How to change your own engine oil and oil filter.
Changing the oil in your own vehicle is really simple and really takes no more time then going to a “Quick Oil Change” place. However, when you goto the local oil change shop, do you really have the peace of mind that you’re really getting what you pay for?
This was reported from a local T.V. station.
Video: Oil change shops caught cheating under the hood
As you can see you may not get what you pay for. These companies can do this because they know you have no way of testing what you are getting.
It really only takes about an hour for you to do the whole job. From getting the oil and filter, while your already out shopping. Too changing the oil and oil filter, and then later dropping of the used oil at the auto parts store, while you’re out shopping. You could even hold on to the oil until the next time you change your oil and filter, One Trip.
Yes as far as I know all auto parts stores take used oil and used antifreeze for free. They then send it for recycling.
Changing your own oil and oil filter also gives you a chance to look your vehicle over underneath to see if there is something that needs attention. You can check your steering linkage, look for hanging wires, bent fuel lines or brake lines or cracking break hoses, just look down the whole underside, anything that looks out of place may need a closer inspection.
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In order to change your own engine oil and oil filter, you’ll need an oil filter (I recommend Wix or Fram) and you’ll also need enough oil to refill your engine brand and weight of your choice (Check your manual for how many quarts you need)
How to change your own motor oil and oil filter
I tend to use ramps, rather then jack stands, when I don’t have to remove tires to work on my vehicles. However you lift or jack up your vehicle, set the parking brake and block your tires. Safety First Please.
You want your motor to be warm to the touch, but not HOT. The oil will drain faster and better when it is warm. If you can’t touch the engine block and keep your hand there, it’s too HOT to drain, let it cool.
Here is where it can get scary if you have not done this before. Stay calm though, you’ll have to crawl under your vehicle…..
If you’re on a flat smooth surface you can use a creeper, some are fairly cheap, some can cost.
MY driveway is road base (Dirt and rock) So I’ve already gone to the local flooring store and got some carpet cast offs. I got several about 2FT or 3FT wide by 5FT or 6FT long that have a thick pile to them and the best part they are free.
I also tend to use these even if I’m on concrete/asphalt and if I do use a creeper I’ll put some carpet on it for more comfort anyway.
Hint: I don’t use them, however you might want some gloves.
OK looking up under the engine you need to locate the oil drain plug and the oil filter. On most vehicles they will be close to each other and on the same side of the vehicle, most times toward the rear of the motor block.
Now if you have never done an oil change on your own vehicle, you might need a strap type oil filter wrench, they are the best to use and will fit almost all oil filters, but you need to decide what will work for you.
Loosen the filter just enough to let it start draining, (It’ll be running down the sides, so let it sit until it stops doing so) then carefully remove the oil drain plug and let it start draining.
(HINT: By pushing on the drain plug as it gets close to coming out, you can get it to the point that you just pull it away and keep the oil from getting all over your hand.)
After the filter has drained as much as it can while loose on the vehicle, carefully remove it, it will have still oil in it, you can turn it up side down in the drain pan to get the rest out.
I like to let it all stay open and drain at least an hour before I install the new filter and reinstall the plug. You don’t have to do that though, but let it sit for at least 10 minutes.
I’ve been known to start an oil change the evening before and finish up the next morning. That way I get as much of the old oil out as possible.
Check the new oil filter against the old one to be sure you have the right size. Put a thin film of new oil on the filter gasket too prevent it from sticking the next time it’s removed. Also check to see that the old filter has the gasket, some times it will get stuck on the engine especially if the last gasket was not oiled.
I don’t pre-charge my filters (Meaning pouring oil in it) you can if you want too, I’ve found that it don’t make a whole lot of difference. There is still a thin film of oil on all the parts in the engine and the bearings are made in such a way that they soak up some oil.
It won’t hurt your engine to run for 10 to 15 seconds to fill the filter (Usually 2 to 3 seconds really) before the pressure comes up. If it takes more then 15 seconds, something is wrong, either there is a major leak at the filter or you have a bad oil pump.
Now slide under your vehicle with the new oil filter. Check for any dirt, mars or dings on the filter seat on the engine. Start the filter back on and spin until the gasket hits the seat.
BY Hand tighten filter 3/4 to 1 full turn, as long as you tighten by hand, you should be able to remove it the next time by hand. It only needs to be snug; By Hand no wrench needed to tighten.
Check the plug seat and gasket to be sure nothing is wrong with them. Reinstall the plug by hand threading it in until it hits the seat. Using the wrench tighten it 3/4 to 1 full turn, it only needs to be snug not torqued real tight.
Now you can put the new motor oil in through the engine oil filler tube. Check your owners manual or a automotive manual on how many quarts you’ll need. Most take 5, however there are some that take as little as 3, so read the manual.
Now it’s time to start your vehicle and check for pressure and leaks.
Once in a while the filter seal just does not seat right or it was over torqued/tightened and split (If you only hand tightened it that should not happen) or it came from the factory bad, not installed on the filter right.
With the engine running look under it for any leaking.
So now all you have to do is take your vehicle off the ramps or jack stands, whatever you used, and clean up. You’re finished, you can stop the engine and let it set for about 10 minutes or so to check the oil level if you want, but as long as you followed what the manuals said you should be OK on the oil level. It might show a little low, because of the oil filter, that’s OK though.
How often should you change your motor oil and oil filter?
You should change your engine oil and oil filter every 3 months or 3,000 to 5,000 miles, you can go longer with synthetics. I don’t know much about synthetics, from what I’ve read they can go as long as 15,000 miles and there are filters that say you can go longer then 3,000 to 5,000 miles, I don’t trust oil filters that long though.
If you choose to use synthetics then follow your automobiles manufactures recommendations on that, if there are any.
I’ll stick with what I know works, I use a straight 30 weight HD (High Detergent) oil. I use 30 weight because I live far enough south that it don’t get really cold (Freezing or lower) long enough to make a difference.
I buy the autoparts store brand, it’ll be a name brand (Pennzoil, Castrol, Valvoline, Quaker State…) with the store name on it, most places it’s Pennzoil.
How to change your oil and the oil filter. VIDEO
Tools needed to do an engine oil and oil filter change.
Oil Filter Strap or Wrench
Car Ramps or Jack Stands (If ya use Jack Stands you’ll need a Jack)
Oil/Grease Rags or shop towels
Oil Drain pan
Supplies needed to change your oil and filter
Oil Filter (I prefer Wix or Fram oil filters)
Oil (Brand of your choice)
I keep a supply of 1 gallon jugs around for different things, one being to put used oil in for transport to the autoparts store.