While most modern car owners choose to take their vehicles to a service shop for routine oil changes, some prefer to do it on their own. Changing the oil in your vehicle is a great way to take charge of the care and maintenance of your most trusted motorized tool for life. Tackling the job of changing a vehicle’s oil is simple, but it could produce a few stains on your favorite weekend clothes.
Most vehicles have engines that operate on standard oil systems. This makes it easy for people who want to change their vehicle’s oil but have to deal with a sleek and modern design. Only a few vehicles on the market divert from the traditional oil change methods used in the past. For everyone else, DIY oil changes should be considered something that is completely within the grasp of a car owner who wants to be involved with its continued care.
There are several things you will need to perform an oil change on your vehicle. Some of these items are commonplace, and some are specialized. These items include the following:
- A Car Jack and Rests
- A Socket and Wrench Set
- Channel-lock Hand Grips
- Molybdenum-based Lubricant
- Oil Collection Pan (metal or plastic)
Along with these tools, you should also have the following items ready to use. These are the products that you will work with during an oil change.
- Any number of quarts of oil (check your car’s manufacturer specs to find out which oil grade is recommended)
- Replacement oil filter
- Replacement air filter
When you have collected all the necessary tools and items for your vehicle’s oil change, the best way to get started is by driving your vehicle onto a flat concrete surface. Keep the vehicle in the park gear and remove the keys from the ignition.
The best way to perform an oil change is by diving right in. The most important factors are knowing what type of oil is recommended for your vehicle, and the model number of oil filter to be changed. Engine oil use is a multi-level process. It’s not only the oil that needs to be changed, but the filtration system elements as well
Lift the front end of your vehicle using a jack and mounts. The angle of the lift should provide enough room for a person to lay down and work underneath. Safely navigating underneath a vehicle is necessary for changing oil.
With a catch pan below, locate the vehicle’s oil plug. This is a small bolt and washer sticking out from the lowest point of an engine’s oil pan. The oil pan is usually a rectangular metal basin covering a large portion of the underside of the engine. If you “creep” under your car, you will see that there are many molded metal basins and troughs. The one that has a recession and bolt is probably the oil plug.
Unscrew the oil plug completely. This allows any suspension in the oil transfer system of your engine to release pressure. Taking this plug out will also drain about one tenth of your engine’s oil. Use the correct socket to unscrew the plug and let the oil drain naturally.
This step releases the majority of oil. Near your engine’s oil pan, a drain will be present. This drain has a cap that looks like the end of pipe, or an insert that looks like it could be used on a submarine. It is a round plug that has a hexagonal relief in the center. This cover is where most of your engine’s old oil will be flushed.
Unscrewing this oil pan cover will release all of the suspended oil in your engine. Be prepared! This means having pans ready to catch the dirty oil that drains.
When you remove the main oil cover, you will also expose the car’s oil filter. This filter is used to catch any impurities that are present within the oil, plus catch any metal fragments that circulate through an engine while it is in use.
Once the majority of old oil has drained into a pan, it is time to remove the old oil filter. Use a pair of channel lock pliers to pull the filter out. Watch out! Pulling the filter will release a reservoir of oil.
Once the oil filter is out, let the exposed channel drain for at least two minutes. This allows the vast majority of old oil to drain from the engine body.
Cover the outside metal rings and rubber gaskets of a new oil filter in molybdenum grease. This assists installation and removal during the next oil change. Gently push the new oil filter into the same channel from which the old filter was removed. Replace the cover plate after greasing the threads. Sticky threads are one of the most common reasons why oil pan components become stripped. Use a lubricant to make sure all oil change parts remain accessible.
Replace the oil plug bolt. This is a simple step, but many people forget.
Lower your vehicle off of the jack mounts. When it is on a level surface, begin replacing the oil reserve with brand new oil. New oil should be poured through the topside engine oil portal on the engine cover. Also, only the recommended oil for the vehicle should be added. When the recommended amount of oil is added, replace the cap on the portal and let the oil sit for five minutes. Check the dipstick. The suspension should indicate the true oil level present in the engine. Do not be afraid to add a few more ounces of oil to meet the gauge on your vehicle’s dipstick measurement.
Anyone can change the oil in their vehicle. This is true unless they have an ultra-specialized type of engine system. All that is needed is a few tools, and a workspace. The objective is to completely remove old oil, add new oil, and preserve the integrity of the engine and its parts. Just be sure to properly dispose of old oil according to your city’s laws. Ask about the proper way to get rid of old oil at the same place you by the products needed for your oil change. While changing a vehicle’s oil is relatively simple, it should be considered one of the most important aspects of its care.