Wednesday, December 31, 2008

How to Change Your Own Oil

Changing your own oil is a task that everyone from a 16 year old guy to a 55 year old housewife can learn how to do on their own. The truth is, changing your own oil takes about 20 minutes for the average person to do, where as you will spend around 3 times as much as that driving to the shop, waiting for it to get done, and driving back home!

Not to mention the money you save. Not only do you have to buy the oil and the filter itself, but you obviously have to pay the shop to do it for you! Changing your own oil costs around $11 for the oil and $3.50 for the filter. How much did you pay the last time the shop did it for you?

Here's how to change your own oil right in your own garage. Anyone can do it!

1. Jack the front end of the car up and place it on jack stands. Never support the car using only the jack itself, as this is a very dangerous maneuver. Depending on the height of your car (and, um, the thickness of you), you may be able to crawl under the front of the car far enough to change the oil without jacking the car up.

2. Place a drain pan under the car - this can be anything that catches oil, such a commercial oil catcher or simply a plastic container.

3. Remove the plug on the oil pan. If the car is hot, make sure it has cooled down at least 30 minutes before changing the oil to reduce the chance of a burn. Oil will now flow quickly from the engine into the container, so be ready with the pain under the plug when you remove it. Remove the oil fill cap to relieve pressure and increase the flow of oil.

4. Remove the oil filter. Make sure the gasket from the old filter is still on the filter itself, and did not become attached to the engine.

5. Spread a small amount of new motor oil across the gasket of the new filter to ensure a secure seal, and screw it into place. Tighten as far as you can by hand, but do not use an oil filter wrench. Hand tightening is sufficient.

6. Replace the oil filter plug on the bottom of the engine, and securely tighten it using a wrench. Make sure it is secure enough that it will not come out down the road.

7. Fill the oil reservoir with the appropriate amount of oil. Consult your owners manual for this vital detail. Most vehicles will take either 4, 4 1/2 or 5 quarts of oil. If you intend to know how to change your own oil, you need to know how to do it right. Too much oil or too little oil can cause irreversible damage to your engine. Replace the oil fill cap.

There you go! You're a pro! You can now change your own oil without needing the shop to do it for you.

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