A Guide to Changing Your Vehicle’s Oil

Changing your own oil is a great way to save money, and it’s not as hard as you might think. In fact, with the right tools and some basic instruction, you can do it in just a few minutes. Plus, by doing it yourself, you know exactly what’s going into your car’s engine.

In this article, we present a step-by-step guide to changing your car’s oil.

Grab Your Tools and Prepare the Car

Before you start changing your oil, make sure you have all these requisite tools:

  • Car jack
  • Car jack stands
  • Socket wrench
  • Rubber gloves
  • Old towel/blanket to catch loose oil
  • Sturdy oil drain pan
  • Oil
  • Oil filter
  • Funnel
  • Paper towels

Before you get your car up on a jack, it’s helpful to run your car for a minute or so to ensure that the oil in your car is warm. You want your car to be turned off when you put it up on the jack, but if the oil is warm, it will flow out easier.

Your car probably came with a jack of some kind and in most cases, this should be sufficient to lift your car and work underneath it. If your jack cannot raise your car enough to place the oil drain pan underneath it and still leave you enough room to work, find a jack that can. It’s also a good idea to use a car jack stand to ensure your car won’t fall on top of you. Once your car is up, you can begin draining the oil.

Drain Your Oil

The first thing you’ll need to do is drain your oil. As stated earlier, you need to run your car for a bit before you begin draining, so that your oil pours out smoothly.

Place the oil drain pan beneath the plug in your car’s oil pan. You should be able to locate a lone bolt called the drain plug. This may look different on various vehicles, so check your car’s manual if you’re unsure. Make sure that the oil drain pan is directly underneath this plug and ready to catch all the oil as it comes out of your car before you move on.

Place some rubber gloves on before you continue. The oil inside your car will be very hot. Use a socket wrench to loosen the drain plug. Once it’s loose, unscrew the drain plug the rest of the way by hand. Once it’s loose, try to remove the drain plug as quickly as possible to minimize oil spillage.

Once the oil starts flowing into the oil drain plan, let your vehicle empty entirely. Use a paper towel to wipe off the underside of your vehicle. Replace the drain plug and move on to the next step.

Remove and Replace the Oil Filter

You’ll want to replace your oil filter next. When you remove your oil filter, some more oil will still come out of your vehicle, so be sure to move the oil pan underneath your oil filter. Oil filters come in a couple of different types. Some are in self-contained units that you can unscrew by hand. Other replacement filters are made of paper. For these, you unscrew a cap, slide out the paper filter, replace the new one, and reseal it. Be sure to check your car’s manual for specifics. Once your drain pan is in place, follow these steps:

  • Unscrew the old oil filter. If your car uses the paper filters, loosen the plastic cover and remove the old paper filter.
  • Let the opening drain completely.
  • Wipe off the opening with a paper towel.
  • While wearing gloves, dab your finger in the oil pan and run some oil along the rim of the new oil filter (if using the paper filter, skip this step).
  • Replace the filter and hand-tighten the seal.

Once again, be sure to wear gloves throughout this entire process. While the amount of oil that will pour out of the filter will be less than there is in the oil pan, you can still accidentally burn yourself if you’re not careful. Once your oil filter is replaced, wipe off both the filter and the pan once more to avoid in drips.

Refill Your Oil

Once everything underneath the car is sealed, you can refill your oil. Your car’s manual should tell you how much is needed. If you bought the 4-5L jug from the parts store, you should have enough for most vehicles, but always check to be sure. Most jugs also have a measure on their handle that you can use to see how much oil is left. This is helpful for seeing how much you’ve poured already. To refill your oil:

  • Remove the oil cap from the top of your car (the oil symbol will probably look something like this).
  • Place a funnel inside the hole.
  • Begin to pour oil into the funnel until you’ve added the amount specified by your owner’s manual.
  • Replace the cap and hand-tighten it.

Once you’ve filled your car with oil, you can take it off the jacks and turn the engine on. Let it run a bit to cycle the oil through your system. After a few minutes, turn your car off and check your dipstick to ensure that the levels are where they need to be. Do this by pulling out the dipstick, wiping it off with a paper towel, re-inserting it, and pulling it out a second time. If the oil level is between the two dots on the end, you’re good to go.

Dispose of the Oil in an Approved Facility

Dumping car motor oil in an unapproved area is illegal and can have consequences including, but not limited to, fines, community service, and jail time depending on your area. Thankfully, it’s relatively easy. Many auto parts stores and some gas stations will allow you to bring in your oil and they will dispose of it for you.

For simpler transportation, pour the old oil from the drain pan into the now-empty container in which you bought your new oil. Once you’ve emptied the drain pan, seal the jug and take it to a store that accepts used oil. Then, enjoy your freshly oiled car and feel all good about doing things for yourself.

Nono’s 76


Related Posts