Regular maintenance of your car’s fluids is essential to keep it running as well smoothly as possible – as well as ensuring the engine has a long life.
Amongst all the regular fluid checks like coolant, brake and steering etc, the most important is the oil. The oil stops your car from grinding (literally) to a halt and making horrible screeching and sounds of metal against metal… As well as lubricating everything, it also traps road dirt and filters it out. Basically, its quite important.
The interval between changes will depend on your car (it is usually a good few thousand miles). On my 306, D Turbo I kept to an interval is 6000 miles (I like to have more frequent changes).
What you need
– Fresh oil. By fresh, I don’t mean go and bore into the earth and refine your own, I mean go and buy some oil of the proper grade viscosity for your engine. The viscosity is denoted by the big writing on the side of the oil container in the form 10W40, 5W30, 20W50 etc. Find the rating for your engine by referring to a Haynes manual or your owner book. Also, make sure you get petrol or diesel oil accordingly.
– A new oil filter. These are smallish pot shaped metal containers (which come in various colours) and are screwed into the engine block and filter out all the crap the oil picks up through different grade filter paper within. The location of your filter may differ – the 306 filter was towards the front/bottom of the engine block shown below (its the white thing!):
– A tub or container. To collect the drained oil – make sure its large enough. The 306 takes 4.5 litres of oil.
Draining the Old Oil
It is best to do the change when the car is slightly warm – not too hot though as you don’t want hot oil splashing everywhere. That would be bad.
First, locate the oil sump and drain plug under your car. It should look similar to the following image:
Find the correct size socket/spanner and undo the drain plug slightly. Get your container ready to catch the oil and remove the plug fully – it’ll probably go all over your hand, but as long as you don’t drop the plug in the oil container its ok….
Leave this to drain for a good few minutes, and in the mean time, remove the old filter – it should unscrew by hand but you can buy oil filter removal tools if you really need to. Some oil will fall from the filter once removed so make sure it doesn’t drip on anything important. It’s hard to imagine that this black stuff was once a smooth golden orange colour….
Adding the New Oil
Once the oil has been draining for a while and has slowed to a slow drip or stopped altogether, you can replace the drain plug. It is good practice to use a new crush washer when tightening but it is not essential.
To fit the new filter, first rub some oil on the rubber seal washer which runs around the edge of the container (see image below), and screw it into place. Tighten as much as possible by hand – it should not move.
All that remains now, is to fill the engine up with the fresh oil. Locate the oil filler cap on the top of the engine (it is usually marked OIL or 710 *chuckle* I make myself laugh…). It best to use a funnel to prevent spillages and make sure you don’t overfill!!!
Before starting the engine, check for any immediate signs of leaks and tighten the corresponding part appropriately…
Now start the engine and check once more for leaks while the engine is running. Stop and leave the car to rest for a minute, and ensuring it is on level ground, check the oil level using the dipstick. Top up if necessary, and you’re done!