- Oil Filter
- Socket Wrench
- Oil Filter Wrench
- Catch Container
- Safety Glasses
Alright Spence, changing your oil seems uncomplicated. You take out the old. You put the new in. But what are some of the common mistakes that take place when you’re doing this? – Well, like anything you do on a car, safety first. If you have it up on jack stands or you’re driving it on ramps, set your e-brake, maybe chock the tires. The engine, if it’s a little bit warm, is probably good to help evacuate all of the oil. But scalding oil will burn you severely, so obviously, not too hot. Let the car sit for a few hours before you get started on your project. – Look at the owner’s manual to see how much oil should be replaced and the type of oil recommended by the manufacturer.
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Then, visit your local auto parts store to buy the oil, filter, and catch can. Make sure your catch can is large enough to hold all of the fluid and doesn’t overflow. You’ll find a thick book with all the makes and models of cars. Find your year, make, model car in the book and the associated filter number. Loosen the filler cap on top to allow the oil to flow quicker when draining down below. Slide the catch can into place and find the oil drain plug located here. But, of course, consult your manual to be sure. Next, loosen the drain plug. If it’s too tight, you may need to use a longer handle ratchet for better leverage. Only unscrew the bolt about halfway until it’s able to be twisted easily by hand.
Quickly remove the bolt and allow the old oil to stream into the catch container while holding onto the drain plug and not letting it fall into the dirty oil. The bottom of most drain plugs contain a small magnet that holds tiny pieces of shaved metal from getting carried back up into the engine. Be sure to clean the plug thoroughly before reinstalling. We used a can of Brakleen and gave it a good spray. Once cleaned, add a new crush washer to replace the old one. Screw in the drain plug by hand to avoid cross-threading. Then tighten with a socket. Once the bolt is snug, give it an extra half-turn but no more than that. No need to over tighten.
Find and remove the old oil filter by hand or with an oil filter wrench if needed. Spin the filter until it comes off in your hand. Gently bring it down without tipping, as it will be full of oil. Make sure to have the catch can under the filter, as oil will spill from here and it can get pretty messy as you can see. This is what the inside of a used oil filter looks like. Tiny pieces of metal shavings from parts rubbing against each other eventually begin to accumulate in the oil but are filtered here to avoid reintroducing them into the engine. Alright Spencer, I drained the oil. I changed the crush washer, and I put the plug on.
Now I have the filter. Anything I should do before we put it in? – Well, you want to put a light skim of fresh clean oil around the outside on the o-ring. But one of the better things to do is if you prefill the filter itself with oil, you don’t have that time for the pump to have to fill it up, then the oil gets to the bearings and the engine. So, it’s a good thing to do. I recommend it. Let’s try that here. Now, wipe it around the o-ring. And then, go ahead. Put it in. Reinstall the filter by hand to avoid cross-threading it once again. It should be easy to rotate until it’s flush with the housing. Then, give the filter a good turn by hand only. Do not use a wrench. If needed, use a rag to help grip the filter, as your hands and the new filter will be slippery from oil. Now that the drain plug and filter are tight, we add about four and a half quarts of oil for this particular car. But check your manual or search online to find the correct amount of oil for your engine. Be sure to use a funnel to avoid spilling.
If you spin the bottle to the side or what feels like upside-down, it will actually pour easier and with less bubbling. Once the proper amount of oil has been poured, close the cap and start the vehicle for five minutes to allow the fresh oil to circulate in the system. Turn the car off and make sure the vehicle is perfectly level or off the jack stands before checking the dipstick. Pull the stick and clean the excess oil. Then insert the dipstick again, making sure it’s completely compressed before removing it again and checking the level. There’s typically a low and a high indicator on the stick. Try to keep the oil up to, but not above the high marker.
Be sure to dispose the used oil by collecting it in old bottles, juice jugs, or water containers and bring them to your local auto parts store, mechanics shop, or recycling center as they must properly dispose them. Cars, for many people, are just transportation, while others; it’s a way of life. But I think, whatever camp you reside, it’s hard to argue that vehicles are an integral part of our day-to-day reality. Changing your oil is an easy price to pay for the speed, comfort, and luxury our cars provide for us.