Changing your own oil

                Changing your own oil can be much cheaper than taking it to a shop. It is much easier than most people think and as long as you have some basic tools and a little automotive know how you will be fine. This is an extremely detailed article and I believe anyone can figure out how to change their oil using this article


  • Proper size wrench to fit oil pan drain plug
  • Strap wrench
  • Correct oil filter
  • Correct weight oil
  • Shop rags
  • Drain pan
  • Jack and jack stands
  • Funnel

Start by opening your hood and locating your dipstick, which is normally yellow, and oil filler cap, which usually has oil or an oil can on it. Jack up your car at the proper jacking point and place jack stands under the car for added support. Never crawl under a car only supported by a jack.

                Locate your oil pan drain plug and be sure it is the drain plug for the oil pan and not the transmission pug. Next place a drain pan under the plug and remove it to drain the oil from the engine. While you are waiting for the oil to drain clean the drain plug with a rag. Once the oil is completely drained reinsert the drain plug and tighten the drain plug. Do not over tighten as most drain pans are made of aluminum and will be stripped out if they are over tightened.

                Now you can locate your oil filter on the engine block. The oil filter is a cylinder and will usually be orange, black, or white with a brand name on it such as Fram or Napa. Place a drain pan under the filter and grasp it with your hand, twist it off to unscrew it. If you can’t unscrew the filter by hand you can use a strap wrench or a large pair of channel lock pliers. Once the old oil filter is removed check that the rubber gasket is still on the oil filter. Clean the mounting spot with a rag to remove any dirt or oil left behind. Before you install a new filter dip your finger in clean motor oil and run it around the rubber gasket on the filter. Now you can screw the new filter in place be sure that you do not cross thread it and only hand tighten it.

                Look for a sticker under your hood or in your owner’s manual for the proper amount of oil for your engine. Put a funnel in the oil filler tube with the cap removed and put the recommended amount of oil in the engine. Be sure you don’t overfill and clean up any spills now.

                Start your car and look for leaks then leave it idle for a few minutes. Shut your car off wait approximately five minutes and then check your dipstick. Be sure to pull the dipstick straight up, wipe it clean then reinsert and pull it out again the dipstick should read halfway between add and full marks.

Your car should run much better and get better gas mileage now that it has fresh oil. The oil in your car is like the blood in your veins and if it is not changed it will cause lots of problems. Changing your car’s oil is by far the most important thing you can do to increase the life of your car.

  • Always dispose of used motor oil responsibly at your local collection center or at a dump or refuse site that accepts it.
  • Never over tighten the drain pan plug
  • Be sure you are removing the right bolt
  • Never climb under a car that is only supported by a jack