oil change

How to Change the Oil on Your Car

You can change oil like a professional with investment in a few tools and never have to worry about paying for an oil change again. It all starts with planning, safety, and having reliable tools that make the job easier. Let’s learn how to change the oil in your car as the professionals do.

#1: Invest in Tools

You will need the following tools:

• 3- or 4-ton automotive floor jack
• Disposable latex gloves
• Set of socket wrenches or box wrenches
Oil filter cap or strap
• Oil drain pan
• Oil funnel
• Shop rags
• Brake cleaner
• Copper drain plug washers; or
• Self-sealing drain plug with rubber seal ring
• Appropriately rated synthetic or conventional oil
• New oil filter

#2: Remove the Oil

In order to remove the old oil, you will have to place your vehicle on a level surface such as a driveway or garage. If your driveway or garage stains easily, you may want to lay down a layer of plastic sheeting.

Before working under the car, you should remove the filler cap on the engine to release pressure. Keep the hood propped up throughout the change process.

Ensure that the parking brake is set and that the vehicle is in its parking gear. You may want to use tire chocks on a manual transmission as an added security. Look for the lift point arrow indention near the front lower rocker panel below the driver’s side door. This will point you to the reinforced metal tab called a lift point.

Once you find the lift point, you will set up the vehicle jack on this spot. Some pros use an old busted timing belt or some other rubber cushioning to prevent damage to the paint when jacking up the car here. Once the left front quarter of the vehicle is lifted, you can place your jack stand under the vehicle for reinforcement near the subframe and take some pressure off the lift by slowly letting out some air pressure.

Next, you will want to loosen the drain plug using a box wrench or a socket mounted onto a 3/8″ breaker bar if necessary. Catch the oil in your drain pan. Once it stops, you can use the strap wrench or oil wrench cap to remove any disposable metal cartridge filters.

Other filters will need to be removed from the top after you replace and firmly tighten the oil drain plug. Use a new copper washer for each change unless your plug has a rubber seal built in. Firmly hand-tighten any new oil filters, ensuring to lubricate any rubber o-rings with a dab of fresh motor oil. Clean up any residual drips with the brake clean fluid spray. And, finally, lower the vehicle back down to the ground.

#3: Replace the Oil

You should research the appropriate weight, quantity, and type of oil to use on your vehicle beforehand. This makes it easy to pour in the 4 or 5 quarts needed without guessing and checking. Pour the new oil into the engine using an oil funnel to reduce spills.

#4: Check the Oil Level

Start the car and idle it. Rev the engine a few times. Then, shut the engine off and check the level on the dipstick. It should reach the maximum point after you clean it, dip it in, and pull it back out. If not, remove or add more until you get the right level. It is that easy!