Changing your own oil is advisable for multiple reasons: It allows you to make sure the job is done properly, it will help you to save some money, and it makes a great “beginner project” for those who want to get to know a bit more about how cars work. Plus, it can be an enjoyable experience which allows you to bond more closely with the vehicle you rely on each day.
Though performing an oil change is relatively easy, you’ll still want to research the job beforehand so that you’re informed. The list of tips below should cover everything you need to know to get started:
- Assemble your tools and materials beforehand. The last thing you want is to be informed without an essential tool midway through the job, so it’s important to begin by organizing everything you’ll need. In addition to the materials required (the conventional oil, an oil filter, and a replacement drain plug washer if yours is worn out), you will need the following tools:
- Wrench to remove the drain plug (box end or socket)
- Oil filter wrench
- Oil drain pan
- Latex gloves
- Jack and jack stands or ramps (optional)
- Consult your vehicle’s manual. This help you to make sure you’re using the right tools and materials and help you to locate your vehicle’s oil filter and drain plug.
- Make sure the engine and oil are warm, but not hot. Let your car cool down somewhat from running temperature before changing the oil so that it’s not hot enough to cause burns, then raise the vehicle if you need to and remove the undercover if it has one (many cars do not).
- Drain the oil out of the engine. Be sure to position the drain pan to reflect the angle at which the drain plug is tilted and try to work in an area that’s sheltered from the wind to prevent messes forming. Once you have positioned the pan correctly, put gloves on and remove the oil filler cap and the drain plug (remove the latter slowly).
- Clean and inspect the drain plug. Replace if need be.
- Remove the oil filter. Have the drain pan ready (along with some rags) and work slowly as once the filter loosens, oil tends to gush around it. Make sure to remove the old filter’s O-ring before placing a new filter.
- Install your new oil filter. Do not over-tighten the O-ring on the new filter; if you’re not sure how much to tighten it, check your manual or the oil filter box.
- Add your new oil. Most people advise that you fill it to about one quart less than the recommended amount so as not to risk over-filling.
- Replace the oil cap and start the engine. Run the engine for approximately 30 seconds to circulate the new oil. Once you’re done, check around the vehicle, confirming that there’s no leaks, then check the oil level. You may have to add slightly more oil.
- Safely dispose of your old oil and filter. This can usually be done for free at auto parts stores or hazardous waste drop-off points. Voila—you’re done!
If don’t want to do it yourself and would like for Like New Automotive to take care of your oil change for you. Please visit us in the Falls Church, VA location.