How to Change the Oil in Your Car? A Step by Step Guide

Changing oil is one of the regular tasks if you own a vehicle. Although for most people, the engine oil should be changed every 5000 miles.

With this guide, I hope you will have a better understanding about the importance of frequent oil changes, as well as know key tips for the process itself.

Why should we change oil?

Inside the engine of your automobile, there are many different parts of the engine working together to keep things moving.

While all these parts harmoniously move against each other, a lot of friction and heat is created under the hood.

In order to make sure that every internal part continues to function properly, oil helps lubricate the engine to prevent overheating.

However, with time, oil breaks up and becomes a less effective lubricant.

For all drivers, it is important to learn how to change your oil before the particles break down and serious engine trouble occurs.

Depending on how you drive and the age of your engine, you may have less frequent maintenance needs.

How to Prepare for an Oil Change?

Changing the oil on a vehicle isn’t necessarily a hard process, but it is a process that requires some time and some extra tools.

First, you should gather a few supplies to help assist in the oil change.

You’re going to need:

  • Fresh oil
  • A new oil filter
  • Wrench
  • Funnel
  • Rags
  • Ramps or a car jack
  • Gloves

The process can be a dirty job if you don’t take certain precautions when handling the oil.

With these tools nearby, you can begin the oil change process.

How to change oil
Oil Filter with Wrench Tool Set Kit.

How to Change Your Oil: A Step by Step Guide to DIY

Step 1-Find the right kind of oil and the amount you need

If you are already familiar with the recommended oil and filter for your engine, you can easily find the correct tools at any mechanic or automotive shop.

Check within the user manual of your vehicle in order to find out the correct amount that is needed for your particular engine.

Double check carefully the viscosity of the oil,  for example, 5W-30 oil works for a different engine type than 5W-20 oil.

If you are unsure, it is wise to ask your mechanic or dealership, who may know additional requirements for your car model.

Additionally, you will need to purchase an oil filter that is a match with your vehicle’s engine.

Step 2- Gather the Additional Supplies

In order to change the oil in your car, you are going to need to get down and dirty under the bottom of the car.

For this part, you will want a reliable and sturdy car jack that has safety stands or instead utilize a car ramp.

Gather the other supplies of a funnel, drain pan, rags and gloves and prepare the engine.

Step 3- Prepare the Vehicle

The oil inside your engine should be warm when you get started, colder temperatures can cause the oil to partially solidify.

You will need to raise your car for better access, use a car jack to elevate the vehicle from the ground.

Both of these things will ensure it will be easy to drain the old and make sure the oil is not too viscous.

Step 4- Drain Oil from the Engine

Now is the time where you need to locate the drain plug and the oil filter.

Get under the car and you will see the sump plug, this is the plug on the oil pan that resembles a large nut.

On some vehicles, there may be a splash guard attached to ensure a cleaner draining procedure.

  1. To begin, remove the splash guard if there is one attached.
  2. Place the drain pan underneath the drain plug to prevent a mess
  3. Use the wrench to unscrew the plug
  4. Move with caution when you remove the drain plug, carelessness can lead to oil dribbling down your arm.
  5. Begin the draining process into the drain pan, after it has finished, clean the drain hole.
  6. Wait a few minutes after it has completely drained and then you may reinsert the sump plug.
    How to change oil DIY
    Wrench for oil change.

Step 5: Remove the Oil Filter

For this step, you should first locate the filter, normally located near the top of the engine.

To remove the filter, use caution and start unscrewing it counterclockwise.

Take note that there may be oil in the filter that can leak out.

If you notice any seals around the compartment remove them and allow the filter to drain completely.

After it has drained completely, use rags or a cloth to clean as much oil away as possible.

Step 6: Install the New Filter

The first part of this step is messy, you’re going to need to put some new oil on the O ring of the new filter.

This is important because it will strengthen the seal of the new filter.

Make sure you have a good grip on the new filter and begin by screwing it into place.

When installing a new filter, consult the manual to see about the proper amount you need to screw in the new filters, most often you won’t need to over tighten the new filter.

Step 7: Add Oil to the Car

After you have properly changed the oil filter and replaced the oil drain bolt, it is the moment to add the new oil.

You can now work from under the hood and locate the oil cap on the engine.

Use the measuring tool provided in your oil tank to make sure you pour the correct amount.

With the funnel, you can begin filling the engine.

Finally, replace the cap and close tightly.

Step 8: Run the Engine for 5 minutes

Now that you have completed all the steps for changing the oil on your vehicle, it’s important to turn the vehicle on and warm up the engine.

This will allow for the oil to circulate throughout the engine and make sure everything is running effectively.

Lastly, you should dispose of the old oil and filters carefully in local waste drop-off points or with a mechanic.

Final Thoughts

Teaching yourself simple mechanic tasks is the first step when it comes to DIY automotive work.

It is my hope that with these steps you will have the keys you need to unlock your new skills as the at-home mechanic.

After you get the hang of it, an oil change should only take you about 30 minutes.

From there, other automotive needs will seem like a small task to take on.

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