How to Change Your Oil in 6 Easy Steps
Are you tired of shelling out your precious ducats for an oil change every month? Are you also thinking of changing your oil but afraid to get your hands dirty or that you don’t have the technical know-how to get the job done?
I’m here to tell you that changing your oil requires very little mechanical expertise and can be accomplished in around 30 minutes even by someone with no automotive experience. Just follow the simple steps outlined below, but first, you will need the following supplies before you get started:
- Oil filter
- Oil filter wrench, in case the oil filter is too tight
- Wrench or ratchet and socket for the drain plug
- drain pan
- ramps or a jack and safety stands if your vehicle has a low ground clearance
Step 1: Check the Amount and Weight of Oil Needed
Before you rush in all gung ho, you’re going to want to know the weight and amount of oil you need to do the oil change. You can find this through a quick Google search of your vehicle’s make and model or you can sift through the owner’s manual if you still have it. It’s entirely up to you.
Now that you know the type and amount of oil needed, you can proceed to the auto parts store to purchase your jugs of liquid gold. Stick with buying the quart-sized containers as you will find they are much easier to pour than the larger container sizes. Now would be a great time to purchase any other supplies listed above that you don’t already have as well.
Step 2: Lift Your Vehicle
You’re still not ready to change your oil quite yet as your engine will still be hot from the drive to the auto parts store. So, you’re going to want to go ahead and drive your vehicle up onto the aforementioned ramps.
Alternatively, you could grab a jack and lift your car, making sure the end of the jack is under the frame of the vehicle, and not under the bumper or some other part that will tear off if enough pressure is placed against it. If you go with this method, you will also need to use safety stands at each point you lift the vehicle; do not rely on the jack to hold up the vehicle.
Step 3: Drain the Old Oil
After lifting your vehicle, you should give your engine 20–30 minutes to cool off before attempting to drain the oil. The engine oil will be quite hot depending on how long you’ve been running the vehicle and could cause injuries.
You want to find your vehicle’s drain plug. A handy example photo of what one looks like is immediately below. You then want to use your wrench or ratchet and socket to loosen the drain plug after placing the oil pan below the drain plug. Now would also be a great time to be wearing those gloves mentioned above.
After all the oil drains from the plug, you’re going to want to grab your filter wrench and loosen the oil filter, making sure the drain pan is below it as well. The filter will have a small amount of oil inside it.
Step 4: Replace the Drain Plug and Oil Filter
This next part is extremely important so pay attention. If you do not replace the drain plug, all the new oil you just bought will go straight out of the drain and probably run across your driveway or yard. Make sure to replace the drain plug.
Also, make sure to install the new oil filter after lubing up its o-ring or you’re going to have a bad day. There is no need to tighten the filter beyond hand tight as the engine will produce suction on the filter.
Step 5: Lower Your Vehicle and Add the New Oil
At this point, you can back off the ramps or lower your vehicle with the jack. You’re going to want to remove your engine’s fill cap and get the funnel ready. You can then add the appropriate oil amount, replace the fill cap, and check the dipstick afterward.
Step 6: Dispose of Used Oil
You thought you were done, didn’t you? Well, you’re not. You still have to properly dispose of the used oil. The same auto parts store you got the oil from should take your oil waste at no extra charge.
Now, you’re done. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a cold one. You’ve earned it.