Performing an oil change is one of those easy to do jobs that most people shy away from doing themselves, even though they have no idea what it entails.
For some reason or the next, they feel it’s something that can only be done by a professional when in reality, an oil change is one of the easiest car maintenance tasks out here. Worst case scenario, you’ll make a mistake and mess up your driveway, but even that is easy to avoid by simply spreading a tarp or a large enough oil pan underneath the vehicle. If you’re thinking about buying a car, this is a good skill to have.
I won’t try to explain how easy it is any further, I’ll leave you to be the judge.
What you’ll need:
- 4-5 quarts of oil. Consult your vehicle manual or your dealer for the type of oil you should be using as well as the amount.
- Oil filter
- Oil pan or a bucket.
- Tarpaulin (not required, but recommended especially for your first time)
- Wrench (depends on the size of your drain plug)
How to change the oil
- Start the vehicle and let it idle for 5 minutes. This will let the oil warm up and flow quicker.
** if the vehicle is already warm, this doesn’t need to be done.
- Depending on your vehicle, you may need to jack it up. After jacking it up, place the chassis or some other sturdy area of the vehicle safely on some jack stands. This is a safety procedure because the jack may fail at any moment while you’re under the vehicle, even though you won’t be under there long (better safe than sorry).
** the vehicle should be already be off before this stage.
- Place the oil pan or bucket underneath where the drain plug is. If you’re using a tarpaulin as well, place this first before oil pan.
- Use the wrench to loosen the drain plug. When it is loose enough, continue unscrewing with your hand. Don’t let it fall into the oil pan or you’ll have to search around in all that oil when it’s time to replace it.
- Let the oil drain until it’s no longer dripping. It will continue to drip somewhat but use your discretion.
- Replace the drain plug and tighten the bolt. Do not over-tighten.
- Find the oil filter and place the oil pan below the filter.
- Unscrew the oil filter. When you do this, there will be some fluid that leaks out from the filter and the part of the engine it’s connected to. This is why we place the oil pan below the area.
- Wipe the area where the filter was connected to and make sure it’s smooth and free of any gasket residue.
- Take the new filter and rub some oil around it’s gasket. This will help it to seal better.
- Screw on the new filter. Make it snug. Once again, do not over-tighten.
- Lower the vehicle and pour the new oil into the engine and check the oil level as you pour.
- Replace the oil cap, start the engine and look for leaks around the drain plug and oil filter.