Eight Steps to Quickly Change your Motor Oil
Eight Steps to Quickly Change Your Motor Oil
While making major repairs on your car may be out of the question, one task many people can learn to accomplish - in under half an hour - is to change their vehicle’s motor oil.
Why take the time to do this? For one thing, doing it yourself will save you money. You’ll also feel good about protecting one of your most important possessions since regular oil changes help prolong the life of your vehicle and protect your investment.
Your owner’s manual will specify how often you should change your motor oil, in part based on the mileage that your vehicle has accumulated.
Step #1: Gather your tools.
1. This first one is a "no-brainer" - the oil
2. Oil filter
3. If you need to raise your vehicle to get under it, you will need a jack and jack stand or a car ramp
4. A socket wrench and an oil filter wrench (if you can’t get the filter off by hand)
5. A funnel to make it easier to pour the oil in your engine
6. An oil pan or a similar container to catch the used oil (preferably heat-safe in case the oil is hot)
7. Newspapers or plastic sheeting
8. Rags and gloves
Buying your oil and filter could seem like an easy job, but when you stand in the aisle of your car store looking at the choices, you may get overwhelmed. What grade of oil do you need? What viscosity is best for your vehicle? How much of it will your car guzzle? And what kind of oil filter do you need? Thankfully, your owner’s manual should tell you all of that information. You’ll also need to be sure of your vehicle’s make, model, year, and engine size.
And remember, you get what you pay for. Purchase the highest quality oil and filter to make sure that your vehicle runs in top condition.
Now let’s get to the task at hand, changing the motor oil.
Step #2: Position your car
If your car engine is cold, start it and let it run for a few minutes to warm up the motor oil. Warm oil drains out more quickly.
Then park your car in a safe area, such as a level driveway or garage, turn off the engine, and apply the emergency brake. Level ground is important – you don’t want your car rolling away from you while you’re under it! If you like, you can spread plastic sheeting or newspapers under the vehicle to protect the pavement against spills.
If you don’t have enough room to get under the car, consider jacking it up. Never get under a car that is supported only on a jack. Make sure that you use some sort of jack stand or ramp to prop your car up. Additionally, put wheel chocks (or a large rock, brick, or some other sturdy item) behind the rear wheels.
Step #3: Get down and dirty
First, pop up the hood of your car and remove the oil filter cap, which may help the oil drain faster. Then get under your vehicle and find your vehicle’s oil pan. Once you’ve found it, put an oil catch pan or another similar container below it to catch the used oil. Make sure that the pan or container is large enough to hold all the old oil. Your owner’s manual will indicate how much oil you should expect to get out of your vehicle.
Step #4: Pull the plug and drain the oil
Locate the oil drain plug, which is simply a bolt on the oil pan. This is also the time to slip on those gloves if you’ll be using them. Loosen the bolt with a wrench or socket and then remove it by hand. Do this carefully because the oil may be hot.
The oil is going to pour out quickly, so be prepared! And keep a good grip on the drain plug so it doesn’t fall into your oil receptacle. Within a few minutes, the oil should have drained out.
Now’s an ideal time to inspect the oil pan threads, washer, and plug. Wipe them carefully with a rag and take a close look to verify whether they’re in good condition. When in doubt, replace them. Then put the plug back in and tighten it by hand or with a wrench or socket.
Step #5: Replace the oil filter
When you change your vehicle’s oil you also need to change the oil filter. Again, you should use your handy pan to catch any oil that may spill out. Place it under the oil filter and loosen the filter, using the oil filter wrench if needed. Then remove the oil filter and gasket. Allow any oil to drain out and wipe the opening.
Take the new oil filter and coat the rim with a bit of new oil. Then set the new oil filter in place and tighten the filter by hand.
Step #6: Fill ‘er up
Now you can wiggle out from under your vehicle and get under the hood. Remove the oil cap if you didn’t before. Using the funnel, pour in the amount of oil suggested in the owner’s manual. Don’t forget to put the oil cap back on and close the hood. If you needed to jack your vehicle up, you can now lower it.
Step #7: Rev your engine
Start your vehicle and let it run for a few minutes so that the oil finds its way through the engine. Then inspect underneath your vehicle to check for leaks. If you find any, turn off your vehicle and solve the leaky problem. If there are no leaks, turn your vehicle off anyway to check the oil level. It’s easy to check the oil level; pull out the dipstick, wipe it with a towel, insert it and then take it out a second time. If the level is low you will need to add more oil.
Step #8: Dispose of used oil
Remember to recycle the old oil to avoid polluting the environment (and to avoid getting fined by the authorities). You can generally find a nearby gas station or car parts store that will accept used oil. It may be easy to transport the used oil by just reusing the empty oil containers.