An excellent way to save $10 is to change your own oil. There are a few tools that you will need to buy, but after changing your own oil just a couple of times your investment is easily paid for.

The tools that you will need to buy/borrow to change your oil are a low profile oil pan, oil filter wrench, funnel, and a wrench that fits the plug on your oil pan. Prior to starting the oil change process you will want to buy a new filter and correct amount of oil for your car. This can be done at any auto parts store, or Walmart. You can locate the correct filter, type of oil, and amount the engine holds in the back of the owner’s manual of your car.

Many people believe that you need to have a car jack to get under your car to change your oil like you see in tv commercials.  This isn’t necessary. Car repair business invest in entire car jacks so as their workers are more efficient. It is much quicker to be standing to change oil than to lay on the ground. In order to stay safe and to avoid the investment of even a smaller floor jack is to leave your car completely on the ground on all 4 wheels.  Most cars have enough clearance to slide the oil pan under them and to access the oil plug.

In order to actually change your oil the first thing you will want to do let your car cool down for at least an hour. Unless you are expienced at changing your oil it is very easy to burn yourself on the hot car. One the car is cool the first step is to slide the oil pan under the car. You should be able to locate the plug on the engines oil pan fairly easily. Sometimes you may see 2 plugs under the car. One is your engine oil and the other is the transmission. The transmission plug will be behind the engine plug most of the time. Another way to distinguish the oil plug from the transmission plug is that the transmission plug will be on a larger flatter pan compared to the engines oil pan which will be deeper and smaller. 

Once your oil pan is positioned appropriately crack loose the plug with the correct sized wrench.  Remove the plug, set it aside, and let the oil drain. While the oil is draining you can move to removing the oil filter. Use the filter wrench to remove the existing oil filter. This can be a little tricky with the tight spaces within the engine compartment. Once you have the filter removed keep it upright because it will still be full of oil. After the oil change is complete tip the filter upside down in the oil pan so that it drains out. Do not throw it in the trash. It is illegal.

The next step is to put the new filter on. On newer vehicles you do not need to fill the filter with oil prior to placing it on the engine block. Before attaching the new filter make sure that the old seal came off with the old filter. If the old seal remains, it will cause your engine to pump all the oil out of the system and ruin your engine in a matter of minutes. When screwing on the new filter make sure it is started straight (not cross threaded). If you ruin the threads where the filter attaches it could cost you thousands of dollars.  

By the time you get the new filter attached the oil should be done draining. Put the plug back into the engine oil pan and tighten. As long as you are down there take the oil that is now full of used oil out from under the car. Now it is time refill your car with oil. Locate where to fill the engine with oil. It will have an oil can on the cap. If you are not sure where it is look in your owner’s manual.  After you have added the oil remove all the tools from under the hood. Start the car and let it run for about 30 seconds. After you have shut it off check the oil level and add if needed. Make sure to not overfill the engine either as this can also cause damage.

That’s it. For a half hour of work you just save $10 over what it would have cost to have someone else change your oil. The only remaining question is what to do will the old oil and filter. Most places that change your oil will take the used oil for free. They get paid by reclamation companies for their used oil. It may cost you a dollar for them to dispose of the filter