How Do I Change My Car's Oil

Changing car oil is a lost art among young people, as it’s much easier to drop off the car at the dealer and have them do it for a fee. With this guide, TorqueNews will aim to answer that never ending question; how do I change my own oil?

Before the guide progresses any further, one needs to ask themselves a few questions. Do you enjoy getting dirty and working in the garage? Do you have your own set of tools? Do you know, at least a little bit, about the inner workings of a vehicle? If not, it might just be simpler to pay somebody to change that black liquid.

Now, those of us working at this site realize that this task might be a chore for some, while for others it can be as enjoyable as watching football or drinking beer. On top of the good old handy man feeling one gets, changing your own oil can save car owners serious amounts of money. Some places can charge up to $30 for an oil change, money that could be spent on beer or other various items. A quick run to the local auto parts store, or even Wal-Mart, is all it takes to pick up a $5 filter and some oil.

Before getting started on changing your car's oil, be sure you have these items.

- A 3/8-drive socket set
- A combination wrench set
- An oil filter wrench
- A tub to put the old oil in
- A funnel
- Some old newspapers to lie down
- A new oil filter
- Some oil

Step One –

Park your car on a nice flat spot on the driveway and let it run for a bit to get the oil nice and warm. This will make it nice and thin, helping it drain more completely from the engine block. This process shouldn’t take that long and when the vehicle’s temperature gauge begins to climb, the oil is ready.

Step Two –

Shut the car off and park it with the emergency brake engaged. Be sure to wear some dirty clothes because this job is going to get a tad messy. For safety purposes, place some blocks on both sides of the tires to avoid the car rolling.

On most cars, one should be able to slide under it and locate the oil drain plug. If the vehicle sits too low, use a jack. Raise the car up to the desired height and place some jack stands.

The oil drain plug should be the lowest thing to the ground, as it’s a fairly large nut with a washer under it. Be sure that the nut you’re looking at is the oil one, as the transmission drain plug can be a clever decoy. If you can’t tell from looking, feel the area around the plug, as the surrounding spots around the oil plug will be a lot hotter.

Once the drain plug is located, grab your socket wrench and find the one that fits perfectly over the nut.

Step Three –

Once the correct sized socket is found, place it over the nut and begin to turn counter-clockwise. Sometimes the nut can be a tricky little devil so be sure to use some force. Once the nut starts to move, be sure not to loosen it up to much, as you don’t want oil to spill everywhere.

Step Four –

Take an old newspaper and spread it under the car. After this step is complete, locate the oil filter and find the drain pan to slide under the drain plug. Place it in a location that will allow the oil to easily flow into the pan. Turn the plug and the oil will start to spill out. This process should only take around two minutes.

Step Five –

Take your socket wrench and equip it with the oil filter wrench, which is like a metal dog collar. Place it over the oil filter and turn counter-clockwise. This shouldn’t require too much force but there will be hot oil in there, so be careful. Slip it off and drain the oil into the pan and place the filter on the newspaper right-side-up.

Step Six –

Open the oil filler cap under the hood, as it will allow for easier oil draining. At this point, one can wait and take a break, or keep going. Let’s just keep going for this articles sake, but you can easily take an hour break if needed. Use some of the old oil and rub it on the rubber gasket on the bottom of the filter. This will help it seat better against the engine block. Take the new filter and place it over the post and turn it till it’s tight.

Step Seven –

If possible, use a new washer to seal the drain plug, but this isn’t necessary. Put the washer in its place and thread the drain plug back into its spot. Make sure it’s tight, but not too tight. Take the old oil and place it in some old milk jugs or an oil disposal unit. Be sure to read up on your states oil disposal laws.

Step Eight –

Take a clean funnel and place it over the oil filler hole and start to pour in as many quarts as the manufacturer recommends. This shouldn’t take long and you can use this waiting time to clean up and place the old oil in the trunk. Once the car is full of new oil, be sure to take the old stuff to an oil-recycling center.

That should about do it and now your baby has had a cost saving oil change.

Share this content.

Sign-up to our email newsletter for daily perspectives on car design, trends, events and news, not found elsewhere.