How to Do an Easy Oil Change in 15 Quick Steps

Oil Change

Surprisingly, oil changes are one of the most important and inexpensive vehicle maintenance services around. Oil plays a crucial role in keeping your car or truck running smoothly, and if you’re looking to keeping it in tip top shape then you may want to consider spending a little money on routine oil changes because oil changes can help prevent you from spending a lot of money down the road.  And no one wants to spend a lot of money if they don’t have to spend it.

An oil change can easily be done in just 15 easy steps. First…

The Supplies You’ll Need

    • Car jack
    • Car jack stands (play it safe)
    • Wrench to remove drain plug (box end or socket)
    • Oil filter wrench
    • Latex gloves
    • Old towel/blanket to catch any oil that leaks or spills
    • Sturdy oil drain pan (must be heat safe, preferably with spout)
    • Oil
    • Oil filter
    • Funnel


  • Paper towels


How to Change Your Oil

  1. Find the drain plug located underneath your car.  The drain plug is a large nut or 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 the car up.


  1. Put a medium size container under the oil drain plug.  Do this so you catch the oil.


  1. Unscrew the oil drain plug. Use a rag or paper towels to protect your hands, and be ready to move your hand out of the way quickly. The oil will drain out of your engine into the container.


  1. 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.  If you’re unable to do it by hand then try using a wrench. The filter has oil in it, so be careful not to spill it when you remove it. If any fragments of the filter’s rubber seal get on your engine make sure to remove them as soon as possible.


  1. Empty the oil from the filter into a drain pan.


  1. Open a new bottle of oil and put the tip of your finger into oil. Use the oil to moisten the gasket on the top of the new oil filter.


  1. Replace the old filter with the new one. Follow directions on the filter, or turn it gently by hand until it “settles” and then turn it another three-quarters.


  1. Wipe around the oil drain plug.  Do this only after all the oil has drained out.


  1. Replace the oil drain plug using an adjustable wrench to tighten it.  If your vehicle uses an oil drain plug gasket, make sure the old one has been removed and put a new gasket on the pan before you replace the plug.


  1. Use a funnel to pour all but 1 quart of the fresh oil into the oil filler hole.  Pour the oil slowly this way you’ll give it adequate time to run down.


  1. Replace the oil filler cap and run the engine for 30 to 60 seconds.  Check and make sure there are no leaks from the oil drain plug or around the filter.


  1. Shut off the engine.  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 using a lint-free rag, and put it back in, then take it out again and check it.


  1. Slowly add the oil. Check the stick after each addition until you reach the “Full” line on the dipstick.


  1. Go for a test drive.  Remove the drain pan from under the vehicle and drive the car a couple of blocks.


  1. Relax, recheck and TA-DA. Shut the car off again for 5 to 10 minutes, and then recheck the dipstick. If it’s still at “Full,” then you’ve SUCCEEDED and YOU’RE DONE!

Tips to Keep in Mind:

  • Before you get your car up on a jack, make sure to run your car for a couple of minutes to ensure that the oil in your car is warm. Once the oil is warm then shut off the car.   You want the oil warm because it will flow out easier.
  • The most dangerous part of doing an oil change is lifting the vehicle without the proper equipment. Always make sure you have the proper equipment and if you’re unsure about something – Ask!  It’s always good to have a reliable go to person or service station you can rely on for advice.
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