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MAIN Arrow to Shopping CarsCars Arrow to Car Repair & Maintenace Car Repair & Maintenance Arrow to Oil Change How to Change Your Oil


using a funnel with motor oil
Fill it up. Use as many quarts of oil
as your manufacturer recommends.

 

Oil changes can be dirty job and sometimes a literal pain in the neck, but there's no getting around it.

Car Maintenance 101 calls for regularly changing your motor oil and oil filter about every 3,000 miles (or every 3-4 months) for extending the life of your car and for keeping it in top running condition.

What you'll need for a do-it-yourself oil change

Have all tools and materials ready before you begin.

  • socket wrench

  • oil filter wrench or metal strap wrench

  • new motor oil

  • new oil filter

  • funnel

  • oil drain pan, old gallon jug or milk carton

  • newspaper or old drop cloth to catch any spills

  • rags or paper towels for final clean up

Are your running hot or cold?

There are two schools of thought on whether or not to get the engine hot before an oil change. Since hot oil drains faster and more efficiently, some car owners like to rev the engine or drive around the neighborhood first before they change the oil. Just Note: getting up close and personal with hot oil can cause serious burns to your hands or face, so use extra caution if using the hot oil method (not recommended for beginners!)

How to change your oil

  • Park the car on a flat level surface. If there is enough room to slide under the car, jack up the car and USE JACKSTANDS as a safety precaution.

  • Once the car is securely supported, crawl under the car to locate the drain plug near the front of the car. Cover the area with newspaper or drop cloth to absorb any spills.

  • Place oil pan directly under the plug. With a socket wrench, turn counterclockwise to loosen the plug, then twist to remove by hand. Allow at least a half for the oil to drain completely, then replace the plug using the socket wrench.

  • Next, locate the oil filter. Place the oil pan underneath it to catch any oil remaining inside the filter. Slip the oil filter wrench securely around the oil filter, and give a tug counterclockwise. Once it's loosened, twist by hand to remove it.

  • Before you install the new oil filter, remember to rub some new oil around the rubber gasket (this will prevent lots of headaches later when you try to remove it for the next oil change.) Screw the new filter onto the filter pipe and hand tighten. Give it an extra quarter turn with the oil filter wrench until it is good and snug, but not overly tight.

  • Slide out from underneath the car and open the hood. Remove the oil filler cap. Place funnel inside the hole and fill with as many quarts of motor oil as your maintenance manual recommends. Once all new oil has drained into the engine, check the dipstick for an accurate oil level. Don't forget to replace the oil filler cap!

  • Finally, write down the current date and mileage, as a good reminder for when to change the oil next time around.

Final cleanup

  • Discard the old newspapers or drop cloth, and clean up your tools. Take whatever container you used to catch the old oil and seal securely inside a sturdy plastic bag. Do the same with the old oil filter. Take it to your local oil recycling center.

More about changing car batteries around the Web:

How to Change the Oil in Your Car

How Often Should You Change Oil?


also see -> How to replace an air filter | How to change a car battery

How to replace a headlight bulb


For informational purposes only. For complete expert advice,
see your car dealership or professional auto mechanic.


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