Under the Hood: What Really Happens During an Oil Change Service?

You already know that a regular oil change service is a significant part of keeping your car happy and healthy. They are a fundamental aspect of vehicle maintenance that ensures your car’s engine performs optimally and lasts for years. But since it’s such a basic task, why go to the trouble (and expense) of taking your vehicle to an auto shop when you could pay a neighbor kid half the price to do it for you?

You might not know there’s much more to a complete oil change service than just draining out old oil and replacing it with new stuff. It’s the difference between getting a professional haircut and letting your mom go at your head with some dull clippers and a bowl.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through the step-by-step process of a complete oil change service, shedding light on the crucial elements that keep your engine running smoothly.

Step 1: Vehicle Inspection and Preparation for Oil Change Service

Before the oil change begins, a trained technician thoroughly inspects your vehicle. This includes checking for any existing issues, leaks, or potential maintenance requirements beyond the oil change. They’ll also look at the existing oil’s condition and level since this can clue them into other issues.

This examination helps identify early signs of trouble, allowing you to address them proactively and avoid costly repairs. There are a few other checks your mechanic can also make throughout the process. These can include the air filters, windshield wipers, and your car’s battery.

Once the inspection is complete, the technician prepares the vehicle for the oil change. Depending on the shop, the car may be put on a lift or ramp, or the mechanic may climb into a pit underneath the car.

Step 2: Draining the Old Oil

With the vehicle securely positioned, the technician locates the oil drain plug at the bottom of the oil pan. After ensuring the engine is cool, they remove the drain plug, enabling the old oil to flow out of the engine and into a designated container.

During this process, the technician also inspects the drain plug and gasket for signs of damage or wear and replaces them if necessary.

Step 3: Removing and Replacing the Oil Filter

Changing the oil filter is an integral part of the oil change service to ensure clean oil is supplied to the engine. The oil filter traps contaminants in the oil and prevents them from circulating through the engine and causing damage.

While the oil drains, the technician removes the old oil filter. Before disposing of the old filter, the tech inspects it for signs of problems. Then, a new filter is carefully installed and fitted securely to prevent any potential leaks.

Step 4: Adding New Oil

Once the old oil is completely drained and the new filter is in place, the technician adds fresh, high-quality engine oil to the engine. You’ll likely have a choice of service rating and viscosity for the new oil. Your auto tech can help you out with this, or you can consult the manufacturer’s recommendations, which can be found in your owner’s manual. Correct oil viscosity and grade are crucial for maintaining optimal engine performance and fuel efficiency.

Step 5: Inspecting Other Fluids and Components

While performing the oil change service, the technician takes the opportunity to inspect other essential fluids and components of your vehicle. They may check the coolant level, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and windshield washer fluid, topping them up if necessary. Additionally, they inspect belts and hoses for signs of wear and tear, addressing any issues to prevent potential problems.

Step 6: Proper Disposal of Old Oil

Responsible disposal of used oil is an essential part of the oil change service. Technicians follow strict environmental guidelines to collect and store the old oil in approved containers, ensuring it doesn’t harm the environment. Used oil is then sent to recycling centers for reprocessing and reuse.

Step 7: Quality Control and Test Drive

Before completing the oil change service, the technician performs a final quality check to verify that all components are in place and no leaks are present. They then take your vehicle for a brief test drive to ensure everything functions correctly and the engine runs smoothly.

Ready to treat your car to a full-service oil change? Make an appointment today and show your vehicle some love!

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