Let’s face it. Unless you’re a skilled mechanic, most of the necessary lessons about maintaining a car were never taught to you. Even a task as seemingly simple as changing your own oil can be intensive, messy and expensive. It might seem more convenient to bring your car to a specialist and let them handle the job, but how do you know they’re going to do it right the first time? And how do you know they’re not going to overcharge you?
The fact is, you don’t. And even if you were fortunate enough to have a friend or family member show you how to change your oil, chances are… well, they’re not necessarily doing it correctly. Oil changes are among one of the many mistakes most drivers make when maintaining their car. After all, it’s neither convenient nor pleasant. Simply necessary.
The reality is that changing the oil is actually quite simple. And learning how to change your own oil can save you time and money. And with the average cost of an oil change estimated being $50 or higher, the latter can add up in the long run. If you’ve ever wondered how to change your own oil, there’s a few things you should know.
Oils And Filters
The right oil can make all the difference in your car’s performance. But not every oil change is universal. Choosing the right oil and the right filter depends on your specific make and model, and that’s what your owner’s manual is there for. When was the last time you opened it?
Knowing the right oil viscosity is critical to your car. In the past, it was a fairly universal recommendation to change your car’s oil roughly every 3,000 miles. And for many cars, that’s still relatively sage wisdom. But cars have grown more efficient in the last 30 years. Old rules don’t necessarily apply. Expensive synthetic oil may not be well suited for your vehicle when conventional oils are perfectly adequate.
Economy oil filters are considered budget filters for a reason. They’re affordable. They’re highly visible. And they’re almost always poorly performing if your oil needs to be changed for more than the standard 3,000 miles. In the long run, they’re simply going to cost you more than they’re worth. The cost difference between top of the line oil filters and budget filters is merely a few dollars. Remember, your car is supposed to last you more than just a year or two. Don’t skimp on the necessities.
How To Change Your Own Oil
Step One: Pull The Plug
Using a wrench, simply unscrew the drain plug and quickly pull it away. Let it drain entirely before cleaning it. If need be, install a new gasket.
Step Two: Remove The Old Filter
Make certain the rubber gasket attached to it also is removed (you may ultimately need to peel it off.)
Step Three: Add New Oil
With a funnel, simply replace the old oil with the suggested replacement. And we’re serious about using a funnel to change your oil. This is the mistake most people make by simply assuming to pour a bottle in. You don’t want to add dry cleaning bills to your oil change needs!
Step Four: Run Your Engine
After tightening the filter (always do this by hand, never with a filter wrench), run your engine. Your dashboard oil light will go out when the necessary level is reached. If more oil is needed, check the levels with a dipstick.
Overall, the entire process should take you no more than half an hour. And you won’t have to deal with the pressure from oil change “specialists!”
What You’ll Need To Change Your Oil
- Engine oil
- Oil Filter
- Wrench set containing a box end wrench and wrench sets. Your owner’s manual will likely tell you the best options to use. Never use an adjustable wrench when changing your oil.
- Jack stands
- Plastic sheeting
- Plastic gallon bottles to recycle your old oil (numerous facilities specialize in recycling oil). Remember, oil can be extremely hazardous. And you don’t want to pollute the environment in the process!
All in all, oil changes don’t have to be expensive or messy. And after a few of them, you may even learn to look forward to changing your own oil!
With six locations throughout the greater Chicago and Waukegan area, The Auto Warehouse has been financing used cars for over 20 years. See how we can help you by visiting theautowarehouse.com or calling (773) 887-9690 or (224) 836-4767 today!