How to Change Your Car’s Oil All On Your Own
As the seasons change, you’ll need to address nagging maintenance needs, including everything from batteries and tires to fluids and brakes. One of the more obvious and pressing needs is to change your oil at regular intervals. But who has the time or the money for that? The shop always seems to be opened when you’re working and closed when you’re not, but you need to get it taken care of with the quickness. So what to do? Why not do it yourself? It’s easier than you’d think!
What You Need:
- Ratchet/open end wrench
- Oil filter wrench
- Oil drain pan
- Latex gloves
- New oil filter
- New Oil
- Clean rag
The first thing you’ll need to do is 1) ensure that you buy the right kind/amount/viscosity of oil by reading the owner’s manual and 2) give the car enough time to cool down enough after driving so as to prevent burning yourself on hot oil. If you need the room for clearance, get a jack and raise the car for better access.
- When beneath the car, find the oil filter and drain plug. Place the drain pan beneath the drain plug at a slight angle to account for the stream and any possible wind. Edmunds recommends removing the cap from there to help expedite the draining process. Put on your gloves, remove the drain plug with the hex end of a wrench (sizes will vary) and let the oil drain into the pan.
- Once all oil is drained out, replace the drain plug, then remove the oil filter with the oil filter wrench. Removing the filter will lead to something of a mess, so have the clean rag handy for this part.
- Once the filter is removed, drain that over the pan as well.
- Use the clean rag to clean excess oil away from the filter sealing surface where the new oil filter will then go.
- Smear a small bit of oil in the new filter’s O-ring and replace it using the oil filter wrench.
- From there, once everything is fastened tightly and re-secured, pour the necessary amount of oil into the engine.
- Replace the cap and turn the engine on for half a minute for circulation. After shutting the engine off, check for leaks. If all appears to be dry check the oil level with your dipstick once the car is level again.
If everything checks out, pat yourself heartily on the back: you managed to change your oil by yourself. Success! Of course, if you’re still not sure you can do it yourself, it’s quick and easy to schedule your service appointment online at most dealerships!