It isn’t exactly the cleanest job in the world, but an oil change is one of the easiest car maintenance tasks to perform.
It doesn’t require much knowledge about automotives, just a willingness to get your hands dirty.
Why even bother changing your engine oil?
Well, the oil in your car’s engine lubricates crucial engine parts. Over time, dust, dirt, and smudge build up inside, reducing the performance of your vehicle. Failure to regularly change your car’s engine oil according to your car manufacturer’s recommendations can lead to serious problems down the road.
Enough about the boring stuff, let’s get back to changing that oil. Before you start, you’ll need to gather a handful of items like:
- A wrench and a socket that fits the drain plug on your car’s engine oil pan
- Enough engine oil to refill your engine to proper levels (the exact amount needed should be listed in your car’s manual and on the chassis
- A new engine oil filter (check manual for proper size)
- A pan to drain the oil into, preferable one with a cover to make transporting the used oil for disposal easier
- A car jack (you should already have one in your car) and jack stand
- A funnel
Now let’s get to work.
While your car’s engine is cold (trust me, you don’t want hot oil squirting all over your hands), jack your car off the ground until you have enough space to comfortably slide underneath. Lower it unto the jack stand for increased safety.
Now open your hood, then remove the cap covering the engine oil compartment.
Place your drain pan under the car, then slide underneath with your wrench and socket in hand. With an anti-clockwise motion, loosen the bolt covering the engine oil pan (check manual for exact location). Be careful when doing this, since oil will come gushing out once the bolt comes off. The trick is to have the drain pan in place so the oil goes right inside, not on your clothes or driveway. Wait until the flow starts to trickle, then remove the engine oil filter (check manual for location). I typically get mine out by twisting in an anti-clockwise motion with my bare hands, but there are engine oil filter wrenches out there for several bucks if you’re having problems using your hands.
Once the engine compartment is completely drained, install the new engine oil filter, and put the oil pan bolt back in its place. Lower the car, fill the engine back with fresh oil to proper levels using the funnel (oil spilled on engine parts creates lots of smoke), and twist on the engine compartment cover.
Pat yourself on the back buddy, you just completed your first oil change. Now go to your nearest auto parts store to dispose of the used oil.