Many people spend far too much money every year having a mechanic change the oil in their car. As far as the life of the car you own is concerned, regularly changing its oil is the most important factor in keeping the automotive healthy. But the process of cleaning your car’s engine lubrication system isn’t nearly as daunting a task as the average person may think. As long as you are willing to roll up your sleeves and get your hands a little greasy then you can save sometimes 20 to 30 dollars (not to mention knowing that the job has been done right, and with care) by doing it yourself.
Before you begin the process of changing your auto’s oil you should head off to your local automotive store for supplies. If this is your first time changing your car’s oil yourself then there are a few things that you will need to buy that you will need to use every time you repeat this process. The first of these supplies is a drip pan designed to catch fluids from car maintenance which, often times, are specifically designed for use in your typical auto oil changes. The next thing that you will need is a good set of ratchets, which many people already have, but can be purchased for around $20.
Once you have those two things you will need to purchase the “replaceable” items needed to change the oil. For this process you will need about four quarts of oil. Your car will either use 5w30 weight oil or 10w30 weight oil depending on the size of your engine and the year your car was produced. Also you will want to replace your oil filter which will have its own specific part number. If you don’t know this number then the good folks at most auto parts stores such as “Auto-Zone” will be able to find the one that fits your car. Usually the oil and filter will cost about $15 together.
Once you have the necessary components you can begin the actual oil change. You will first need to raise the car up about six inches using your cars emergency jack (never jack up your car without using a “jack stop” or other safety device) so that you will be able to work underneath with ease.
Once you have raised the car you must now find the oil pan so that you can locate the nut that seals the oil pan’s draining hole. This will be found somewhere in the center of the vehicle between the two front tires and will be very easy to spot. On most cars the oil filter, which looks kind of like a 12 oz. soda can, will be located near the oil pan.
When you have located the oil pan nut you can place the drip pan underneath and use your ratchet to loosen the nut and empty the oil from the automobile. Be careful during this step because the oil in your car can stay hot long after you’ve parked it and turned it off. You will need to wait about 10 minutes to ensure that all of the oil has drained from your cars system and oil pan.
Once the oil has stopped dripping from the drain then you can re-affix the oil pan nut and move on to remove the old oil filter. For a few dollars you can get a specialized tool that helps to remove the oil filter, but if you change your oil yourself regularly then you should be able to remove your oil filter without too much trouble. Also be sure to move your drip pan underneath the oil filter as it will hold about half a quart or oil that will flood out upon removal.
After the old filter is out you must smear fresh oil around the inside of the new filter before screwing it back into the place held before by the old filter. Once you have installed the new oil filter you can add the new oil to the car. You will add approximately 4 quarts of oil (and I also recommend a good oil treatment) back into your car, checking the filled level as you go.
Once all of these steps are done, and you have made sure that everything is tightened you should start up your car and let it run for a few minutes before checking the oil level again. You may then add more oil if need or in worst cases crawl back under the car and let some out, because too much oil can lead to busted seals and other problems in the auto.
If you purchased your oil in a one gallon container then you can pour the used oil from your drip pan into the used container and take it back to the auto parts store for proper disposal. It is against the law and very harmful to the environment to improperly dispose of motor fluids so this step is indeed the most important to follow.
Now you have changed your own oil, making sure that it was done with care and focus, not to mention that you saved money along the way. Congratulations that was exactly what the mechanics didn’t want you to know.