A Step-by-Step Guide to Changing Your Car or Truck's Motor Oil
Some people prefer to forego auto repair or specialty oil shops and change their car's oil themselves. This article provides step-by-step instructions for changing your oil yourself.
Your car must have the appropriate amount of clean oil in order for your engine to work properly. Though many specialty oil shops can change your oil and top up your other fluids for a reasonable price, many prefer to save money by changing their oil themselves.
Preparing to Change Your Oil
- Be sure you have a new oil filter, rags, an oil pan, a funnel, and new oil of the proper type and quantity. Your owner's manual can tell you how much of what kind of oil your car or truck requires.
- Run your engine for 10 minutes before draining it to ensure it drains quickly
- Be sure your car is parked on a level surface with its engine off. If it has a low clearance, raise it by driving onto a ramp or jacking it up.
- Open the oil and place the new oil and funnel on top of the engine so that you remember to replace the oil you drain.
Draining Your Oil
- Crawl beneath the your car and locate the oil drain plug, usually located near the center front of the car. Place oil drain pan under the plug, then loosen it with a socket wrench. Remove the plug by hand.
- Let all of the oil drain out into the pan. Clean the plug and the plug opening with a rag when the oil has finished draining. Replace the drain plug gasket and tighten with a wrench or socket being cautious not to over-tighten.
- Locate the existing filter, usually located on the engine's side. Place the oil pan under the filter to catch any residual oil and unscrew the oil filter with a wrench.
- Wipe the area where the filter mounts on the engine with a rag, making sure that the old filter's rubber seal is not stuck to the engine.
- Using some new oil, put a light coat on the rubber seal of a new filter, then screw it into place by hand. Tighten it with a wrench if necessary.
- Locate the oil filler cap which is located under the hood of your car and remove it. Using a funnel, add the new oil. Most cars require 4 to 5 quarts of oil, but your manual should tell you the correct oil type and capacity. Replace cap.
- Run your engine for a few minutes to warm it up, then check the dipstick. The dipstick is a long metal stick located near the oil reservoir. Remove the dipstick and wipe clean, then replace. Remove once more and be certain that oil level is between the indicator lines at the bottom of the stick. Add more oil if necessary.
- Check the oil drain plug and filter once more to be certain there are no leaks.
- Clean up and dispose of oil properly by either bringing it to a recycling center or an auto repair shop which can recycle it for you. Never pour your old oil into the sewer system.
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