I started changing oil back in the 1990s when I owned a 1978 Ford Granada and continued on with newer cars. After 20 years, it remains an easy thing to do. Most people should be able to change their own oil quickly. Here are some tips to get started.
First, check to make sure you can work on your car at your home. Most apartment/condo complexes and HOAs do not allow any auto repair. Then, gather your tools: a drain pan, oil filter wrench, and a ratchet. Gloves, paper towel and jack-stands may also be needed. I’ve found that I could forgo jacking up the car if the drain plug was easily accessible. Put your parking brake and chocks for extra safety. You will also need a replacement oil filter, new plug gasket and possibly a new drain plug.
Warm up your engine for a couple of minutes. Open the cap at the top of the engine and position your drain pan under the drain plug. Be prepared to move the drain pan as the oil often spills out at an arc, at first. The drain plug may be difficult to remove and may require a breaker bar. Be careful not to strip the threads on the bolt hole.
While the oil is draining, grab your filter wrench and remove the filter. Most cars can accommodate a strap wrench, but some might not have the clearance. There are other types of filter wrenches that grab the end of the filter rather than strap around it. Be aware that the filter also contains oil and needs to be drained.
Prepare the new filter by putting oil around the seal. Hand turn the filter until snug. Then, turn it about ¾ a turn more. Replace the drain plug if necessary and put a new gasket around it. Tighten the plug with a ratchet or torque wrench to about 15-25 foot pounds.
Replace the oil through the oil filler at the top of the engine. A funnel may be needed. Be careful not over-fill the engine. Most cars take no more than four to five quarts. After checking for leaks, start the car and run it for a few seconds. Check the oil again when car cools down and add more if needed.
Be sure to dispose of your oil in a responsible manner. Many stores that sell automotive oils will often take in used oil and filters.