How to Change Your Oil at Home
While many drivers use oil changing services to have the oil replaced in their car, simple maintenance jobs like changing your vehicle’s oil are relatively easy if you know how to do them. With knowledge of the process and a trip to your local auto supply store to purchase the supplies, you can quickly and easily change the oil in your vehicle.
Before you change the oil in your vehicle for the first time, make sure that you refer to your owner’s manual for your model’s specific oil and oil filter requirements. It is very important to use the exact type of oil that your car is designed to use. You owner’s manual will also give you information about how often your need to change the oil and the amount of oil that your car holds. Before beginning the process of changing your oil, there are several things that you need to gather: the exact type and amount of oil that your vehicle requires, a new oil filter, a container in which to hold the used oil, several rags, an oil filter wrench, assorted wrenches, jacks or ramps, and safety wedges.
How To Proceed
The first step to changing your oil is to lift the vehicle so that you can move underneath it. Because you will be working underneath a heavy vehicle, changing your oil on your own can be a dangerous task. Take every precaution to ensure that your vehicle is securely raised so that you can move under it without being injured. There are two ways to safely lift your vehicle in order to change your oil. You can either use two jacks positioned on either side of the front of your vehicle or you can use a set of ramps onto which you drive your vehicle. No matter which option you choose, it is important to brace the back wheels of your car with wedges to prevent your car from rolling onto you as you work underneath it. If you are unsure if your car is stable, do not place yourself beneath it.
To begin changing your oil, first consult your owner’s manual to locate your oil pan. Be certain that you have correctly located the engine oil before you loosen any drains. Also locate the oil filter. The oil filter will be a metal cylinder that protrudes from the outside of the engine. Consult your owner’s manual for the specific location of the oil filter on your vehicle.
Next, slide underneath your vehicle and place a container where it will catch the oil as it drains from the oil pan. Use a wrench to loosen the bolt on the oil pan and then use your fingers to remove it. The oil will drain freely into the container. This process will take several minutes. As the old oil is draining, move back to the location of your oil filter and remove it by turning it in a counter clockwise fashion. You may be able to remove the oil filter by hand; however, most people will need an oil filter wrench to loosen it. Take the new oil filter out of its box and install it by turning it in a clockwise fashion. It is normal for small amounts of oil to leak from the oil filter while it is being changed. Do not over tighten the oil filter. After all of the old oil has drained from the oil pan, replace the bolt. Tighten the bolt with a wrench but do not over tighten it. Remove the container holding the old oil from underneath the vehicle and lower the car.
Finally, replace the old oil with the proper type and amount of new oil. This information can be found in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. Use a funnel to replace the oil without spilling. Replace the oil cap. Lower the hood of your vehicle. Start the engine and allow the car to idle for several minutes. Lastly, check for any leaks on the ground and check your oil levels using the dip stick.
The ability to successfully change your oil on a regular basis will save money and ensure that your vehicle’s engine is properly lubricated.
Andrei Zakhareuski is the founder of Driving-Tests.org. He has been writing for beginner US drivers for several years.
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