As you watch your speedometer and that magic number approach, you may get a sense of unease about changing your oil. Concerns ranging from potential cost to being out of a vehicle for a full day are enough to make anyone’s head spin. I’m here to tell you there is no reason to worry. You can save some money and do it yourself in no time.
Step 1: Educate Yourself
Hey, you’re here, reading this, so you’ve already proven that you’re willing and ready to learn. The next portion of this step is to dig in your glove box and take out your owner’s manual. That lovely booklet is full of useful information about what type of oil you need and how much your vehicle takes–and more specifically what weight, the last thing you want to do is mess up your engine by buying the wrong oil so read carefully and make sure to take in all the information that you can.
Step 2: Heading to the Automotive Store
Now that you’ve done all your background research, you’re ready to get some supplies. Obviously you’ll need your oil–it may be tempting to get a larger container rather than several small ones, but I find that the smaller ones are easier to handle. You’ll also need an oil filter, wrenches to remove the filter and drain plug, a funnel, rubber gloves, and drain pan–I recommend one with a screw on lid for easy transport to the recycling center.
Step 3: Changing the Oil
Your vehicle should be turned off, but keep in mind that you don’t want it to be too hot or too cold. Either will make the process more difficult and dangerous.
NOTE: Put your oil pan at an angle from the plug because it will drain at an angle. Also keep in mind any wind that might be in your area.
Next, use your wrench to slowly remove the drain plug. If you do this too quickly, you risk getting really messy or worse, burned by hot oil.
When you’re finished re-attach the drain plug securely and move on to the removal of the filter. You will probably get messy during this stage and you want to remove as much by hand as possible.
Clean the surface where the filter seals to the vehicle and add a little new oil to the O-Ring of the new filter before attaching the new filter.
NOTE: Check to see that the old O-Ring is not attached to your vehicle you will ruin your engine if the new filter doesn’t seal properly.
Step 4: Add your Oil
Open your hood and add new oil after removing the oil cap. This is where your funnel will come in handy. I find that poring the new oil in from the side of the container rather than the top gets a more even pour. When you’ve added the recommended amount replace the cap, run your engine a bit to double check for any leaks, and take your used oil to recycle. Generally speaking, the store you bought the oil at will recycle for free. Then voila, you’re done!