One of the main ways to ensure that your car runs smoothly and lasts a long time, is to keep up with your regular maintenance. While it is important to rotate your tires and check your fluids, performing routine oil changes should be at the top of your list. If you are a novice when it comes to changing oil, here are some tips to help you out.
Get Your Supplies Together
Before you can change the oil, you will need to know what type of oil your car takes as well as the specific amount. You will also need a funnel to help you pour the oil, a container for the fluid and your choice of oil filter. When choosing an oil filter, typically, you can decide according to your preference. However, if you want to be exact, you can read your car’s manual or replace the existing oil filter with an exact match.
Preparing Your Work Area
Changing oil can be a very messy job; therefore, you should be careful to lay down cardboard or newspaper in order to prevent the oil from getting all over the place. After properly preparing a level surface, place your vehicle in park, apply the parking brake, pop the hood and jack it up so you can see underneath it.
Release the Old Oil
Slide your container underneath the drain plug, and loosen it using a ratcheting wrench in a counterclockwise motion. Be careful not to completely remove it, and let the oil drip into your collection container. Once you start to get a good drip, you can remove the plug, so all of the oil begins to pour into the container.
Changing the Filter
Once the oil has drained from the engine completely, you can then replace the old oil filter. In order to get a really good seal when installing your new oil filter, you should rub a little bit of oil on the O-ring first. Depending on the type of filter you have, you might have to screw it off or take off the cap in order to replace it.
You’re Almost Done
At this point, the old oil should have been mostly drained, so you can reattach your drain plug. Make sure you replace the metal washer with the new one that came with your oil filter. When tightening your drain plug, be careful not to turn it too tight as this could cause damage to your oil pan. Typically, it would be torqued to approximately 20 ft-lb; however, you should check your car’s specs just to be on the safe side.
Insert your funnel into the oil fill compartment on your engine, and pour the specified amount of oil into it. Use a dipstick just to make sure you have added the correct amount of oil. Do this by removing it and wiping it clean before inserting it into the tube. Now, you’ll be able to get an accurate read, and add more oil if need be.
After you have added oil into the engine and replaced the cap, start the engine and let it run for a little bit before turning the car off. Give your oil levels another check just to be sure, add more oil if necessary and make sure you don’t have any leaks. If everything is all well, you can dispose of your empty oil bottle, old filter, trash, et cetera and you’re done.
Although changing your oil yourself can be quite messy and a little involved, it isn’t something that you have to necessarily be a pro to do. Just make sure you follow the proper steps, read any and all directions, use the specified products and you should be fine.