Changing your own oil can be a cost effective, simple way to maintain your car’s engine. The highest cost you will endure when changing your own oil comes from the initial investment that must be made for supplies and equipment. Once you have purchased all the supplies you will need, the only expense comes from purchasing oil and replacement filters for you engine. You should change your oil every 3,000 miles to prevent damage to your engine.
Purchase Your Oil Change Supplies
The most important piece of equipment you will need is an oil pan/collector to put the used oil into and properly dispose of. Most auto supply stores will have a large barrel for recycling oil. It is important to dispose of oil properly. Depending on the type of car you drive, you may need to invest in some sort of jack or lift system that will allow you access to the underside of the car where the oil plug is located. Consult your owner’s manual to determine what type of oil you will need and how much oil your car will take (usually 5 quarts). Also located in the owner’s manual is the size oil filter you will need.
Drain the Oil
Located underneath you car, usually at the front in the center, is the drain plug that holds the oil in your engine. Although oil drains more quickly when it is warm, it is much safer to drain the oil after your car has been sitting for a while and has had time to cool. You may need to use a wrench to remove the plug but remember that when you do, oil will begin to come out of the car so be ready with a container (like your drain pan) to catch the oil and if the car was running recently be very careful not to let the hot oil come in contact with your skin.
Once the oil has drained from the engine, replace the oil plug before refilling the engine. Inside the engine is an oil fill cap, not to be confused with the dipstick used to check the oil level. Once again, consult the owner’s manual to be sure you are putting oil into the right place. Using a funnel, slowly pour the oil into the engine. Be sure not to let oil spill onto the engine block or to overfill the engine.
How to Replace the Oil Filter
Underneath the car is located the oil filter. The oil filter filters out oil as it cycles through the engine to prevent build up. This filter will need to be changed with the oil. To remove the old filter, turn it counterclockwise. You may need to use a filter wrench which can be purchased at an auto supply store. Oil filters, like Fram filters, have a textured bottom and are easier to grab. Once again watch for dripping oil as you remove the old filter especially if you are changing your oil in your gagage or on your driveway.
Easy Step By Step Instructions On How To Change Your Oil
- Purchase supplies at your local automotive store
- Drain the oil from the engine being careful not to spill oil or burn yourself with the hot oil
- Replace the oil filter
- Dispose of used materials and oil properly
Warnings, Advice, and Suggestions When Changing Oil
Watch local newspaper ads for oil change specials at automotive shops. These sales usually provide you will all the supplies you will need at a discounted price saving you time and money. Be very careful not to get hot oil on your skin, clothing or in your eyes. If you come into contact with hot oil, rinse the area immediately with cool water and consult a physician.