The price of an oil change has increased dramatically over the years. If you’re tired of shelling out your hard-earned cash on this aspect of vehicle maintenance, then you’ll be happy to learn that changing your own oil is easier than you might think.
Running out of oil on the road can lead to a wide variety of accidents. Ask any trucking accident attorney. They’ll tell you about numerous cases where a simple oil change would have made a world of difference. Before you run into an issue, here’s a simple step-by-step guide that will have you changing oil like a pro in no time.
Step 1: Find the Drain Plug
You can find your car’s drain plug underneath the oil pan, which sits at the bottom of your engine. It looks like a large nut or plug, but it isn’t always easy to reach. You might need to crawl under your vehicle or jack your car up to reach it.
Step 2: Remove the Plug
Before you attempt to remove the drain plug, make sure to place a pan underneath that will catch the oil as it drains. You can then unscrew the plug using your hands and a rag for extra leverage. The oil inside will begin to pour out into your pan.
Step 3: Removing the Filter
Move to the top of your engine and remove the cap you use to put oil into your vehicle. If you’re unsure of which cap this is, look for the word oil or a picture of an oil cannister. From here, you can access the filter and remove it by using a wrench to twist it out of place.
The filter will have oil inside of it, so be careful not to spill any as you place it into your drain pan. If there are any leftover rubber or fabric parts inside the engine, make sure to remove them before you head to the next step.
Step 4: Installing the New Filter
Open up a bottle of oil and wet a finger with it. This allows you to oil up the gasket on your new filter, making it easier to install. Once in place, turn the filter until it sits comfortably in place where the old one was. You need to screw it in, turning it by hand until it feels as though it locks in place.
Step 5: Installing the New Drain Plug
Head back underneath your vehicle to where the old drain plug was located. Take your new plug and either pop or screw it into place. The packaging will contain directions to help you identify which method you should use. You might need a wrench to ensure the new plug is secure.
Step 6: Adding Oil
Now you can add in fresh oil. You should pour a quart into the oil filler hole, pouring it slowly so the oil has time to run into the engine. After replacing the cap, make sure to run your engine for roughly a minute. This allows you to check for any leaks.
If there are any leaks, start back at step one. If not, continue to run your engine for another ten minutes to allow the oil to settle into your engine. You can slowly add more oil if needed until you reach the “full” line on your dipstick.
After everything is finished, there’s one last step you can choose to take. The Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal advises recycling your old oil and the filter. Not only is it environmentally friendly, it helps keep the cost of these products down in the market.