Hey all! This week we are gonna get messy since I did an oil change.
If you don't already do your own oil changes, you should. You can save a lot of money and hassle just by taking 30 minutes to an hour to do it yourself. And you can help prolong your engine life by getting better oils than your dealership or service garage would use. The garage I work at uses a synthetic blend oil which doesn't last as long as a full synthetic, but is loads cheaper to buy. A synthetic blend oil change at our garage costs you $40, covering up to 5 quarts of oil and a full synthetic will run you $60, still only covering 5 quarts. Additional quarts are $5.50 for the blend, and $9 for the synthetic. For my Honda Civic, I can go to Autozone, buy 4 quarts of full synthetic 0W20 Mobil oil and a Fram ToughGuard filter for about $35.
Here is a list of tools you might need:
- Oil (To find the right quantity of oil, you can go here, or use your owner's manual)
- Oil Filter (Use the website above to find the right type of filter)
- Socket wrench
- Filter wrench (I use a 3 leg adjustable one)
- Oil drain pan (try to get one with a little screen to catch the drain plug)
- Jack and jack stands
- Gloves (ones that can withstand heat)
- Paper towels (I recommend the blue super absorbent ones from Autozone)
The first thing you are going to want to do is put your car up on jacks, but make sure its on a flat surface like your garage. You don't want to use the jacks that came in your car for emergency tire changes, they're not meant for use like this.
If you are worried about your garage floor, you can also put some cardboard down to stop oil from getting all over the floor.
The next thing to do is to remove the skid plate, if your car has one. If you have an SUV or older model car, you don't have to worry about it. They're mostly installed on the cars that are closer to the ground to protect the undercarriage in case you bottom out. After that, get under the car with your oil drain pan and socket wrench to find the drain plug. They're usually 14-17mm in size and are marked on the engine oil container.
Be careful removing it, the oil is going to come out with some velocity, especially if it is still warm. You may also want to wear work gloves while doing this since the engine may still be hot. Protip: To make your next oil change go a little easier, consider purchasing a QwikValve. They have a little nozzle so instead of taking out the drain plug completely, you just turn the valve and the oil pours out. Wait a few minutes for all the oil to drain out, it might take a while.
Here is the oil pouring out of my car. Yes, a little spilled...
Next you find the oil filter. Its that black circle in the middle of the photo.
OEM filters are blue or orange, mine is black because I've done an oil change on my car previously. Some cars have filters that have a removable filter and a cap that isn't interchangeable.
These are called canister filters. In these cases you would remove the cap, put the new filter element in, and replace the cap.
This will drip when you unscrew it, so move your drain pan directly under it. I also put some newspaper into the undercarriage around the filter to direct any oil into the drain pan. Once you remove that, pour a little new oil into the new filter, wet the edges of the filter with oil to create a better seal and screw it into place, hand tighten, and screw your oil drain plug back and make sure to use your socket wrench to tighten it. Now you're ready to add oil!
Put in the correct amount of oil, screw the cap back into place, and then run your engine for a few minutes to check for leaks. Once you turn your engine off, check the dipstick to make sure that the oil quantity is correct, put your skidplate back on, take your car off the jacks, and you're ready to go!
Again, let me know what you think in the comments, if you have any questions about oil changes, or any recommendations for future weekly car posts. Thanks for reading!
Hat tip to The Stig's Graphic Designer Cousin for catching some steps I left out!