One of the most important things you can do to keep your car in the best condition possible is to change your motor oil and filter. Oil in a car is like blood in our bodies – it flows throughout the car’s engine and keeps everything running smoothly. Frequent oil and filter changes are essential in increasing the life of your car and its performance.
When it comes time for that needed motor oil change (consult your owner’s manual for mileage intervals), you have options: You can take it to a service station, quick lube or car dealer, or you can do it yourself. While mechanics and other car maintenance people do a fine job with this routine procedure, changing your own oil is relatively easy and inexpensive. This simple guide will show you how to properly change the motor oil and filter of one of your most expensive and valuable possessions.
Car maintenance equipment
Before you open the hood and tackle this task, make sure you have all the necessary supplies and equipment. Here’s what you’ll need:
– The proper amount and grade of motor oil. Try this product selector to help you find out which oil and filter to use. Make sure to check your owner’s manual for the correct viscosity and the number of quarts you’ll need. If you haven’t already, consider switching from conventional to synthetic motor oil such as Mobil 1™ – this will provide you with improved engine efficiency and performance.
– A high-quality oil filter – use this product selector or see your owner’s manual for requirements.
– A socket wrench
– An oil filter wrench
– A funnel
– Something to catch the old motor oil, such as an oil pan or bucket
Drain the old motor oil
Before draining the motor oil, start your car and let it run for a minute or two, or take it for a quick drive around the block; this will warm up the motor oil and allow it to drain out smoothly. Next, be sure you have a safe area to do your oil change – a driveway or garage will work well, and level ground is a must.
Under the vehicle, locate the oil pan and drain plug.
If there isn’t enough room to slide under the car to do this, you may have to jack up the car to get beneath it. Remember: Never get underneath a car supported only by a jack; always use a jack stand.
Once you identify the drain plug, spread the newspaper out and place the oil pan below. Loosen the drain plug with the socket wrench, turning it counterclockwise.
After loosening, remove the plug slowly by hand and let the motor oil drain out. Caution: The motor oil may be hot. Once the oil stream slows to a drip, reinstall the drain plug by hand and tighten it with a quarter turn clockwise with the wrench.
Replace the oil filter
Keep the oil drain pan underneath the car and locate the oil filter.
Loosen it with the filter wrench, turning it counterclockwise. Remove the oil filter by hand.
Before installing the new oil filter, apply a little motor oil to the new gasket. This will prevent the gasket from sticking, cracking or causing an oil leak.
Finally, install and tighten the new oil filter by hand.
Add the new motor oil
It’s now time to fill the engine with new motor oil. Find out which oil is right for your vehicle with this product selector. Keep in mind that the motor oil you use should be the recommended grade and amount as identified earlier in the owner’s manual.
Loosen the oil-filler cap and pour your motor oil into the tank. Using a funnel will help you avoid spilling. When finished, replace the oil cap and wipe away any spilled motor oil. Start your engine and run it for a minute to allow the new motor oil to circulate thoroughly.
You’re almost done. But don’t drive off yet, because you need to check the oil level. To do this, turn off the car and remove and clean the dipstick.
Insert and remove it once more, this time checking that the oil has the correct reading. Screw the cap back on and give yourself a pat on the back.
Clean up and recycle your motor oil
You’ve completed the task; now it’s time to clean up. Pour the old motor oil from the pan into a used oil container – or if you have to, an empty milk jug – and place the old oil filter in a plastic bag.
The best way to dispose of motor oil is to recycle it. This is easy to do because many service stations and quick lubes will accept used motor oil and used oil filters at no charge. You can find recycling locations in your area at Earth911.com. Also, if you ask your local government or recycling coordinator, they’ll be able to tell you if your oil filter and oil can be recycled with your trash pickup.
Finally, throw the newspaper and dirty rags away. You and your set of wheels are good to go.
Write down the date you performed the oil change and the amount of miles the car had so you know when your next change is due. Don’t forget to change your motor oil on a regular basis.
15 Step Procedure To Change Your Oil
1. If the car has run recently, the oil will drain faster since it is warm. Be careful not to touch anything hot.
2. Put the car up on jack stands. Make sure the vehicle is stable, do this on flat ground. Be sure to place chocks behind the rear wheels.
3. Locate the drain plug on the oil pan. Check the owners manual if you’re not sure where this is. Place a drain tub underneath the drain plug. Unscrew the drain plug. Allow the oil to drain into the pan. Be careful as the oil will be hot.
4. Once oil has stopped draining, remove the oil filter. Unscrew it slightly at first to allow oil to drain out (this may require a special tool depending on how tight it is, you can rent these at your local auto parts shop).
5. After oil has stopped draining from the loosened filter, you can remove it. Dump the excess oil in the filer into the pan.
6. Use a small amount of oil and rub it on the oil gasket of the new filter. Also ensure the rubber gasket from the old oil filter is not stuck to the car.
7. Screw the new oil filter on. After the rubber seal seats, tighten the oil filter 7/8th of a clockwise turn per the service manual. You can also use a torque of 16 lb-ft per the service manual.
8. Screw down the drain bolt, making sure to replace the (14 mm) crush washer located between the pan and the bolt.
9. Clean any oil that may remain on the car off from the drain plug or oil filter. Oil could drip on the exhaust and burn off.
10. Pull the drain tub out from under the car, and lower the car back down.
11. Unscrew the oil fill cap, and add the recommended quantity and type into the engine.
12. Screw the oil cap back on.
13. Run the car for a few minutes, then shut it off. Check underneath the car for any oil leaks, and address as needed.
14. Be sure to check the oil fill level (using the dipstick) after you’ve run the engine. This will ensure the oil filter is full and you’ve filled the oil to the correct level. Add oil if needed.
15. Dispose of the oil properly. Many auto parts stores or shops will take it and recycle it. Some cities may allow for you to place the oil in a jug at the curb for recycling. This goes for the oil filter as well.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of ExxonMobil. The opinions and text are all mine. You can follow ExxonMobil at:
You can follow Everyman Driver on our Instagram account.