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How to Change Your Car’s Oil

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You’ll be able to save yourself a couple of bucks by changing your own car’s oil. While doing so, make sure to follow the technical specifications in the owner’s manual, things like what kind of oil to use, as well as how much of it.

With that in mind, 5-Minute Crafts has come up with a quick guide to help you change your car’s oil all by yourself.

1. Lift the car.

  • Lift the car high enough so there is enough room for you to work under it.
  • Make sure it’s safe when you’re using a hoist, ramps, or jack stands to lift the car.
  • Then, remove the cover (undertray) to access the oil pan and oil filter.
  • Lastly, look around for oil leaks, if there are any, have your car checked by a mechanic.

Note: Do not work under your car if you’re only lifting it with a floor jack.

2. Drain the oil.

  • Have a container ready under the oil pan, placed in a way so that you don’t spill it on the floor, it needs to be big enough to receive several gallons of oil.
  • After that, unscrew the drain plug using a counterclockwise movement with an adequate wrench.
  • Even after the drain plug is completely loose, hold on to it until you’re ready to drain the oil.
  • The oil will start draining as soon as you remove the plug, let it drain for 5 minutes, or at least until it’s trickling.

3. Take off the old oil filter.

  • Find the filter, that is located on the engine, the filter is the size of a softball and is a cylindrical shape.
  • Loosen it by turning it counterclockwise.
  • Have your container below it, as oil will start dripping when you loosen the filter.
  • Wait until the oil filter looks like it’s almost depleted of oil before removing it completely.
  • Afterward, check to see if the old oil filter gasket is still there (it’s a thin rubber O-ring), if it’s still there, remove it.

Note: If the old oil filter gasket is not removed, the new oil will leak after you start your car, and it could lead to engine failure.

4. Install a new filter.

  • Replace the drain plug and tighten it, but be careful to not overtighten it. It needs to be snug.
  • Then, apply a light coating of oil around the gasket on the top of the new filter. Use the end of your finger with just a little bit of oil on it.
  • Install the new oil filter and then tighten it, but be careful to not overdo it, the filter only needs to be snug.

5. Fill the engine with oil.

  • Reinstall your cover (undertray) on the bottom of your car.
  • Lower your car back to the ground.
  • Open the hood and remove the oil cap, which should have an oil can symbol on it.
  • Then, use a funnel to fill the engine with oil (only use the manufacturer’s level of indicated oil).

6. Finish up.

  • Check the oil levels of your car using the dipstick.
  • Start the car and let it idle so it warms up.
  • Lastly, check for leaks under the car and around the oil filter.
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