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How to Change the Oil in Your Car or Truck

By Edited Mar 12, 2014 0 0

Changing the oil in your car is one of the most important things you can do to maintain your car. If you do not change the oil when it needs to be changed your engine could suffer from it. If oil is not changed regularly your filter can become clogged with contaminants. If you simply let the oil run dry your engine will burn out. It can overheat and a lot more damage can be done. Fortunately, you can change your oil quite easily and at much less cost than paying someone to change it for you.

Tools needed
First, you will need to gather all the tools you will need to change the oil. If you have a toolbox you will likely have everything you need. The most important things you will need are a

oil changing equipment
wrench, oil filter wrench and something to drain the oil into.  Of course, you will need the oil and a filter.  You will want to have a funnel as well.  I can remember my grandfather rolling up paper for this, but that is not a good idea.  You should check your owners’ manual or ask a part service associate for the type of oil and filter you need. I would also recommend something to lay on and a towel or paper towel to wipe your hands off with.  Old clothes are essential.  You will get dirty. 

Looking for Change
To begin changing your oil you should first start your car for a short period of time. This will allow the oil to become a bit heated which will make more of the oil drain out. After you have let the car heat up for a few minutes you should open the hood and find the oil filler cap on the top of the engine. This will allow air to flow come in as the oil is being drained, which means more oil is pushed down. Then locate the drain plug at the bottom of the oil pan. This is usually at the back of the engine. If you cannot find it look from above, then crawl under the hood and located the drain plug. Be sure to have something to catch the oil, as if you do not properly dispose of it you can be fined. It also common courtesy to do so. Oil can leave stains on concrete and many other surfaces.

After you have set everything up you will need to loosen the drain plug. You will need a wrench or the proper socket for this task. You will use the wrench or socket to loosen the drain plug counterclockwise. You will do this until it is completely off. If you lose the bolt in the oil pan you can find it quickly with a small magnet. You simply need to run the magnet over the oil. The bolt will become attached to the magnet. Another way to keep the drain plug is to use a funnel with screening. You will watch the plug as it falls out. Then you can simply set it aside because you will not need it anymore. Let the oil drain completely.

After you have let the oil drain you will then want to replace the drain plug on the oil pan. You should install another gasket or washer. You will then need to screw in a new lubricant filter. Some filters come in more than one. For this you will have to replace all of them. They will usually say how tight to screw them in. Read the box you get the filters in. This will have all of the directions you need to screw it in properly.

oil wrench


After you have done all of this it is time to add the new oil. All owners’ manuals come with how much oil the car can have added to it. It listed in a capacity form which tells how much it can hold. When you have figured this out you can either measure it beforehand or you can simply add it and check the dipstick in the next morning. You will not want to check the oil level with the dipstick right after as the engine has just been running. Let the oil settle and cool down before you check it.

Next you will replace the fill cap where it is supposed to go. After this you are essentially done changing your oil. However, you will need to start the engine to make sure the oil pressure light does not turn on. Run the engine for a minute and check around the car to make sure there are no leaks. If the filter and drain plug is not tight enough it can leak slowly from the vehicle. After you have checked for this you will want to make sure all of your tools are picked up and the old oil is in a proper container for disposal.

Disposing of Oil
When you dispose of the oil you can do it in two different ways. You can take it a place to properly dispose of it such as a mechanic shop.  There are other places you can dispose of the oil at.  You will just have to ask around. Typically places that take your oil do charge a price to do so. But they will make sure it is sent to the proper place. It is also quick and convenient this way. If you do not want to pay someone to dispose of the oil, there are organizations that will

oil disposal
take care of this for you.  Be warned though that if you dump it in a place near your house you are going to kill a patch of your grass or yard. Oil essentially destroys the capacity of areas to grow. That can leave your yard or trees dying. There are also fines you can get for improperly disposing of the oil. If you dump this in your trash dumpster and you are caught, most landfill owners will not be happy.

If you are not completely sure about what to do when changing your oil and cannot find online articles helpful you should ask someone you know who knows how to change their oil, or you can ask a mechanic. Some mechanics might show you how to change your own oil, but many will not. Videos of how to change oil can also be very helpful. This will show you everything that has to be done and you can visually see all of the tools and steps you have to go through to change your own oil. It is easier to do than many people think. You just need some extra time and a little know how.
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