How To Change Your Car's Oil

How to change car engine oil and oil filter

There's not much under the bonnet of today's computerised cars that the DIY motorist can tackle without risking an electronic system crash. One thing you can do to save time and money, though, is to change your own engine oil and filter.

When to Change Oil

You can go by the number of miles or kilometres the oil makers recommend but it's best to change engine oil more frequently than this, particularly if you travel a lot in heavy traffic. A good test is to go by the colour of the oil on your dipstick. If it's black, change it. If it's quite clean, don't worry. But beware if your running on LP gas. The oil always looks clean but it may have lost its lubrication properties.

What You Need Before Starting

You will need new oil, a new oil filter, a clamp to unscrew your oil filter, a spanner to unscrew your sump plug and a container for the old oil.

Buy the oil recommended for your vehicle and buy a good quality oil filter. Oil filters are not expensive but need to be a good brand. Some cheap brands are bad news. They have paper filters that shred and go into your engine.

Oil filter clamps are inexpensive.

How To Do It

Run your car until the engine is totally warmed. Park on the level. To unscrew the sump plug you may have to jack-up the vehicle. With some models you can simply crawl underneath.

Unscew the oil filler cap on top of the engine. This helps the oil come out better.

Unscrew the oil sump plug under the engine and let the hot old oil flow into your container. Be careful you don't get burnt.

Leave the oil to drain for a while.

Meanwhile unscrew the old oil filter and fit the new one.

Now screw back the oil sump plug securely. Pour the new oil in through the oil filler and screw back the oil filler cap. Be careful to put the right amount of oil in. Do not overfill.

Clear away your tools and the old oil and start the engine. Let it run for a few minutes and check for leaks at the oil filter and oil sump plug.

Take the car for a run, park on the level and stop the engine. Let things settle then check for leaks and check the oil level on the engine oil dipstick.

If everything is OK you have saved yourself time and money but, more importantly, you know the job has been done properly.

© High Speed Ventures 2011