Step-by-step written instructions on how to change the oil in your own car. This how-to guide accompanies the video “How to Easily Change the Oil in Your Car”.
Time Needed to Complete Job: 1 Hour
DIY Savings: $30-$50 (savings amount updated from original printing in 2013)
Tools & Supplies Needed
- The correct type and amount of oil for your vehicle, and the correct oil filter. To find out what types are needed for your car, visit your local auto parts store, or you can get the information from the owner’s manual for your car.
- Ratchet and Socket set
- Oil pan, or another container to collect the used oil that you don’t need for any other purpose
- Oil recycle container (or another sealable container to dispose of the used oil)
- Oil Filter Wrench
- Safety Glasses (highly recommended for the portion of the job where you are under the car)
- A bucket with a small amount of water in it
- Flashlight (1 or 2. The type you wear on your head is particularly helpful for this job)
- Paper towels
- Sealable Plastic Bag
Special Note Regarding Access:
If possible, it is best to attempt this job during daylight hours on a sunny day, for the best possible lighting. It is also a good idea to keep the hood of the car open for the entire job, to allow more light to filter in to underneath the car.
Steps to Complete Job
Part 1 – Remove the Existing Oil and Oil Filter
1. Slide the oil collection pan into position underneath the bolt on the bottom of the car’s oil pan. Using your ratchet and socket, loosen the nut. Once it is loosened, you will be able to remove it by hand.
2. Re-attach the bolt. Change the direction of the socket, and tighten with the ratchet.
Note: Before you get up, you want to re-position the oil collection pan so that it is underneath the oil filter (more towards the front of the car), because when you remove the oil filter from the top of the car, some oil will drip out.
(Note: Now you are done underneath the car.)
3. Remove the oil filter. Sometimes this can be tricky to get to, which is why you will use a special oil filter wrench to remove it. Remove it with the oil filter wrench by turning it to the left. Once it is loosened, you can complete the removal of the oil filter by hand. Notice that oil will be dripping out, which is why you placed the oil filter hand underneath it earlier. Slowly bring it up, right side out, being careful to not spill the oil that will be in it.
Part 2 – Install New Oil Filter and Replace the Oil
1. Install the new oil filter on the oil filter gasket. Screw the oil filter in “hand-tight”. It’s similar to screwing in a light bulb.
4. Oil replacement. Remove cap from oil tank. Using a funnel, pour in the new oil. Remove the funnel, and re-attach the cap.
5. Start the car up. Check the oil gauge to ensure that your oil pressure is good.
6. Next, check the oil in the tank to ensure that it is at the proper level.
7. Clean-up. Submerge the rags that you used in the water in the bucket, and place them in the plastic bag. This will minimize any chance of a spontaneous combustion danger. You will also dispose of the used oil filter, and later, your gloves, in the same bag. Then, using your funnel, pour the used oil carefully into the oil recycle container. Clean up your pans and funnels, and that is it.
And that is it. You have just changed the oil in your own car!
by See Jane Drill, Copyright 2014
Due to differing conditions, tools, and individual skills, See Jane Drill assumes no responsibility for any mistakes, damages, injuries suffered, or losses incurred as a result of following the information published on our website and in the videos and written instructions published through our website. Before beginning any project, review the instructions carefully, and if you still have any doubts or questions about how to complete the project, consult with local experts or authorities. Also, because codes and regulations vary greatly by location, you should check to ensure that your project complies with all applicable local codes and regulations. Always read and follow all the safety precautions provided by any tool or equipment manufacturer, and follow all accepted safety procedures.
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