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Mistakes When Changing Car Oil: 4 Things That You Must Avoid

Car owners, especially the amateurs who have little knowledge about the engine mechanism, make several mistakes when changing car oil. Even if you have a shop or experienced technician to do it, your favorite automobile might not be getting all the care it needs.

Avoid These Mistakes When Changing Car Oil

Changing oil at the scheduled time is a surefire way to confirm the good health and longevity of your vehicle. It’s not complicated if you know what to do and how to do everything. Nevertheless, almost every oil-changer has made at least one of these following gaffes:

Using The Wrong Oil

car oil change
Don’t keep the filter seal dry. (photo source: Reader’s Digest Canada)

It’s fine as long as you’re following the owner’s manual. If it recommends using synthetic oil, do it. Otherwise, it’ll just be a waste of money with no improvement in the performance. In addition, you should totally avoid the synthetic fuel for some models such as rotary engines because the gasoline can damage the seals.

The owner’s manual will also suggest the weight of the oil. Modern cars commonly use 5w30 or lighter versions such as 5w20 and 0w20. So, using something heavier will affect the fuel economy and accelerate engine wear that eventually leads to damage and dysfunction.

Keeping The Filter Seal Dry

It’s one of the common mistakes when changing car oil by novice oil-changers. When you are filling it with oil, you have to spread some around the seal before tightening to the former position. Forget to do the lubrication, and you have to deal with a loose and leaky filter. Sometimes, it can even be unthreaded and dump all the oil.

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Not Changing The Drain Plug Washer

car oil change
Regular oil change is necessary for a car’s good health. (photo source: Pennzoil)

Cars manufactured in European countries feature a metal washer to seal the oil drain plug. It breaks once you tighten the plug, so you cannot use them for the second time. It’s mandatory to replace it. Otherwise, the oil will leak through the broken seal.

If the vehicle has a disposable oil filter cartridge, you have to change the cover O-ring during every oil change because it wears out and breaks pretty quick. Don’t forget to lubricate the O-ring with oil so that it does not crush at the time of tightening the filter.

Ignoring The Routine Maintenance

You have to take care of a few other things when changing the oil. Most of the DIY oil changers will call it a day just after filling the tank. The truth is it’s necessary to do some routine maintenance every time during an oil change. You should check the air filter and the fluid in power steering, transmission, engine coolant, and brake. It’s also recommended to grease the emergency brake and doors.

Changing car oil is not as simple as you thought!


You should not repeat these mistakes when changing car oil because recurrence of such incidents will wear off the engine and be hazardous for the vehicle. Make sure you haven’t been doing any of the steps wrong.

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  1. Steve says

    Awesome article

    1. Trang Tran says

      We are happy to receive your comments. Please share with your friends so they can enjoy this article, too.

  2. Ambrose says

    Good info

  3. Kalide Tavares says

    Good article…i would like to thank you for the information. i would like to use this way to ask you about the right reference of engine oil and gear oil for my Toyota Mark X 2005 GRX 120.

  4. DARIUS KABWE says

    I have a Mitsubishi Pajero engine type 4d56.What type of oil can I be using?I even need a turbo charger. It can be how much? Call me on 0953135198 or WhatsApp me on the same number.

  5. DARIUS KABWE says

    I will appreciate your help or support.

  6. Teddy siame says

    (1)Keep on giving us nessary information on how to maintain our vehicles we purchase from Japan and other manufacturing companies around the world.(2) please car manual book should in English so that people can understand the meanings and importa informations about the type of the car and the engine type how to service them be cause here in Zambia particularly most of the people don’t understand the Japanese manual book because of it’s written in Japanese language so it’s not easy for the people to follow a right precautions for the engines .

  7. Willis otieno says

    Always remember to clean and wipe oil filter and mounting place to check for oil leakage after changing oil filter. Before you drive off

  8. reagan chapia says

    1) whats wrong when the automatic transmission keeps jacking when engaging higher gears? 2) my cv joints keeps breaking especially when driving off road?

  9. Rop Kandie says

    I happen to be a very serious follower of your very important car-notes.
    I recently acquired a ‘new’ car with automatic transmission. For many years I drove manual cars.
    I desire to learn the details/ differences between D, D2 & L drives__ when/ where to apply each.
    When does one use Over drive (OD).
    What damages can be caused by incorrect use of these applications?

  10. Erick Simika says

    thank you for knowledge concern cars you have given us, continue to educated us

  11. Mathayo Bujenja says

    Thanx a lot for educating us about these mistakes we have been repeatedly making.Keep it on so as to save our vehicles

  12. Samwel says

    You educate me a lot thanks for that

  13. Erick Laigong says

    a very educative piece

  14. Kool Kool says

    Hi, If the owner manual is recommending 5W20 and i Use 5W40, How bad is that??

  15. Michael Mungai says

    Thanks for the education,knowledge is power.

  16. Joseph Mwangi Maina says

    Car from Japan you are the heroes in the field of locomotive

  17. Samasoni Nakala says

    Thank you for the advice, One question from here??? please??? What we should look for the light showing engine oil or the Kilometers ….

  18. davie says

    Keep the info flowing

  19. Hosea says

    Is it possible to purchase a Hammer car from you, by the way do you have them for sales??

  20. Jobe Ndimande. says

    Thank you for tips, learning is Good.

  21. Indika Marasnghe says

    good info thank you


    nice to learn new things

  23. ledua vosa says

    I have a Nissan serena 2012 what type of oil should i use, at the moment im using 15w 40

  24. besa Kunda Kabati says

    Thanks for the education

  25. daniel kwambwa says

    the information was very helpful thanks

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