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How To Change Your Oil

Knowing how to change the oil in your car is a useful skill. It can be done in a few easy steps and save you some money. Because it’s a maintenance job that needs to be done regularly, it’s very helpful to be able to do it on your own.


Determine What Type of Oil You Need and How Much

This is helpful information to have before heading out to buy oil. You can likely find the answer to this one in your owner’s manual. The manual should state and oil specifications and requirements. If you don’t have an owner’s manual, you can likely find the information online if you search for your car’s make, model, and year.


Gather Your Supplies

To get started, you’ll need your supplies. You can buy the supplies need at an auto parts store. If you just need oil and a funnel, you can usually find these at most gas stations.

You Will Need:

  • Oil filter
  • Oil drain pan
  • Box-end wrench
  • Funnel
  • Latex gloves
  • Jack stands or ramps
  • Oil

In addition to these supplies, you may also want to change into grubby clothes that you don’t mind staining. It may also be smart to lay down newspaper underneath your work station to avoid getting oil stains on the floor of your garage or driveway.


Drain Oil

Start by locating the oil filter and drain plug. Most cars have a bottom-mount screw-on filter, making it easy to drain. Position the drain pan under the drain plug before removing it. The oil usually comes out at an angle, so keep that in mind as your position. Drain the oil from the engine by removing the oil filler cap. Next, remove the drain plug with a wrench. Slowly remove the drain plug and keep away from the oil spilling out. It’ll come out quickly.


Change the Oil Filter

Remove your oil filter by turning it counter-clockwise. Install the new filter by twisting it in clockwise. Some oil may leak out. Replace the bolt and dispose of the old filter.


Replace Oil

Using a funnel, pour the correct amount of oil in. Replace oil cap. Start your engine and make sure everything is running smoothly with no leaks underneath. Turn off your car and check the oil level with your dip stick.


Tips

  • Always use jack stands! It’s not safe to work under a car that’s supported by a jack alone. Be smart, be safe, use stands.
  • After putting the oil in your car, line up the bottle so you don’t lose count of how many you’ve used.
  • Use a box-end wrench for the drain plug—and make sure it’s the right size. Do not use an adjustable wrench or socket.  
  • Make sure your engine is warm. If the engine feels cold, start it up and let it run for a few minutes. This will warm up the oil. However, you should also avoid working with hot oil. If the engine feels hot, let it sit until it’s just warm.
  • Always tighten the filter by hand, do not use a filter wrench. Be sure that it’s secure.


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