Changing your oil is something that has to be done every 3000-5000 miles. Your engine loves clean oil. And I will walk you through everything you need to know how to do to save time and money by doing it yourself!
First things first. Get out of the nice clothes you work and play in. Get ready to get dirty!
You will need to write down the information about your car or truck to make sure you get the right stuff from the parts store. This information will be found on the edge of the front driver’s door, or under the hood itself. You should take this to the part store, and leave with 1 oil filter, and 4-8 quarts of oil depending on the size of your engine.
Next, you will need a crescent wrench. This is also called an adjustable wrench. It will make sure you can remove the drain plug without needlessly having to sort through sockets. Park in a level spot that will support the car.
Next, jack up your car and place something solid under each wheel to prevent it from falling on you. This is VERY important. A car can weigh between 1,500 and 5,000 pounds.
Next get either a 5 gallon bucket, or cut the tops off of a few empty milk jugs. Put them under the car and slide yourself under the car with the crescent wrench. On the bottom of the engine is the oil pan. This is where the oil inside the engine pools to be pumped everywhere it’s needed. Look on the sides of the oil pan near the bottom for a small to medium bolt head. This is called the drain plug. Position your bucket about 6 inches in front of this plug BEFORE removing it. The amount of oil in the engine will force a stream a few inches of weight pressure.
Remove the drain plug and be careful not to drop it in the bucket. If you’re using empty gallon jugs, you may have to change it before the oil is done draining. Once all the oil has finished draining, replace the drain plug and make sure it’s really snug, but not very tight and put the used up oil in a place where it won’t get knocked over. We don’t want to pollute do we?
Next is the filter. This is easy. If you don’t have access to an oil wrench, you can use a belt from your pants just as well. Turn it counter clockwise to loosen. Make sure you have an empty jug under it when you pull it off. A small filter will hold about half a quart of used oil. Drain the old filter completely and set it with the used oil. This can all be taken to the parts store for recycling.
Next, open a quart of the new oil and dip your finger in it. Rub the new oil on the gasket of the new filter. Make sure it’s completely covered with the new oil. Now get the new filter in position and turn it clockwise until it’s hand tight. Use the belt to turn it another 1/4-1/2 turn. The filter does not have to be tight. Too tight will crush the gasket and compromise the seal it’s designed to make.
Next, pour the new oil in at the top of the engine. There’s usually a palm sized cap with an oil symbol on it that can be removed very easily by hand. In a few cases, you may have to pour the new oil in through the dipstick. In this case you will need a funnel. You can fashion one from some heavy construction paper that will last long enough to do the trick. Replace the oil fill cap and/or dipstick and check the oil level by wiping the dipstick with a clean paper towel and putting it back in for a few seconds. Remove it and look at the tip. The full line is usually well defined and easy to spot. Bring the oil level to this line.
Next is to close the hood and take a shower. You’re done! you saved yourself a little money and learned a new trick. The final step is to pat yourself on the back for a job well done.