Like a Doctor, But For Your Car

How to Change Your Own Motor Oil

If you feel like saving some money by changing your vehicle's motor oil on your own, here is what you need to know to get this job done. 

Tools and Materials

Thankfully, there are only a few things that you need to change your own motor oil. An oil change pan will be necessary to catch the oil, which can be reused for future oil changes. You'll also need a ratchet, funnel, plastic bag, paper towels, and some rubber gloves if you want to stay clean. Your local auto parts store can help you purchase the right oil filter and motor oil that is compatible with your vehicle. 

Locate the Essential Parts

Start by locating where your oil filter is located, which should be white and have ridges. You also need to know where the oil cap is, which is where the oil enters the oil reservoir, and where the oil plug is underneath the vehicle. 

Drain the Oil

Start by unscrewing the cap to the oil tank, which will allow air to start flowing into the oil reservoir. This helps the oil come out quickly. Place the oil pan underneath the vehicle where the oil plug is located. Use the ratchet to unscrew the plug, and be prepared for the oil to come out right away. Give the oil some time to completely drain out of your vehicle. 

Replace the Filter

Reach down to where the oil filter is located and turn it counterclockwise to loosen it. The oil filter should come right off. If you are having problems removing the filter, it will help to use a rubber strap wrench to grip around the filter. Take a small amount of oil from the old oil filter, put it around the O ring of the new oil filter, and hand-tighten the new filter back onto your vehicle. 

Plug the Oil Drain

Now the old oil should be gone. You should secure the oil plug back in place using the ratchet. Make sure that this plug is secured on tight by giving it an extra twist. That's all it should take to secure it in place. 

Refill the Oil

Use your funnel to put the motor oil in your vehicle. Your instruction owner's manual should state how much oil is needed for your engine, but check the oil levels afterward with the dipstick to confirm that it is at the right levels. 

Check Your Vehicle

Turn on your vehicle and check the oil pressure gauge. The gauge should be going upward to indicate that everything is good. Let the vehicle run for a few minutes before shutting down the car and checking the oil levels once more. The oil should still be at the right level.

If this seems like it's too difficult or too time-consuming to do on your own, then take your car to a local auto shop to get an oil change.