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How To Do Your Own Engine Oil Change

Updated on May 27, 2011

Regularly changing the engine oil in your motor vehicle is one of the most important things you can do to prevent premature engine damage and to prolong the life of your vehicle engine,basically in layman's terms engine oil keeps all the mechanical components that are moving very fast, apart from one another by creating a thin barrier and protecting these super hot metal components from damage,over time the constant battering of the oil by the engine components leads the oil to break down and become less protective which is why we need to regularly change it.There are various grades of engine oil but we will come to that later.What you need to remember is that by going to a garage you will be paying upwards of £40-50 for an oil change which in most cases is a relatively simple job that could be done at home,you will however need some equipment which i will tell you about in the next chapter.


Now you will need some basic tools and they are easily attainable,firstly you will need something to lie on,now it needn't be a proper mechanics mat just some cardboard will suffice,secondly you will need something to catch the used engine oil in but you can always get a oil container from somewhere like halfords for around £10,you must dispose of this properly though as used engine oil is hazardous,your local amenity site should be able to help you.You will also need a ratchet and socket or a spanner if you prefer to undo the sump plug but you may find it will be different sizes and or a different way of undoing it depending on what vehicle you own.Most are somewhere between 19 to 22mm but you will find the odd sump plugs that will need either a torx socket or a square drive bit,find out first then buy the appropriate tool,you will also need something to remove the filter with,depending on weather the oil filter is a tin filter in which case it will be underneath the vehicle or a paper filter then it will be up on top of the engine,If it is on top of the engine then it will be a big size such as 30 or 32mm if it is underneath and is a tin filter you will need a filter wrench,these are available from most car accessory shops for as little as £5.You will also need some good gloves as used engine oil especially from diesel vehicles can be carcinogenic which is very dangerous

How To Drain The Oil

Right first things first you need to make sure that the engine hasn't been run and the oil is hot because hot oil makes this job dangerous,Firstly locate the engine sump underneath the vehicle and find the sump plug,Work out what tool you need then undo the sump plug while taking care to position the used engine oil tray underneath to catch the used oil.Once this is done wait for the used oil to drain out,you may need to reposition the tray several times to make sure you don't get oil on the floor as its a nightmare to clean up.While this is happening you may find it prudent to search for the oil filter to make sure you know weather it is under the vehicle or on the top,remember if it is on top it may be hidden by an engine cover,these are usually quite simple to remove though.Once the engine oil has stopped dripping and your sure most of it is out then simply refit the sump plug and remember to put a new sump plug washer on,this can be got from the same parts place you got your filter from,tighten the sump plug and then that is the hardest part done.

Replacing The Oil Filter

Once you have located the oil filter you need to remove it,they all work the same so it doesn't matter which type you have,make sure you have lots of rag to hand for spillages and maybe wrap the rag around the base of the filter body to stop leaks.Using the appropriate tool remove the filter or undo the filter housing in the case of a paper filter,pull out the filter or simply discard the tin filter and then make sure that the rubber seal has come away with it.Getting the new tin filter simply wipe some oil around the new seal and screw on hand tight only,with the paper filter replace the rubber seal on the filter housing and then slip new filter into place and replace housing,Fill engine with required amount of oil and run,then recheck and top up as necessary.Check for leaks from filter and sump and then you are ready to go,pat yourself on the back you have just replaced your engine oil and promoted good health for your vehicle.


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    • crystolite profile image

      Emma 6 years ago from Houston TX

      Good hub that also serve as a lecture,thanks a lot for sharing this work that is really informative.

    • warchild75 profile image

      lee 6 years ago from Worthing, west sussex, england

      lol it wont happen though will it!!!

    • JD Barlow profile image

      JD Barlow 6 years ago from Southeast US

      Good hub! I just showed my wife how to change the oil in her car. Now she can change the oil in her car and my truck.