Getting your oil changed is something that the pros promise they can do in a jiffy, however, with every three thousand miles you drive, the price can add up quickly. You can save yourself some money by doing it yourself. An oil change is not as hard as you may think!
Prior to changing your oil, you will need to pick up some supplies at you favorite parts store. The first thing you will need is six quarts of oil. If your car manufacturer recommends a certain type, you should stick with that. Otherwise, choose a brand you know and trust. (Note- do not mix oil. If you have a quart or two of one brand already at home, make sure you purchase additional quarts of the same kind.) With every oil change, you should always change your oil filter as well. So, you will also need to pick up an oil filter for your particular car. In addition, you will need an oil pan to empty the old oil into. Your best bet is to purchase one that can seal so that you can easily take it to be recycled. And, if you don’t have one already, you could use an oil filter wrench.
After you purchase the necessary items, you are ready to start the oil change. First, elevate the vehicle off the ground using your car jack, just enough to access the underside of the engine. (Note: For added safety, make sure you are using a jack stand.) Remove the oil fill cap on the engine. Then, get underneath the engine. The oil pan covers the entire bottom of the engine, and this is what you will be draining from. Find the engine pan drain plug, which is shaped hexagonal (six sides). Place the oil pan you bought underneath. Next, use a socket wrench to loosen the drain plug. The oil will start to come out. Let this drain completely. Once drained, replace the plug and tighten.
Next, move the drain pan so it is under the oil filter. Use your oil filter wrench to rotate the filter counter-clockwise until it comes off. Once loosened, you’ll need to unscrew it from the engine with your hands. Once off, place in the oil pan- oil will drip out from the filter. Now, it’s time to put on the new filter. When you remove the new filter from the box, you’ll see a rubber gasket on the base. A good trick for easy removal in the future is to coat the gasket thoroughly with oil. When that’s done, screw the new filter onto the filter pipe tightly.
At this point, you’re done underneath, so you can let the car down. But first, get the oil pan and any tools out from under the vehicle. Next, fill the engine with five quarts of oil and put the cap back on. Then, check the oil level. You should see that it’s one quart high, and this is just because the filter is not yet full. Next, start the car and let the engine idle for about five minutes. This will allow the oil pump to pick up the new oil, and get it circulating. Also, check under the car to make sure the filter is not leaking any oil. Then, you can shut off the car and check the oil level once again. This time it should read, “full.”
You’re done! Just repeat these instructions in 3,000 miles!
Michael Walker is a freelance author providing tips and hints on engine related topics such as JDM motors, used import engines and engine swaps. His articles are a valuable source of information for the auto enthusiast.