Learn how to change your oil

 In Neal's How-To's

We will teach you how to change the oil in your car like a pro. Many inexpensive oil change shops will use cheap oil, and really cheap filters, thereby affecting the performance of your car in the long-term. By doing it yourself, you can use good motor oil, good filters and know the job is getting done right.

Step 1: Go to an auto parts store and get the following supplies:

  • Oil pan that comes with plastic screw caps to plug its holes once full of oil. You will recycle this afterwards
  • Oil filter wrench
  • Ratchet set
  • Drain plug washer
  • Gloves so you don’t get oil on your skin
  • Car Jack and jack stands or set of car ramps and blocks for the back tires. If you want to be cheap, you can park your car on the curb to give it the required elevation
  • Synthetic oil: Make sure you check your car’s manual for the specific viscosity needed and the amount, which will be in quarts.. Once you know this number, check the front of the oil bottle to find a match. Synthetic oil is better than conventional. There are a lot of myths about changing from synthetic to conventional and vice versa, don’t listen to them. Conventional oil is cheaper, but all new cars should run on synthetic oil.
  • Oil Filter: Look at the booklet at the store, find your car type and you will find the type of oil filter required.

Step 2: Elevate your car. You can either use a jack, car ramps, or park your car unto a curb. In every scenario make sure you have wooden blocks placed on back of your rear tires

  • Jack your car
    • If you have a manual transmission, put it in first gear and initiate emergency brake, which will prevent the car from rolling. If you have an automatic transmission, park car and engage emergency brake. Block the rear tires before jacking car.
    • Get your jack and place it underneath the vehicle. Find your jacking points (they are little indents in them on the frame to support the vehicle. Then you jack car up. Get your jack stands and put underneath the car where there is a big piece of metal on the frame. Let the car down slowly, and put the jack back on the frame.
  • Using car ramps (this method is the easiest)
    • Slide two ramps in front of the car. Drive the car up on the ramp. Park on emergency brake and put wooden blocks on the rear. Shake the car to check its stability. You get more a lot more room using the car ramps and its safer to use than ramps.

Step 3: Go underneath the car

  • Locate oil drain pan. The drain pan is usually black and has a bolt where fluid should be let out. Oil drain pan is usually located next to oil filter. In some vehicles oil filter is located on top of the engine e.g. Toyota Tacoma.
  • Get your oil collection pan and put underneath oil drain pan. Use your ratchet on the drain plug. You can use a long breaker bar if having difficulty with your ratchet. It gives you more leverage. Then loosen the drain plug. Oil starts to drain into your collection pan. Then screw drain plug back in. Don’t over-tighten your drain plug. You want to tighten till its snug.

Step 4: Replace oil filter

  • If your oil filter is tight and won’t come off, you can use a wrench to remove. Once loosened you can then use your hand. Make sure your collection pan is underneath the oil filter. Once you remove, the fluid will drip onto your collection pan.
  • Get your new filter. We recommend you pre-oil your filter so the engine doesn’t run dry when you first start it up. Fill it in with our brand new oil using your funnel. Take a bit of the oil poured and rub on the gasket.
  • Go back underneath your car and screw the new oil filter back in with your hands.

Step 5: Add new oil to your engine.

  • Look at the top of your engine. You will find a cap with the oil symbol. Use a paper towel to clean the cap of the engine first. Then take your funnel insert into hole and add the necessary amount of oil into your engine. To know the correct amount, revert back to your owner’s manual. Check the oil bottle and on the handle you will find the measurement to guide you on how much oil you have poured. If you position your bottle sideways as you pour, it gives you more control and reduces the likelihood of spilling.
  • Get your car back on level ground. Go into car and start. Shut the car off and let it cool off for 5 minutes so all the oil settles. Remove your dipstick,, get a towel to clean it off. Put it back in, and pull back out. If you look at dipstick, make sure oil level is at the higher point of the dipstick. (Show a picture here.)

Now you know how to change your oil like a pro!



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