Final Drops
Credit: By: Robert S. Donovan

You should know how to change oil on your vehicle. Oil changes fall under PM that’s preventative maintenance –which is great for your vehicle and bad for the mechanic.  Preventative maintenance is so important that the State of Germany has made it mandatory to learn PM before their citizens get their licenses. Could you just imagine Paris Hilton learning to change oil –if only America made a law like that!

To change oil on your vehicle, you need the following items:

  • Vehicle repair manual (not located in vehicle when vehicle is bought)
  • Box or socket wrench
  • Goggles, oil resistant gloves (protective gear)
  • Carjack (no sizzor jacks, unless you have to!)
  • Jack stands
  • Oil catch
  • Oil filter
  • Oil filter tool
  • Oil
  1. All the information about preventative maintenance can be found in your vehicle’s repair manual. The manual will have step by step instructions on how to change oil. You vehicle repair manual should be able to tell you how much oil you need to put back into your engine after draining it.
  2. Before you learn how to change oil on your vehicle you should know about some safety. Never change oil while the vehicle is running. Always have the key out of the ignition and on the seat when changing oil. Don’t work under a hot engine and always wear protective gear. Make sure the vehicle has its emergency brake on when it’s on stands. Always put a rock or something to wedge itself behind a tire to reduce risk of movement. Always reference your vehicle repair manual for any questions about PM.
  3. In order to safely put a carjack or jack stands under your vehicle you should know where to safely put them. Most vehicles’ jacking points are by the wheel wells underneath the doors. A clear surface under the chassis should be an ideal jacking point, but if you are unsure check you vehicle repair manual.
  4. Once you have positioned your hydraulic carjack into place make sure it is ready to lift. The jack should be under the correct jacking point and fit squarely on a surface that won’t slip. Once you have made sure the jack is in the correct spot continue pumping the action lever to start lifting the vehicle.
  5. Place your jack stands underneath the vehicle on a solid, stable plane. A jack stand point should be close to where you were jacking. Don’t not put a jack stand on the very edge of the vehicle or on an oil pan.  When transferring the weight of the vehicle from the carjack to the stand make sure it is at a controlled rate. When you have your vehicle on the stands give it a nudge to feel how stable it is. If the vehicle feels like it could be tipped over, lower it and start over again.
  6. Locate the oil drain plug on your vehicle’s oil pan and place your oil catch underneath it. This will make sure that the old oil is caught and able to be disposed of properly.  Reference your vehicle repair manual for instructions on how to change oil if you have any questions.
  7. Use your box wrench or socket wrench to unscrew your oil plug. Once the plug has been fully released the oil will start to drain. Wait until the oil starts coming out as a trickle then plug it up again with the oil plug.
  8. Move your oil catch under your oil filter on the side of your engine block. The location of the oil filter should be in your vehicle repair manual. The oil filter is a small cylinder looking part take it by the oil filter tool and unscrew it. The oil filter holds a small amount of oil in it that will drain out when unscrewed.
  9. Replace the old oil filter with a new one with the oil filter tool. The oil filter doesn’t have to be on super tight just enough for a tight seal. To make a better seal for your oil filter dab a little oil on your finger an run it around the rubber seal on the filter before putting it back on.
  10.  To take the vehicle off the stands, put your carjack underneath your jacking point again. Raise the vehicle until there is no weight on the stand and remove the stand. Slowly lower the jack until it is at its final resting position.
  11. Most engines have the oil symbol on the cap where you put oil into. Wipe the area around the cap so no dirt falls inside your engine. Unscrew the cap and using an oil funnal put the amount of oil that your vehicle repair manual tells you to. Screw the cap back on and wipe down any oil that may have dripped on your engine.

Learning how to change oil is not that hard and every vehicle owner should know how to do it. For the final test drive your vehicle around the block and park it. Get out of the vehicle and look for leaks from your filter or plug. If you have no leaks pat yourself on the back you have just learned how to change oil on your vehicle successfully.