How to Change Your Oil Like a Pro
If your busy lifestyle has you constantly on the go, chances are you feel like you don’t have the time to do a lot of the regular chores at home. From yard work to car care, more and more people pay to outsource these tasks to save time. Another reason to pay a professional to do things involves our lack of confidence in doing them ourselves.
This comes with a cost, though. Every time we pay someone to do a task that we could do ourselves, we take money away from other things we could use it for. We also lose a little bit of old-fashioned self-reliance in the process. To save yourself a lot of money over time, and to take charge of the home front, consider taking on more of these tasks yourself. The benefits will really add up.
One area where you can save a lot of money and gain some confidence is simple: changing your own oil. You might not know how to change your own oil if you have always paid someone else to do it, but with a little research and the right supplies, you will be on your way to auto self-reliance.
The Right Supplies
Learning how to change your own oil really doesn’t involve a lot of technical mastery. The key is to do a few simple things right. The first step in an oil change at home is to get the right oil. You can find current recommendations online or in your car’s owner’s manual. You can also look at the receipt from the last (possibly the very last) oil change that you paid someone else to do.
In addition to the right oil, you need the right oil filter for your oil change at home. This is important, especially if you plan on following newer guidelines for changing your own oil less frequently (every 6,000 miles instead of the old 3,000-mile guideline). When changing your own oil, you need a filter that is rated to last as long as your oil. Again, check online or your owner’s manual for recommendations.
Have Your Tools Ready
To streamline an oil change at home, gather all the materials you will need for the process in advance. In addition to the oil, filter, and gasket, you will need a wrench set to find the right fixed size for your oil plug. You will also need a rubber mallet, rags, safety glasses, an oil filter wrench, funnel, an oil pan, and a container for the used oil.
When learning how to change your own oil, you want to make sure you think through everything you will need. This will save you time, and potentially, mess. Also very important is to use jack stands or tire ramps to make sure your car is safely and securely raised when changing your own oil underneath.
Get the Used Oil Out
It is a good idea when changing your own oil to let the car run for a while to warm up the oil in the car. This will make getting it out easier. Driving to the auto parts store to get the oil and supplies you need is a good way to warm it up.
Next, you want to securely raise your car on jack stands or tire ramps.
Once your car is warmed up and in position, find the oil plug. To avoid accidentally draining the transmission fluid, make sure you find the right bolt to loosen. The oil plug will be warmer than the transmission plug. Loosen the oil plug with a properly sized wrench by turning left, or counterclockwise. You may need to tap your wrench with the rubber mallet to get the oil plug moving. Make sure you are not directly underneath the plug and that the oil pan is.
Once you have removed the plug and the oil is draining into the pan, slide out from under the car and loosen the oil cap on top of the engine above. This will help the oil drain more quickly and completely.
Change the Filter
You will find the oil filter on the bottom or side of the engine block. Use the oil filter wrench to remove it. Oil will spill from the filter, so be careful not to get burned. Once you have the filter off, add some new oil to the new filter. Do not fill it completely, as it will spill. Then spin on the new filter and tighten with the oil filter wrench.
Add the New Oil
Before adding the new oil, make sure you replace the oil plug and any washers or gaskets that came off with it. Do not overtighten the plug, but make sure it is secure.
Next, using a funnel, add the rest of the new oil by pouring it into the oil filler on top of the engine. Once the recommended amount of oil has been added, replace the cap and start your engine. Run it until the oil warning light goes out.
Inspect Your Car
Each time you change your own oil is a good time to check other things on your car. Test the headlights & brake lights, and wipers. Check the levels of your wiper fluid, transmission fluid, and coolant.
Now that you know how to change your own oil, you can save yourself a lot of money over time. Knowing how to change your own oil is also empowering. To do even more for your car, check out these products from Wade Auto that you can add to customize your vehicle and make it just how you want it.