You don’t need to be a mechanic to learn how to change your oil – you just need to be able to identify certain parts of the car and purchase the correct engine oil to get the job done. If you are unsure whether your car’s oil needs changing, the first thing to do is to check your car’s oil level.
Do it yourself
To start your DIY oil change, let your engine warm up for 2 or 3 minutes so that the gook is churned out and can flow out of the engine easily. You don’t want the engine to be so hot that you burn yourself. Stop the engine if it feels slightly warm.
Then perform the following steps to change your car’s oil:
Look under your car to find the drain plug.
The drain plug is a large nut or plug located under the oil pan on the bottom of the engine. If you cannot easily get to your oil drain plug, you will either have to crawl under your car to reach it or jack the car up.
Place a container under the oil drain plug.
You want this container to collect the oil, so make sure it is large enough.
Loosen the oil drain plug.
Protect your hand with a cloth or some kitchen paper. The oil will now drain from your engine into the container.
Remove the oil filler cap on the top of your engine and unscrew the oil filter with a wrench if you cannot do this by hand.
Turn the filter counterclockwise to unscrew the filter. There is oil in the filter so be careful not to spill it when removing it. Remove any residue from the filter rubber seal on your engine.
Pour the oil from the filter into a container.
When the filter is empty, wrap it in newspaper and set it aside to take it with your old oil to a recycling center.
Open a new bottle of oil and dip a finger in it.
Use the oil to wet the gasket on the top of the new oil filter.
Screw the new filter into the engine where the old one was.
Follow the directions on the filter, or turn it gently by hand until it “sits” and then turn it another three-quarters of a turn.
Wipe around where the oil drain plug goes.
Do not perform this step until all the oil has been drained.
Replace the oil drain plug and use an adjustable wrench to tighten it.
If your vehicle uses an oil drain plug gasket, make sure the old one is removed and put a new gasket on the pan before replacing the plug.
Use a funnel to pour close to 1 liter of fresh oil into the oil filler neck.
Pour slowly to give the oil time to run out.
Replace the oil filler cap and run the engine for 30 to 60 seconds.
Check for leaks at the oil drain plug and around the filter.
Stop the engine and wait 5 to 10 minutes for the oil to settle into the oil sump, then check the oil level again.
Remove the dipstick, wipe it with a clean, lint-free cloth and reinsert it. Pull it out again and check it.
Keep adding oil a little at a time.
Check the swab after each addition until you reach the “full” line on the dipstick.
Remove the container from under the car and give the car a test drive.
Go around the block a few times.
Allow the oil to settle for another 5 to 10 minutes, then recheck the dipstick.
If it is still on “Full” then you are good to go!
You have successfully learned how to change your oil! As a final step, dispose of the old oil at an auto parts store or other oil recycling center.
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