Getting your oil changed in your car by a professional can be quite costly, so why not just do it yourself? You typically should get your oil changed roughly ever 3000 miles or 5000 KM which usually equates to about four times a year.

You will need the following items in order to change your own oil:

  • New oil (check your owners manual for how much and what type)
  • New oil filter
  • Socket Set
  • Oil drain pan
  • Car Jack
  • 2 Jack Stands
  • Rags

The first step to changing your oil is to run your engine for 10-15 minutes prior to draining your oil as hot oil drains much quicker than cool oil.

Next, pull your car into a garage or other area that has a flat surface. You will most likely either have to drive your car onto a ramp to elevate the front end, or jack your car up on the jacking points to give yourself enough clearance to get under the engine.

You should have the oil recommended by your cars manual ready to go as you will not be able to drive your car once we've drained the oil until we put new oil back in.

Next, open the hood of your car exposing the engine compartment. Before getting under the car make sure you have placed jack stands under the car and you are not just relying upon the jack itself. Once the jack stands are in place, rock your car a bit to make sure it will not fall on you.

We are now going to go under your car to locate the Oil pan plug. The oil drain plug resembles a bolt on your oil pan. The oil drain plug is generally located in the center of the oil pan at the bottom of your engine. If you can't find it, consult your user's manual to see the oil drain plugs exact location.

Oil Drain PlugThe next thing we will need to do is place an oil drain pan underneath the oil drain plug so when we remove it, we don't spill any oil. Locate the socket or wrench that fits on your oil pan plug, and then rotate the plug counter clockwise until it can be removed from the oil pan. Watch out as the oil will most likely squirt out 4-6 inches..

Once you've removed the oil plug, put it somewhere safe as we will need to put it back into the oil pan in a few minutes. The oil will take a few minutes to drain; you may need to reposition the oil drain pan as the oil drains to compensate for the lack of oil pressure as the oil drains.

Next, grab your oil drain plug, and replace the drain plug gasket, this will ensure no future oil leaks. Once the new gasket is installed, place the plug back in the oil pan. Hand tighten the oil drain plug then wipe off any spilled oil around the plug with a cloth. Once the area is clean retighten the oil drain plug with the wrench or socket you used to take it off.

The next step in the oil change process is replacing the oil filter. Locate the oil filter; it should be located somewhere on the side of your engine. Next, place the oil drain pan underneath the filter to catch any spills when we remove it.

We are now going to use an adjustable oil filter wrench to remove the old oil filter. Once you've removed the filter and allowed any more oil to drip out, use a cloth to wipe off any oil that is left between where the oil filter used to be and the engine. Also check to make sure the rubber gasket from the old oil filter has been successfully removed and is not still stuck to the engine, if it is, remove it.

Next, grab your new oil filter and put a light coating of oil on the rubber gasket. Once you've got the oil on the gasket, hand tighten the new oil filter until it is snug. If you can't get it snug by hand, use the oil filter wrench to very gently tighten the oil filter. The filter does not need to be extremely tight.

So now that we have all the really dirty work done, it is time to fill your engine back up with nice new clean oil. Locate the oil filler cap on top of your engine and remove the screw off cap.

Place a funnel in the opening and pour in the new oil. Make sure you read your manual to find out exactly how much oil you need. Too much oil can damage your engine. Once you have applied the appropriate volume of oil, replace the twist off cap and go turn on your engine. Let your engine run for a minute before checking your oil dipstick to verify that you have added enough oil. If your oil levels look good, climb back under the car and check the oil drain plug and the oil filter region to make sure no oil is leaking. If it is, you may want to tighten up the problematic area.

Finally, use rags or newspaper to clean up any oil spills you may have had while changing your oil. Once you are all cleaned up, take your old oil to an oil recycling company. Disposing of your oil yourself is illegal and could get you in a lot of trouble on top of the damaging effects it has on the environment.

Congratulations, you've just changed your own oil!