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Do it Yourself Oil Change

Updated on February 4, 2016

Oil Change

Oil plug
Oil plug | Source

Oil Change

Hi everybody, Aidensdad here again. You might have read my article about how to do your own brakes. I just thought I'd write another article to try and help everybody save some more money maintaining your car yourself. One way that people can save money is by performing your own oil changes. Not to worry, if your not a very mechanically inclined individual, because changing your vehicles oil on your own is a very simple process.

First of all, it is very important to know when to change your oil. Your vehicle's motor oil is the lifeblood of your car and changing it regularly will help reduce engine wear and lengthen the life of your car. On average, your car's oil should be changed about once every 3,000 miles. Now there are a few variables that can alter the frequency of your oil changes. If you are rough on your car or if you have a “lead foot” (you know who you are) you may want to change your oil more frequently. I change my oil every 2,500 miles.

Oil Change

Now, you can find oil on sale some time in between oil changes. When oil is really on sale you should be able to find either five quarts or a five quart jug for $8 to $10. When looking for sales on oil, I recommend checking Autozone, O'reily, Pep Boys and even big box stores like Wal Mart, Target, K-mart or what ever is in your area. Now, when it comes to filters, they will vary in price, but on average they'll run about $3-$8. You can sometime catch a good sale on an oil change kit. Last month I picked up a five quart jug of oil, a filter, a roll of shop rags, a drain pan and a tub of hand cleaner for $25. When it comes to oil, most oils are pretty much going to serve the same purpose, but after year of fixing cars and being around car guys, I prefer Castrol GTX oil.

Now on to the work. Be sure to let your car cool down before you begin. First, if you can't reach under the car to reach the oil plug, you may have to jack it up. To find the oil plug, you are looking for a bolt that is going into the lowest point of the oil pan. The oil pan is a large pan that covers the entire bottom of your cars engine. Not to worry, there is no drain plug on the transmission pan, so you can't confuse the two. So, if need be, once you have the car jacked up, as always, place the jack stands under the car and lower the jack until the car comes to rest on the stands. With the car securely on the jack stands, slide beneath it placing the drain pan directly below the drain plug and remove the plug and wipe it off to remove any “crap” that may have accumulated on it. Once the oil stop running out of the drain hole, replace the plug.

Now, the easiest way to find your oil filter is compare it to the new one that you bought. Take a good look at your new oil filter and start searching. Usually you'll find it toward the rear of the engine. Once you find it, remove it carefully, because it will be full of oil. Pour the oil out into the drain pan and discard the old filter. Before installing the new filter dip the tip of your finger into the drain oil and apply a generous amount of oil to the rubber gasket on the oil filter. Screw the new filter onto the stud on the bottom of the oil pump by hand, being careful not to cross-thread it. Tighten the filter until the rubber gasket makes contact with the mounting surface and tighten it one more turn.

Oil Change

With the plug back in and the filter back on, lower the car onto the ground. To fill the oil, start out by pouring four quarts into the oil fill atop the valve cover wait a few minutes and check the oil level. Keep adding small amounts until full. With the oil level full on the dip stick, get in the car and tap the key just enough to crank the engine a half revolution, but not enough to start the car. This will fill the empty oil filter with oil. If you want to learn how to save a lot of money by doing your own brakes check out this article.

Once you have changed the oil in your car a few times, you should be able to complete this process in less than 20 minutes. Now you can offer to change the oil in your friends and family members cars Ha Ha Ha.


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    • profile image

      Matt 5 years ago

      Some cars have a transmission drain plug. Some even have a transmission filter that looks exactly like the oil filter. I have seen this on a few Subaru's. 95% of the time this isn't so but use discretion. If you see red fluid come out. Plug it back immediately.

    • profile image

      skymaster 5 years ago

      Really useful thanks for sharing. But care when bolting back the carters bolt. Too much pressure on the tools and you are in for a leaking or even worse broken carter!

    • rich_hayles profile image

      rich_hayles 5 years ago

      Totally agree, great information. Every little helps!

    • dialogue profile image

      dialogue 5 years ago

      Useful and Good Hub, well written. Voted UP