How To Change Your Own Engine Oil

Why pay high garage labor rates for a job that is fast and inexpensive to do in your own back yard? Learn to change your own engine oil.

Getting an oil change can be expensive and a hassle too, especially if you've got a bunch of kids that need to be kept happy while the garage is working on your car. If you learn how often you need to change your oil, how to check it and how to do it yourself, you can save a lot of time and money and most of all, aggravation.

So how often should your oil be changed? It is recommended that you change it every 3,000 miles for optimum performance of your car. If you keep a small notebook in the glove compartment you can keep track of the mileage your car was at when the last oil change was performed. Check it once a month to see if you are getting near that time again. If it's time to change your oil, it really only takes about 20 minutes if you have all the right equipment including:

1. Oil Filter Wrench

2. As many quarts of oil as your car needs, check your manufacturer's handbook, usually



5-7 quarts are needed.

3. Wheel ramps

4. Blocks to wedge behind your tires

5. Adjustable wrench

6. Funnel

7. Large plastic pan or container that will hold the discarded oil

8. Rags

9. A new oil filter designed to fit your car

Most auto parts stores will tell you what parts you need for your type of car, you just have to know the year, make, model.

The first thing you'll want to do is make sure you have a flat surface to work on, not a hill. Next, put the wheel ramps under your front tires and drive up on them. Have someone watching to tell you when to stop the car. Put on your emergency brakes and place the blocks behind your back tires.

Next, you need to drain out the old oil. Crawl under the car and find the plug on the bottom of your oil pan. Place your container under the pan and use your wrench to unscrew the plug. The oil will pour out quickly after the plug is removed, let it drain completely. When the oil has stopped draining, replace the plug.

Now you will replace your oil filter. You can easily find your oil filter: it looks just like the brand new one you just bought at the auto parts store. Place your oil filter wrench around the old filter and turn counterclockwise, the wrench will tighten up around the old filter and you should be able to unscrew it. Once you have removed the old filter, lubricate the circular edge of the new filter with some oil where it comes in contact with the engine. Now you can screw the new filter on by hand, firmly but not overtight.

Your final step is to put oil back in the car. Find the orifice at the top of the engine that says OIL and use your funnel to fill the car up with as many quarts as it requires. If you don't know, you can put a few in and periodically check your oil with the dipstick until you get a proper reading, adding more if there isn't yet enough. You'll want to start your engine while the car is still up on the ramps and let it run a bit, checking for any leaks around your filter. If you see oil leaking, tighten up the filter some more.

Drive your car off from the ramps and you're done! Don't forget to dispose of your used oil properly at a location that recycles oil. NEVER pour used oil into the ground. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done and use that extra money for something special!

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