How to Change Your Own Engine Oil

Autos & TrucksMaintenance

  • Author Tim La Ganke Jr
  • Published October 5, 2008
  • Word count 581

Most of us know that when the car beeps, it is time to get gas, but that is as far as our narrow scope on good car maintenance goes. For many, a visit to the mechanic only happens when major car problems have occurred. Most mechanics would say that the majority of car problems could be avoided if the car owners only changed their motor oil on a regular basis. With the rising price of gas, many Americans are taking the initiative to learn how to be more car repair friendly in order to avoid spending any extra dollars than they have to on their automobiles.

Everyone has heard that the first step to maintaining your car’s healthy condition is by changing the motor oil regularly. And we all have seen those signs advertising a 10 minute oil change at local gas stations or quick stop car repairs. But what if there’s a way to save $50 bucks and do it yourself? There is and it’s easy to do.

Here are the steps you’ll need to get you started in changing your own car’s engine oil.

The first thing you will need to get started is your car owner’s manual. This will tell you how much and what kind of oil is required. You will need to go down to your local auto parts store and make sure you get the right filter for your vehicle. You will also need to purchase a funnel so that you don’t get any oil spillage on your engine, which could cause major problems. In addition, you will also need a pair of filter pliers or a wrench because sometimes the lid to the oil is stubborn coming off. You will also need the right size socket for your specific vehicle. Note that some cars include the socket with the car’s maintenance kit. If your car doesn’t have this, then you can always find one at the auto parts store. Also, make sure to have a rag around to clean up any accidental spills that may occur.

Open up the car’s hood and pull your car up onto a ramp. Make sure your emergency brake is on so that the car doesn’t go anywhere while you are changing the oil. Use a drain pan to catch all the dirty oil and place it under the car by the drain bolt. Use a ratchet or a wrench to remove your car’s drain plug bolt. When the oil is drained all the way down to a drip, screw on the drain plug and tighten it with the ratchet or wrench. Next locate your car’s oil filter and use your pliers or wrench to remove it. Before you install the new filter, take some oil and use it as lube on the "o" ring of the filter. Then reinstall the new filter as tight as possible by hand.

Now that the hard part is done, here comes the easy part. Remove the oil cap from the engine. Place the funnel in the hole and put in the specific amount of oil that your vehicle requires according to the owner’s manual. Screw on the engine oil cap. Start your engine and let it run for a few minutes. Then once you turn off your car, check to see if you have the correct amount of oil in your engine. Congratulations! You have successfully changed your engine oil.

Tim LaGanke, Jr. is president of QuickChange Oil, a 10 minute oil change company, with locations across Northeast Ohio. QuickChange is currently seeking applicants interested in the oil change franchise business. Please contact LaGanke at for more information.

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