Changing your oil is the single most important thing you can do to minimize wear and tear on your engine over the life of your car. It is not necessary to have it professionally done because you can easily do it yourself. For the cost of about six oil changes, you can get the equipment you need to do it yourself.
The equipment you will need is:
- A floor jack
- Two jack stands
- An oil pan
- Clean shop rags
- A funnel
- A wrench that fits the size of your oil pan nut
- An adjustable filter wrench or an old bike tire or weather stripping
- Enough oil to fill your pan according to the manufacturer’s recommendation
- An oil filter - friends don’t let friends buy Fram
The first thing to do is prepare the car to be jacked. Jacking up the car will take about half the time of the oil change, but it is a very important step.
- If the car is a manual transmission, put it in first gear or reverse. If it is an automatic, put it in Park.
- Put chocks under both of the back wheels.
- Locate the jacking points. There is one near the front wheels on the driver’s side. It needs to be a solid part of the frame not anything plastic.
- When the jack is in place, raise it until it just touches the jacking point, make sure it is steady and begin jacking up the car.
- The car should not be jacked too high. Just enough to get the jack stands underneath and give you room to maneuver when you are under the car.
- Once the car is up, the jack stands can be placed. Do not get under the car until it is supported by both jack stands. Always use two jack stands and never try to change oil with just a jack.
Change the Oil
Open the hood and take the cap off the oil pan. Shake the car to make sure it is solid and then get under the car.
The oil pan is usually on the passenger side of the car. Make sure you know where it is and don’t drain your transmission oil my mistake.
Find the plug and use a wrench that is the right size. An adjustable wrench could strip the plug.
Position the pan under the plug. The oil could be hot so it is a good idea to wear gloves.
First, break the seal on the oil plug and then loosen it by hand. Watch that the washer doesn’t fall into the oil. The oil will start to pour out. It is a messy business and if any spills on to the driveway, it should be cleaned immediately so it doesn’t drain in to the sewers.
When the oil has drained to a slow drip, put the plug back on by hand first and then with the wrench. Be careful not to over-tighten it. Wipe the plug clean with a rag.
Replace the Filter
First, pre-fill it half way with oil and spread some oil on the rim
Locate the old oil filter directly above the oil pan and unscrew it by hand. If it won’t unscrew by hand, use the tire tube, weather stripping to wrap around the filter to give an easier grip or use an adjustable wrench.
Position the oil pan under it because there will be oil spill when it comes off. When it is off, put it in the new filter’s box so it can be recycled.
Before putting the new filter on, make sure the old rubber gasket is still there. Don’t over tighten, just hand tightened is enough.
You can now lower the car and put the new oil in. Don’t overfill. It is better to under-fill than overfill. When you are finished, check the oil level with the dip-stick.