How to do Your Own Oil Change at Home

Changing your own oil is easy, cost-efficient, and helps you get to know the mechanics of your vehicle better. There are, some important steps to take to ensure the safety of both yourself as well as your car. Give yourself a good head start and use these tips to change your own oil and do it right the first time.

Obtain Necessary Materials
For any oil change you will need
– An oil filter
– 4-6 quarts of motor oil
– The exact size open-end wrench needed or a drain plug socket wrench 
– An oil filter wrench
– Jack stands or ramps
– 5 to 7 quart drain pan
– Latex gloves or hand cleaning solution
– Rags
– Safety glasses
– Funnel
Choosing the type of motor oil is important. Consult your owner’s manual to determine which oil viscosity type and grade should be chosen to prevent damage to your engine. Consider the type of driving you typically do to determine if Conventional, High Mileage, or Synthetic oil is the best choice.

Vehicle Preparations
Run the engine for 5 to 10 minutes to warm the oil since cold oil does not drain as well. Next, turn off the car and unscrew the cap on the engine with the word “oil” to help the oil drain faster from the bottom of the engine.

Raise the Vehicle
Do not use a bumper jack to hold a vehicle up for an oil change; a ramp is much safer. Place the ramps on level ground and then drive the front two wheels onto the wheel ramps to elevate the top half of the car. Set the emergency brake and use a wheel chock to brace the rear wheels, and place automatic transmissions in “park” and manual cars in first gear.

Drain Oil
An oil drain is located on the underside of a vehicle near the oil pan, or the rear of the engine. Take note not to unplug the automatic transmission plug. After placing the drain pan under plug, use the wrench to turn the plug counterclockwise. Loosen the plug until it is possible to remove it by hand while being careful not to get burned by hot oil. Wear gloves and long sleeves if possible.

Replace Oil Filter
Use a filter wrench to loosen the oil filter and remove it by hand and use a rag to wipe the filter seat of the engine. Apply a thin layer of oil to the gasket for it to act as a sealant. Place the new filter on the gasket and turn it clockwise by hand until the gasket touches the mounting surface. Clean around the area and re-install the drain plug; first turning by hand then tightening it with a wrench.

Replace Oil
Use the funnel to apply new oil into the engine oil hole on top of the engine. Use a dipstick to be sure that the oil levels correspond with the recommended level. Start the engine and check levels with dipstick again after running the car for at least 5 minutes. Place old oil in a closed container and return it to its place of purchase or an auto repair shop like Free Service Tire Company.

Changing your own oil is relatively simple, and it gets easier each time you do it. Take the proper safety precautions noted above and you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of taking care of your personal possessions on your own, along with saving a substantial amount of money.