Learning how to perform your own oil changes can be a great way to save money, and it is also one of the first steps to taking on your vehicle’s maintenance in a completely DIY way. There’s more to it than just understanding how to drain the oil, change the filter, and refill it, however. You also need to understand how to spot potential problems caused by parts that can wear out over time, because your oil change is a chance to put eyes on the engine and peripheral systems.
Often, oil leaks start on older vehicles because of small parts failures, not major maintenance issues. One common and easily replaceable part that leads to spills is the oil filter housing gasket, and once you understand what it does and where it is located, it’s easier to tell when it needs to be replaced.
Secure the Filter
The biggest job the housing gasket does for your vehicle is securing the oil filter. When it is working properly, it provides for a tight seal between the vehicle and the housing itself, so there are no leaks around the edges of the filter while oil is running through it. The gasket should work with any oil filter that fits the vehicle, but over time they do wear out, just like any other seal or gasket.
When they wear out, the solution is to order a new one alongside the STP oil filter you need for your next oil change. Swapping out the gasket when the oil is already drained and the filter is already being removed for replacement simplifies the job and makes it a small addition to the regular maintenance you have already scheduled.
Prevent Oil Spills
When the housing gasket does not do its job, oil leaks from the spot where your filter meets the housing. This can also happen if the filter is not seated properly, which is why it is a good idea to check on it sporadically between oil changes. If you have just put a new filter in place and you see a spill, you might have attached it incorrectly. If there is no spill for a couple weeks or a month after the last oil change and then one starts, it is more likely to be the gasket.
It is also worth checking out the entire vehicle whenever you notice oil spills or leaks. There are more seals and gaskets than just the filter housing gasket, and if you notice oil spots when you move the car but you don’t see signs of leakage around the filter, you may have a bigger issue to address. Oil can leak from bad seals and gaskets, parts that were not secured properly, and even cracks in the oil pan. Luckily, you can find standard replacement parts for just about any component that leaks oil at the same AutoZone locations you trust for basic maintenance supplies.
With a little practice, performing your oil changes at home can be a great way to save time and money, as well as a great way to learn about your car.