Changing your car’s oil sounds more difficult than it actually is – and it’s a great way to save some money! (Your car’s manual should tell you how much oil to get.) Here, we’ll walk you through the necessary steps to easily changing your oil.
- Purchase replacement oil. Your vehicle's manual will estimate how much oil to use and if there are any special requirements for the type of oil needed to support your vehicle.
- Prepare the area under your vehicle. You'll need to position a large container under the drain to catch the oil. The drain plug is a large plug located under the oil pan at the bottom of the engine. If you can’t reach your oil drain plug easily, you’ll have to either crawl under your car to reach it or jack up the car. If using a jack, be sure to check its weight rating to support your vehicle and carefully follow the instructions on the jack.
- Find and unscrew the oil drain plug under your vehicle. Protect your hand with a rag or some paper towels, and be ready to move your hand out of the way quickly. Unscrew the plug to begin draining the oil out of your engine and into the prepared container.
- Remove the cap from the oil filler hole at the top of your engine and unscrew the oil filter. To unscrew the filter, twist it counterclockwise. You can use a wrench if it is too tight to unscrew by hand. The filter will have oil in it, so be careful not to spill when you remove it. If any remnants of the filter’s rubber seal remain on your engine, you should remove them.
- Empty the oil from the filter into a drain pan. After the filter is empty, wrap it in newspaper and set it aside to take to a recycling center with your old oil.
- Moisten the gasket on the top of the new oil filter. Open a new bottle of oil and use your finger to moisten the gasket with oil.
- Screw the new filter into the engine where the old filter was. Follow the directions on the filter or turn it gently by hand until it “seats,” and then give it another three-quarter turn.
- After all the oil has drained out, wipe down where the oil drain plug goes. Make sure to do this only after all the oil has drained out.
- 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 has been removed and lay a new gasket on the pan before you replace the plug.
10. Use a funnel to pour all but 1 quart of the fresh oil into the oil filler hole. You should pour slowly to allow the oil time to run down.
11. Replace the oil filler cap and run the engine for 30 to 60 seconds. Make sure to check for leaks from the oil drain plug and around the filter.
12. Shut off the engine and wait 5 to 10 minutes for the oil to settle into the oil pan, and then check the oil level again. Remove the oil dipstick, wipe it with a clean, lint-free rag, and put it back in. Then, pull it out again and check it.
13. Keep adding oil a little at a time. Check the stick after each addition until you reach the “Full” line on the dipstick.
14. Remove the drain pan from under the vehicle and give the car a test drive. Drive around for a bit to test how your car is running. You can just drive around the block a couple of times.
15. Let the oil settle again for 5 to 10 minutes, then recheck the dipstick. If it’s still at “Full,” you’re all set!
These simple steps will help you change your car’s oil without a lot of hassle or mess. Roll up your sleeves and save some money!