How to Change Your Engine Oil
Regular oil and filter changes are the single best thing you can do to keep your vehicle running smoothly for many years. By regularly changing your own oil, you save money as you extend your car’s life by thousands of miles. Oil changes are something any DIYer can do. Once you have all the equipment on hand, you can change the oil in most cars in about 20 minutes.
Before You Start
Before you buy the oil, check your owner’s manual for the type and weight of oil that’s recommended by the car manufacturer. It’s especially important to follow the recommendation for oil viscosity. Late model cars can encounter performance issues, get the dreaded “Check Engine” warning and even sustain engine damage if the wrong oil is used. It’s also important to only use oil filters recommended by the manufacturer.
To prep, spread a plastic sheet on the ground and drive your car over it. This eliminates the risk of oil spills on your garage floor. Make sure the surface area is flat and that your vehicle is in park with the safety brake engaged. Once you’re safely parked, jack up the car, place the jack stands and lower the car onto the stands. If you're on asphalt, you can place squares of plywood under the jack stands for support. You will need the following items:
Rags Funnel Safety glasses Wrench set Latex gloves Drain pan Container for old oil Engine oil Oil filter
Change the Oil
Place all your items in a box or on a tray so everything is handy. Before sliding the tray under the car, apply a small amount of new oil to the new filter’s gasket.
Run your engine for about five minutes to allow the oil to become less viscous and make it easier to drain. Wait another 5 to 10 minutes to allow the oil to cool slightly to prevent oil burns. Place the drain pan under the car and remove the drain plug from the oil pan to get the old oil flowing. After the oil pan has drained, wipe around the drain plug area and replace the plug by tightening it with an adjustable wrench. If your vehicle uses an oil drain plug gasket, exchange the old one for a new one before replacing the plug.
Remove the cap from the oil filter at the top of the engine and unscrew the filter. The filter will have oil in it so be careful not to spill any when you take it off, and make sure the drain pan is in place. Empty oil from the filter into the drain pan. Remove any remnants of the filter’s rubber seal on the engine. Wipe off any oil and put on the new filter.
Add New Engine Oil
Slowly add the new oil to your engine using a funnel. The oil cap is located at the top of your engine and typically has an oil can graphic. Use the dipstick to determine how much oil has been poured, making sure you don't put in too much oil, as the oil can overflow when heated. Replace the oil cap and tighten it.
Let your car run for a few minutes to allow the oil to circulate and to give you a chance to check for leaks. Recheck the dipstick to make sure the oil is at the right level per your user manual. The final step is to dispose of the old oil and filter. Take them to an oil change facility that accepts old oil or a household waste recycling facility near you.