lubricants