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The DIY oil change [INFOGRAPHIC]

It’s that time—again? Perhaps many things come to mind when you hear that phrase, but it’s time (drum roll please) for an oil change! OK, so maybe it’s not the most exciting item on your to-do list, but it is important and everyone knows why. Or do they?

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Oil change 101

Regular oil changes are a key factor in keeping a vehicle running smoothly. Think of oil as a vehicle’s lifeblood. Without oil an engine stands no chance of survival. But things are not that cut and dried. Oil changes need to be done on a timely schedule or major engine damage can occur. Why? Because engine oil has a big job to do and while carrying out these duties it can break down. Oil lubricates your car engine and acts as a cushioning film between metal parts. As it carries away the heat of friction, oil cools the engine neutralizing acids and preventing corrosion. In a nutshell, routine and on-schedule oil changes reduce the risk of sludge buildup and make an engine last.

Routine oil changes don’t have to be complicated even though car technology keeps advancing. Many car owners prefer to perform oil changes themselves finding the process to be quick, simple, and cost effective. The first rule of thumb is determining how often a car’s oil needs to changed. The best and most important thing to do is check your owner’s manual. It is the vehicle maintenance rulebook. Following the rulebook is crucial in a world governed by synthetic oils, efficient vehicles, and oil light sensors. Routine oil changes are important even for low mileage vehicles because oil needs to be kept fresh.

What happens after you’ve determined it is time to change the oil? You need the right oil and right filter. Choose the oil first and the filter next. Again, refer to the car owner’s manual for guidance. Carmaker’s oil recommendations may also be stamped on the car’s oil cap. Thin oil, like 5W, pumps well when cold but thins when hot. Thicker oil, like 30W, does not thin when hot but is nearly impossible to pump when cold. Multi-viscosity oil, such as 5W-30, gives the best of both worlds. These are very general guidelines, so always follow the carmaker’s recommendations! Substituting recommended oil viscosity with personal preference could lead to engine damage, poor performance, or a “check engine” warning.

“Using the wrong oil viscosity is the single most common cause of premature engine wear.”

DIY experts of the Family Handyman Magazine

Always match the oil filter to the oil viscosity. Filters come in different quality levels comparable to good, better, and best.  Lower rated oils match up fine with a lower rated filter. Likewise, higher rated or synthetic oils require a higher quality filter.

The process

There are some guidelines to follow before beginning an oil change. A cold car engine should be run for 5 minutes or so to warm the oil. A hot car engine should be cooled for at least 30 minutes. Remember safety first when performing a DIY oil change. Drive the vehicle onto a level and protected surface. Place the car in park, apply the parking brake, and remove the keys. Using proper jacking and blocking techniques, safely support and secure the vehicle. After this crucial step is checked off the list, you are ready to begin.

  • Put the following tools in a small box: safety glasses, box-end wrench, rubber mallet, filter wrench, drain pan, new filter, and rags. You will need these when working under the car.
  • Smear clean oil on the new oil filter’s gasket.
  • Put on safety glasses and slide underneath the car.
  • Place drain pan underneath oil plug.
  • Carefully unscrew the drain plug using a box-end wrench and rubber mallet if needed. Do not use an adjustable wrench or too much force to prevent stripping!
  • Allow old oil to completely flow into drain pan.
  • Remove oil filter and rubber gasket using a filter wrench.
  • Wipe oil filter housing clean.
  • Install new oil filter and tighten snuggly by hand. Do not use a filter wrench.
  • Install new gasket on drain plug if required. Tightly reinstall drain plug using box-end wrench.
  • Clean up any oil drips with rag.
  • Refill engine using a funnel.
  • Run engine briefly.
  • After a few minutes check dipstick and add oil if needed.
  • Pour used oil into a container and recycle it.


You have now completed a do it yourself oil change. There is just one more thing. Oil is not the only fluid in your vehicle, so don’t forget to maintain the others. This is the perfect opportunity to top off washer, brake, transmission, and other fluids as well. Always check with a trusted auto technician if you have any vehicle maintenance questions.

Treatment foster care is changing lives one boy and girl at a time

He woke up thinking maybe today would be different, perhaps better. His to-do list was pretty much routine by now. Get the kids up. Find them something clean to wear. Check their homework. Make sure they are fed. Walk everyone to school. Maybe even squeeze in a shower himself before planning tonight’s dinner and leaving for the day. But first he had to check on his mom whose bedroom was down the hall. At least that’s where she should be. His adrenaline began to pump as he wondered whether she came home last night.

What will he find on the other side of that door? Will she be conscious? What if she had finally overdosed?  Or will this be the day the police come knocking on the front door to take her away? He has huge burdens to endure at 16 years old, but he doesn’t have the capability to make it any better.

Drug abuse triggers a child’s cry for help

Many youth live in a world filled with this kind of trauma and uncertainty. They don’t know what life could have been – or should have been – because their parents are addicted to alcohol or drugs. Many minors live in homes of filth and neglect where drug paraphernalia and empty heroin bags are hidden about. Sometimes they witness their parent overdose, as was the case when two very young Portage County children were in the car with their mother as she pulled to the side of the road and died in front of them.

Children affected by parent overdose

The number of drug-related endangerment cases is rising significantly across Wisconsin. One in every five parent-child separations reported to the state in 2015 involved drugs. In 2016, several counties including Fond du Lac, Portage, Marathon, and La Crosse have reported that drug abuse separations have doubled from averages over the past several years combined. In Outagamie County, neglect and parent or caretaker incarceration or drug use are currently some top reasons kids are placed into foster care. Repeated times the neglect is not deliberate. Perhaps a child’s parent or guardian was hospitalized due to poorly treated mental illness or the family was having socioeconomic problems. Whatever the circumstance, these youth live in an unsafe home environment and someone needs to step in and help.

Foster care programs are set up to temporarily support children in need and provide stable environments until they can be reunified with their own family. All too often we hear negative stories about the foster care system while success stories seem to fall by the wayside. Foster parents are vital in providing a strong family environment and stable foundation to neglected youth.  They give children a safe haven, which is a life altering and often times a lifesaving gift.

Foster Care parents help youth

The Rawhide foster care difference

The need for foster care parents in Wisconsin continues to rise. Tammy Curtis, Treatment Foster Care Manager at Rawhide, states there are currently 8,000 Wisconsin youth in out-of-home care. None of these children are receiving parental care. Tammy explains that foster parents are pivotal in providing understanding, healthy guidance, and a loving home to children who have endured trauma, also known as adverse childhood experiences or ACEs. Foster care parents provide support for a child. They are the ones who cheer on the child at sporting events and awards ceremonies during times when the bleachers would otherwise be empty. Foster parents make a difference when many children are going through the worst times of their lives.

Teen Girl in difficult home life

Rawhide’s Treatment Foster Care program is distinct. Parent education and training are a key component. All of our foster care parents hold college degrees. Before becoming foster parents they receive 60 hours of training for Level 3 and Level 4 care. This is more training than foster care licensure requires. A great deal of time goes into matching the right child with the right home through home visits. We want the child’s personality to be a good match to those in the home so parents are able to connect to their foster child as if he or she is their own. Foster care offers these children opportunities for family together time. For many, this is the first time they get up together with both parents, eat together as a family, and are able to enjoy the little things that dysfunctional homes simply don’t have.

Each and every foster care child comes from a unique home situation and circumstance. He or she is not a number – he or she is a child. Rawhide provides foster care to girls and boys throughout Wisconsin and is committed to helping youth and families in need.

If you would like more information on our Treatment Foster Care Program or are interested in becoming a foster care parent with Rawhide, please call 1-888-745-7445 or e-mail Tammy Curtis at tcurtis@rawhide.org.

2017 Iola Car Show celebrates 45th Anniversary

Where can you find 2,500 incredible show cars, amazing live entertainment, and a massive swap meet all wrapped up in friendly Midwestern hospitality? At the 2017 Iola Car Show of course! Iola, normally just a small dot on the map, annually becomes the 3-day home to over 120,000 attendees. The event offers something for every age group. This year – the car show team unveiled a beautiful memorial dedicated to the Iola Car Show founder, the late Chet Krause. 2017 also marked the 50th Anniversary of Pontiac’s landmark Firebird. These beauts added a special flair to the event.

There are always new sights and sounds at each car show. The first annual Miss Iola Pinup Contest featured 25 contestants who embraced the hair, fashions, and personas of the 1940s-1960s. Don’t fret; it was a family friendly event. Contestants were judged on poise, personality, confidence, style, and the way they embraced the era. The winner was named Miss Iola Blue Ribbon 2017.

A sea of cars like a painted rainbow

Rawhide representatives are always honored to be part of the car show, meeting wonderful people from all across the nation. As we rode past gate after gate, we were able to observe the vastness of the car show. It’s one thing knowing the event is held on 300 acres, but another to actually see it. Incredible! We could see every color of the rainbow in the sea of cars that were harbored in the car corrals. From blossoming yellow to tranquil teal, the grounds were painted like the beauty of a sunrise.

Sea of cars at Iola

A closer look of our surroundings revealed classic cars that took people back to the ‘good old days’ and modified ones that left people in wonder. Can you imagine the creativity it took to turn a manure spreader into a working vehicle? Look a-likes from Jurassic Park, Dukes of Hazzard, The Munsters, and Cars catered to a different kind of audience. Doc Hudson, a replica of the Fabulous Hudson Hornet, and Tow Mater, the lovable rusty tow truck, looked so real we thought we were in Radiator Springs.

Cars from movies Iola

Rawhide headlines annual car giveaway

Rawhide again donated a vehicle to be given away at the car show. Our white 1999 Pontiac Firebird sat right in front of our booth adorned with a giant red bow. The bow was whisked away in the Friday afternoon storms, but neither rain nor hail could dampen the hopes and spirits of those who came to enter. For three days we accepted over 2200 entries for a chance to win the car. Entries were dropped in the drawing box folded, unfolded, and even sealed with good luck kisses. We shared a lot of laughs with those who wanted to know “the winning strategy.” The car was given away on the last day of the show at the Super Saturday Give Away. The lucky winner was from Tomahawk, WI.

People came to our booth for reasons other than entering to win that cool, shiny car. We met so many of our donors, many of whom we’ve only spoken to on the phone. It was wonderful to put faces to their names and voices! We also made new friends from around the country. Most people walked up to our booth, but one energetic fella rode up on a motorized cooler. Iola Car Show – it truly has it all.

Rawhide at Iola

Food, camping, and concerts

The Iola Car Show is the biggest nonprofit car show and swap meet in the world and the excitement is not unlike that of a carnival. With 4,200 vendors selling that rare car part or hidden treasure, the swap meet is every car lover’s dream come true. It’s not unusual to see someone walking through the crowd carrying a tire rim or replica license plate. And what compliments a well-run car show? Food! Oh, the food. Our booth was in the perfect spot to enjoy the wonderful aroma of the chicken dinners, brats, burgers, pizza, deep-fried cheese curds, etc. And don’t forget the ice cream!

As the car show came to an end each evening, some took the bus back to their camp site just down the road to relax, while others stuck around and enjoyed the Iola Car Show concerts held Friday and Saturday night. The concerts were a new feature and huge hit in 2016. Brought back again this year, they are free to all attendees, volunteers, vendors, and exhibitors.

When the Saturday music hit its final note and everything was said and done, it doesn’t matter if you attended the Iola Car Show for your first time or your 40th, the unique atmosphere is sure to keep you coming back again and again.

School stress, a closer look at the peril of academic pressure

The countdown is on! As May comes to a close, so does the hustle and bustle – and stress – of the school year. Ask any student how many school days are left. The answer will come without hesitation.

School stress begins early. Preschoolers fear detachment from their parents. Kindergartners stay at school for an entire day. As students get older, stress levels increase dramatically.

Four causes of school stress

College brings definitive changes to a young adult’s life. It is a great time of excitement but can also lead to much stress.

  • For many students, it is the first time living away from parents and family. Everything is foreign and a bit daunting.
  • A college education comes with a high price tag. With student loans and ever rising debt, no student is exempt from financial burden.
  • Ask a college student, “What are you majoring in?” and watch the facial expression. The decision is life changing.
  • Academic stress “may be the most long-term cause of stress” in a college student.


Students attend college to learn, but the stressors are usually more intense than anticipated. This leads to performance issues and takes a toll emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Almost two-thirds (64%) of the students who drop out of college do so for mental health reasons.

– The National Alliance on Mental Illness

It’s important to note that stress, anxiety, and depression are different things.  Stress is a feeling to a certain situation. Anxiety is a response to the stress.  Depression is a chronic state of feeling down. Stress can lead to anxiety and depression, which is why coping with stress is so important. Here’s an example. Students feel stressed because of a situation, such as finals. Anxiety or depression can set in when burdened with overwhelming stress. Stress affects people negatively when it occurs frequently or long term. Did you know that some short term stress is actually beneficial? Short bursts of stress are linked to improved cognitive performance, a stronger immune system, and less social anxiety.

Student Studying

Study drugs and behavioral dangers

Some students experience relentless stress during finals and will do whatever it takes to get through the week. Many stay up for 24 hours straight struggling with extra workloads. They drink highly caffeinated drinks to stay awake as one sleepless night turns into another, leading to dangerous states of sleep deprivation. As some turn to caffeine, others turn to study drugs to get through finals. Study drugs, also called focus drugs, are stimulant medications prescribed for ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) patients but used for non-prescribed purposes. The misuse and abuse of these drugs is illegal, but the trend continues to magnify. A study in USA Today found:

Nearly one-third of college students have participated in the misuse of stimulant prescription drugs at least once while attending college.

– Center of Young Adult Health and Development

Students say drugs like Ritalin, Adderall, or Vyvanse block out distractions helping them focus on their work. High doses of these drugs can cause an irregular heartbeat, seizure, or heart attack. To users, concern over serious side effects is almost nonexistent. Put yourself in this situation. A close friend approaches you. He is sleep deprived from studying through two sleepless nights, has one final left, and needs a grade of 90% to pass the course. He begs you for just one of your prescription Adderall pills and offers you $20. What would you do?

Adderall pills

How helicopter parents increase the concern

Why is there such a big concern with grades? Students need high GPAs to compete for better scholarships and graduate school acceptance. Many students say they fear academic failure, and 59% of students say they feel pressure from their parents to succeed academically. Sometimes the issue is directly related to helicopter parenting:

College students with helicopter parents reported significantly higher levels of depression and less satisfaction in life.

– Journal of Child and Family Studies

How do well-meaning parents add to school stress? An adult child’s independence is decreased when parents stay too excessively involved. As a college student, he or she begins to lack confidence and problem solving capabilities due to constant parent hovering, leading to psychological issues and low self-esteem because the student doesn’t know how to deal with failure on his or her own.

By instinct, parents want to protect their kids, and sometimes the line between compassion and overstepping boundaries becomes blurred. Parenting is difficult! It is a blessing for parents to love, nurture, and support their child during school stress. Continue to do so with guidance. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5).