Intro: How to Change Your Car's Oil
There are many moving parts in a combustion engine. Because of this, it is essential that these moving parts are properly lubricated to limit the stress on these parts. Motor oil is the substance that keeps these parts from wearing away and proper oil maintenance is the key to prolonging the life of your car. Over time, dirt and debris accumulate inside an engine. When this occurs, the oil cannot properly do its job, which can ultimately seize the engine itself. It is important to change your oil about every 5,000 miles. This DIY will show you how you can change your oil yourself.
Step 1: What You Will Need
- Correct amount and weight of oil (specified in your car's manual)
- Correct oil filter (the correct filter will be given to you at any auto parts store)
- Oil catcher
- Oil filter wrench
- Ratchet set
- Car jack (if needed)
Step 2: Drain the Old Oil
Jack up the car if you are unable to get under it. If using a jack, make sure it is at the appropriate lift point as specified in the car's manual. Once you are under the car, locate the oil pan. It is a flat shaped part directly below the engine. When the oil pan is located, locate the drain plug on the oil pan. It is here where the oil will be drained. Place the oil catcher underneath the drainage plug. Using a socket wrench and the appropriate socket size, unbolt the drainage plug. Oil will drain into the oil catcher for a few minutes. When the oil is done draining, tighten the drainage plug back into place.
Step 3: Remove Old Oil Filter
Because the oil that is being changed old and of poor quality, the oil filter will also be changed. Underneath the car, there should be a cylindrical shaped object near the oil pan. This is the oil filter which is usually labeled. Place the oil catcher underneath the oil filter. Using the oil filter wrench, unscrew the oil filter from the engine. Oil will drain from the spot of the oil filter.
Step 4: Insert New Oil Filter
Now that the old filter has been removed, it is time to place in the new oil filter. When purchasing a new oil filter from an automotive parts store, ask an associate for the proper oil filter. You must be able to tell them the year, make, and model of the car. First, hand-tighten the oil filter into place. It is important that after the oil filter contacts the engine block, rotate the oil filter 3/4 of a full rotation. Notice that this is done by hand and not by the oil filter wrench.
Step 5: Add New Oil
It is important that you choose the correct oil viscosity and amount of oil that is appropriate for your car. This is specified in your car manual as well as on the oil cap above the engine. After replacing the oil filter, you can now lower the car if you used the jack. Open the hood and locate the oil cap on the engine. It is designated by the picture above. Using the funnel, slowly pour the correct amount of oil into the engine.
Step 6: Test for Leaks
Place the cap back onto the engine and start the car. Run it for about 30 seconds to a minute. While doing this, look under the car for any visible leaks, particularly from the oil filter and drainage plug. If there are no visible leaks, turn off the engine. Pull out the oil dipstick and wipe the end of it. Insert it back into the engine and take it out. Observe the oil level of the car and if it meets the appropriate level (as specified in the car manual), then you have successfully changed your oil. NOTE: it is important that you dispose the old oil to professionals.