Home: Mustang Tech: Maintenance and Tune Up: Oil change
Oil change

Summary:

Changing one's own oil can save a lot of money over years of extensive driving.
Only basic tools are required, such as:
Jack and Jack stands
Wrenches or sockets (the size of the drain plug)
An oil filter wrench ( can either be a strap with a handle, a metal band that closes around the filter or a shallow cup that goes over the end of the filter.
Drain Pan
And of course new oil (most Mustangs require 5 quarts with filter., some are more due to bigger oil pans or oil coolers with accumulators.)

Details:

Now for the fun part... To get the oil to flow a little better, the engine should be warm. If you are running a motor flush, pour in the oil fill tube and run the car for 5 minutes as per instructions.. do not drive the car, just let it idle. Then shut off the vehicle. Jack up the vehicle and putting a pair of jackstands under a sturdy part of the car (control arms, frame, crossmembers) they all work.. just dont want the car to crush you. Crawl under the car and locate the oil pan. Bolted directly to the bottom of the engine, the oil pan contains the majority of the oil during operation as a surplus to run through the motor. I know for a fact that 94-95 Mustangs had 2 drain plugs due to the U-shaped pan. Most have one... Find the correct size wrench or socket and turn the drain plug counter-clockwise (left) it will probably be snug so apply smooth even pressure, try not to jerk it because the car could slide off the jack. once the drain plug is broke free, slide the drain pan under the plug and take the plug out the rest of the way.. just before the last thread, make sure you have a good grip on the drain plug otherwise it will fall into a pool of oil and you have to go fish. Take caution not to have your face too near, be cause the oil will be heated. allow that to drain until it stops consistant dripping.
Before putting the drain plug back in, inspect the gasket (neoprene,copper,rubber or paper) and make sure its still intact for future reference. These can be gotten at any auto parts store. wipe the pan and the drain plug to remove any dirt so you get a good seal. Tighten the drain plug until it stops spinning with out force... after this you will only want to turn the wrench/ratchet another 1/8-1/4 turn. you want it snug but not so much that you strip it or that its impossible to get off next time.
Locate the oil filter. On most of the Ford's I've seen, they are on the driver's side. it will be higher up on the engine. The K&N oil filter already has a nut on it for easy removal, but for the rest, use the oil filter wrench and once again rotate counter-clockwise until it breaks free. After this you can spin off with your hand. The filter can be heavy if you've had your arm up and all the blood ran out of it, but it really only weighs about a pound. You will want the drain pan under this as well. the filter will be full of oil so do not turn upside down until it is over the oil pan. This will not drain as long. On the new oil filter you won't use the wrench to tighten it, because that can cause leaks. you just spin it on and get it as snug as you can with your hands so you want to wipe off excess oil off your hands...before putting the filter up, fill it about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way with new oil to prevent dry starts. also take a little bit and rub on the rubber seal that meets up with the engine. this helps with sealing... Tighten up the filter. Don't over-do it tho.
You are half done now. Slide the pan and jackstands out from under the car, and lower the car. Open the hood and locate the oil fill tube. Most times it will have oil written on it, or the infamous 710 joke, meaning it's upside down. If you need a funnel use one, you don't need oil on the engine when it gets hot.. it will smell and cause a lot of smoke.. but wont really harm anything if in small amounts. Pour in the correct amount of oil for the engine (your owners manual or parts stores can tell you the engine capacity if you need to know. For engines over 75,000 miles I recommend switching the oil to 20W50. This is thicker oil and will help protect the engine better. Now would be an optimal time to add your favorite additive. My last change I used a can of Engine Restore and a bottle of Z-max. My engine holds 7 qts. so i know it will be fine.. but for normal cars, just one of either will be fine since they break down in molecule form. Once you get all the oil in, replace the oil fill tube cap and locate the oil dipstick. Usually a yellow handle, pull it out and wipe it off with a rag or paper towel. Replace the dipstick in the tube, all the way down and pull it back out. Look at the markings on the end and make sure the oil is in the proper zone. Put the dipstick back and start the car... let the car run for about 10 minutes you can drive it at this time but don't drive hard. This allows the oil to circulate through the heads and the entire engine and lubricate the moving parts.. another reason why stop and start is tough on an engine, it doesnt have time to lube itself.
Congratulations on your first oil change!

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