How to Change Your Motor Oil at Home

With a little know-how, a few tools, and some initiative, it is easy to change your own oil at home. An oil change is one of the most common and most frequent automotive maintenance chores that you need to do. If you take care of it at home you can save money in the, and if you do it regularly your car will get better gas mileage and perform better in the long run. Here is a simple guide to changing your oil at home.

First, Gather All Your Tools

If you don’t have tools and you don’t do much mechanical work then this may take some work. You’ll need to find out what you need to change your oil and also your filter. You need to find out what oil your car needs and what oil filter will fit. Your best source for this is your owner’s manual and a good automotive supply store. You’ll need to buy a good oil filter wrench as well to make the job easier.  You’ll want a good oil drain pan as well; in this case a purpose-made container is far better than a discarded bucket. This is important because you should keep your oil and recycle it afterwards. You will also need a wrench for the drain plug. The size is usually 13mm to 17mm. A socket wrench is best.

A word of warning: buy good oil and a good oil filter from recognized name brands. If you spend a little extra on these supplies, you’ll spend far less in the long run than paying for an engine overhaul or worse.

Raise the Vehicle

You don’t need to go nuts and jack the car up too high. Most importantly, invest in some jack stands. It’s worth the assurance that the jack won’t fail while you’re under the car.

Remove the Cap and Oil Plug

You have to take both the fill cap and the oil pan plug out to drain the oil. Give the oil plenty of time to drain. It may take a while.

Replace the Drain Plug and Replace the Filter

Don’t over tighten the drain plug. There’s no reason to strip it and you only need to tighten it enough to seal it and keep it in place. Move the pan under the oil filter. Use your filter wrench to remove it and place it in the oil pan to let any residual oil drain off.

Install the Filter

Use a little new oil to coat the rubber gasket of the new oil filter so that it forms a good seal and so it’s easy to remove later. Tighten it with your hands until it won’t move anymore, and then only add another quarter turn with the wrench. There’s no need to over tighten the oil filter either.

Lower the Car and Add the New Oil

Add the correct amount of oil. Usually it’s around five quarts because one quart ends up in the filter. The dipstick will show the oil level as high until you run the engine. Once you’ve turned the engine on and let it run, check the oil level and it should read in the correct fill range.

That’s it! You’ve changed your oil, and in 3000 miles you can do it again. Visit Honest Car Dealer for car maintenance tips.

December 5, 2012 by Jamie Rettig