Changing Your Own Oil

Changing oil is a simple job that everyone can do. You don’t need too many tools, and there’s no real skill involved. All you have to do is follow a simple procedure, and unless you get a really good deal at an auto shop, you’ll probably save a little money.

The Procedure

Although the layout of different vehicle’s engines will vary slightly, most are relatively the same, which means that you’d need to do the same steps to change the oil. Here are five steps you need to do to change your oil:

1. Unscrew the Oil Plug

Park your vehicle, and locate the oil pan. If you have trouble finding the oil pan, look in your owner’s manual. It should show you where the oil pan and drain plug are. If you can’t reach your oil pan or drain plug with your vehicle sitting on the ground, jack up your vehicle or drive it up on some ramps to reach the plug. Once you can reach it, use a socket wrench to remove it. Make sure to have a pan underneath the vehicle to catch the old oil before you unscrew the plug all the way.

2. Unscrew the Old Oil Filter

Get an oil filter wrench. In many cases, you can remove the oil filter by just grabbing hold of it and twisting. Remember: lefty loosie. If you have oil on your hands or the oil filter won’t turn off by hand, use the oil filter wrench. There are several kinds out there, so ask the guy at the auto place which one will work best on your vehicle. If you can’t get it off with the oil filter wrench, take a large screwdriver or a crowbar and pound it through the oil filter with a hammer, then twist it off.

3. Let the Old Oil Drain Out

Oil will drain from both the drain plug hole and where the oil filter threads on. Don’t get in a hurry. The oil will take a few minutes to drain out. You can spend this time admiring your work, or preparing the new oil filter by rubbing new engine oil on the rubber seal, and dumping a little bit of oil into the filter.

4. Screw In New Oil Filter and Drain Plug

Once all of the oil is drained out, screw the oil plug back into the oil pan. Then screw on the new oil filter. Be careful not to cross thread the new oil filter because it may leak if you do.

5. Fill It Up

After the plug and oil filter are screwed in tight, check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to find out the right amount of oil to put into your vehicle. Once you know the right amount of oil, find the oil fill cap, remove it, and start adding new oil. The oil fill cap will usually say “oil fill” on it, and will be located on the top of the engine. When you’ve added the right amount of oil to your engine, put the oil fill cap back on and you’re good to go.

Do not overfill your engine with oil.  Overfilling can lead to the shredding of important engine parts. Just don’t do it. Even if your vehicle has a slow oil leak.

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