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How to Change Your Own Engine Oil

How to Change Your Own Engine Oil

Changing the engine oil in your vehicle is one of the most important and necessary procedures to keep your vehicle running and on the road. Whether you have a car, a truck, a van, the basic principles are the same and we're going to explain how to do it yourself. But if you’re thinking why would I want to do it myself? To be honest you’re not going to save a lot of money, but by doing it yourself, you're going to have peace of mind knowing the job was done right.

List of tools that may be needed:

Based on your vehicle, you may need an oil filter socket, cup, or strap wrench.

To get the drain plug off, (see Drain Plug definition below) you're going to need a wrench or a socket and ratchet. You're going to need a drain pan and a funnel. Also, gloves and rags and if you can't get under your vehicle, a jack and jack stands. If you need any of these tools, click the links above.

Drain Plug in Automotive Engineering; A drain plug is a plug which is taken out to allow a fluid to be drained from a tank such as an engine oil pan or sump.

Don't drain the transmission by accident!

This happens all the time, many have accidently drained the transmission by mistake. The oil drain plug is right before the transmission on the driver's side of the car. Pop the hood and look for the transmission first. It is one of the biggest components in the engine bay and is usually easy to spot.

Removing the Drain Plug:

If you have a truck or a jeep or something that you can get underneath easily, you don't have to jack it up. But if you have a vehicle that's really low, you're going to have to raise it up. When raising the vehicle, you want to make sure you use the proper jacking locations on the vehicle and you want to be on a solid level surface and you don't want to be in the dirt. Remove the drain plug counterclockwise. You do not want to tighten it by accident create any damage. Be sure your drain pan is in place and let the oil drain out completely.

While you’re there, inspect your drain plug and make sure the threads look in good condition. Also keep in mind the gasket. If the gasket looks like it's torn or crushed at all, you're going to want to replace it. Sometimes you'll have a metal gasket and it's a good idea to replace the metal ones every time. But with the rubber ones, as long as it looks okay, you can just reuse it.

Next you're now going to reinstall the drain plug. Take your wrench and once the drain plug is snug. You don't want to over tighten it or you could damage the oil pan. Once done clean the area up, this is useful to check later on to see if there is any leakages.

Locate Your Oil Filter:

Some filters are underneath the car near the front of the engine, some of them are in the rear of the engine, and some of them are on the side near the wheel well. There are two types of filters. You have the canister or twist-on type filter, or you have the cartridge filter.

With the canister type filter, you're going to want to make sure you lubricate the seal on the outside with oil, otherwise it's going to be very difficult to remove the next time you remove it and when you're installing these types of filters, once it's snug, you give it another quarter turn and that's it. This is where you're going to use your oil filter removal tool. You're going to either use the oil filter socket tool for the cartridge style. Sometimes you'll need a cup for the cartridge style.

For the canister style, if you have the correct cup, that will work for that as well, or a strap wrench.

Tip: To avoid taking a shower in engine oil, unscrew the filter until oil starts to come out. Remove your hand and let it drop into the pan until very little drips remain. Then unscrew the whole filter. Ensure your oil drain pan is again is the correct place.

Now that you've drained the oil and changed the filter, it's time to add the oil. Check your owner's manual for the amount and the type. Don't forget to put your cap back on. This would be bad.

Now start the car for about 10 to 15 seconds and get the oil where it needs to go. After shutting the engine off, let it sit for about two or three minutes and then we're going to check the dipstick (if you have one). If you do, wipe off the dipstick first, reinsert the dipstick, and then pull it out, and check the level. If the oil level is a little low, you can add some more and then recheck it.

That's it, your oil change is done.