The ability to perform your own maintenance on your home and automobiles is one of the easiest ways to save money. Unfortunately, not everybody has the access to or the knowledge how to use the engine hoist or impact driver. Luckily, there is at least one task almost everybody can perform right in your driveway and that’s changing the oil in your car.
First, Why Should I Change My Own Oil
Keeping your car running on fresh oil is important for performance and for long-term engine health. Newer cars don’t need their oil changed as much as the standard every 3,000 miles in older models but being able to perform the job by yourself is a very lucrative experience. The first reason you should change the oil by yourself is to save money. Buying oil by the case offers a nice financial kickback and you don’t need to pay the shop’s labor cost. The other main reason for changing your own oil is convenience. Many times you’ll spend the better part of an hour at a body shop waiting for an oil change and their schedule can be tight. When you know how to change your own oil, the job can be completed in about 25 minutes any time it’s convenient to you.
Before You Start You’ll need a few tools handy in order to properly access all the components associated with an oil change:
- Socket wrench to remove oil drain plug
- Oil filter wrench
- Oil drain pan
Changing The Oil
Before you start, make sure the car is on solid level ground. Now, climb under the car and locate the oil pan. Here’s where you’ll need the socket wrench to loosen the oil cap and drain the old oil into the pan.
Next, remove the oil filter under the hood with the special wrench, lubricate the new one with some oil and screw it back into place.
By now, the old oil should be done draining out of the bottom so screw the plug back into place. Fill your car up with the new oil and start the engine for a couple minutes. Check the levels with your dipstick and add oil until it reaches the ‘full’ line.
It sounds pretty easy but there are some fine details that vary by the make and model of the vehicle. Check your owner’s manual for the proper type of oil to put in and the specific locations of the oil pan, filter, and fill cap. Besides that, changing your own oil is a great way to channel your inner grease monkey and become ‘one’ with your automobile. If you are not conifdent in changing your own oil do not attempt it and instead go to your local garage.