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Why and How to Change Automobile Oil

Professional car mechanic changing motor oil in automobile engine at maintenance repair service station in a car workshop.

Do I have to get my hands dirty changing the oil?

It only requires some small infrequent work to keep the oil in your car or truck running smoothly. The most important benefit of fresh engine oil is improved lubricating the engine and thus better ability to keep debris and sludge away from the moving parts. When your vehicle oil circulates in your engine, it continually lubricates the thousands of engine components that must work together to make your car operational. At the same time, when the oil moves around the engine, it draws the heat that the engine produces away from the engine.

Why do you have to change the oil?

Unfortunately, as the oil moves, it also picks up dirt and other small pieces of engine debris. Although this helps keep the engine free from these particles, over time, the oil becomes too dirty to be effective. This is why an oil change service must occur.

What happens when you skip an oil change?

If the oil is not changed, the engine of your vehicle will begin to have problems over time with more and more neglect. The most common problem is that the parts of your engine will become too hot. This can bring the engine to run less efficiently and as time passes, this can result in the deformation of the engine components and wear. The lack of lubrication between these parts will also contribute to this problem. Another issue is engine sludge build-up which can become frankly dangerous to drive with… not to mention negatively impact MPG.

Finally, if the oil is not changed, the entire engine stops and must be replaced. This repair can cost thousands of dollars and many people who have to do it at the end decide to sell the car to a ship and buy a new vehicle.

How To Do It Yourself

Confident woman driver checking oil level in car engine dipstick, cityscape on background

You don’t need to be mechanical to learn how to change your oil – if you can identify certain parts of the car and get the right equipment to do the work, it will be a piece of cake. From a bird’s eye view, the process of oil change involves several procedures including oil draining outside your machine, replacing certain equipment (i.e. – oil filter), adding oil, ensuring no leakage, and quality testing. If you are not sure whether your car oil needs to be changed, you must first check the vehicle oil content.

To start changing your DIY oil, run your car for 2 or 3 minutes so the oil can flow out of the engine easily. You don’t want the engine so hot that you burn yourself. When becomes a little warm to the touched, turn off the car. We suggest waiting 20 mins so the oil is still warm but not hot.

Each car has at least one similarity (the non-electric ones at least): the need for a regular oil change. It’s just a fact of life. And like so many other tasks we have to do, it makes sense to save money and learn how to change DIY oil works. So, if you are ready to learn a little about the maintenance of the car, this is how to complete full synthetic oil, change yourself.

Young father teaching his son to change motor oil in family car

1. Buy oil change equipment

You will need some ingredients for your Oil change. First, make sure you have a series of fittings that include the oil filter key. You also need a few safety cups, Jack and/or Jack stands, funnel, fabrics, and oil pots. And of course, you will need fresh synthetic oil and a new filter.

Make sure to check the manual of your car to know the recommended Oil. And when you buy an oil filter, check the box to see if it includes a new drain washing machine, because you might need to replace this during oil changes. If not included one, you can buy it separately.

2. Get your car ready for oil changes

Now after you have all the equipment for synthetic oil changes, it’s time to prepare your vehicle for this process. Start by parking it on the level surface, which means if your entrance is tilted, it’s not the right place for oil changes! You might want to do this in the garage or front of your house instead, for your safety.

Make sure the parking brake is on and the car has been turned off for at least 20 minutes because the oil can be hot and you want it warm. If there isn’t enough space for you to fit it comfortably under the car, you have to use the jack to raise it, and Jack stands to stay stationary when you work. Now you can open a hood and look for the engine oil compartment. After you find it, pull out the dipstick and set it aside, because this will help the flow of oil freely when it’s time to drain it.

Car mechanic changing motor oil in automobile engine at maintenance repair service station

3. Old oil drain

Now it’s time to wear your safety glasses and glide under your car so you can dry the oil. After you find the oil pot, continue and place the drain pan just below it. Then pull the drain plug. You may need to loosen it first with a fitting box, but then you should be able to pull it by hand.

Maybe it took a few minutes for all oils to flow out. When you wait, you can use a lap to clean the old oil drain plug if it’s in good condition, you can always use it. If not, you will be happy to have a new oil disposal plug that you can install instead. As soon as all old oils are drained, you can enter the sewer and tighten it with the right key.

4. Replace the old oil filter with the new one

An auto mechanic showing a dirty oil filter during general car maintenance

The next step is to do an old oil filter, make sure the rubber gasket is off with it. When you do a filter, remember there will be some old oil in it, so let it flow out into your oil pan. After there are only old oil droplets that come out, you can install a new filter. But before you put it down, clean a little new oil on the rubber filter pack so it runs easily. You can do this by dabbing your finger in the clean new oil and applying it to the gasket and groves in the threads.

Installing a new oil filter only involves unscrewing the old, which you can do with your hand. Once removed be sure to throw it away in a sealed plastic bag to not leak. Next twist on the new oil filter. Make sure to not twist on the filter too tight as this will cause you future headaches getting it off next time.

5. Add New Oil

The final step in this process is adding in new oil. We suggest filling your reservoir to the mark on the dipstick, then running the car for a couple of mins to deplete oil into the system. Now finish by filling the reminding gap back up to the mark.

Final step is safely disposing of the used oil. We suggest first ensuring it is properly (double or triple) wrapped up to not leak on the way to the disposal site. Most oil change facilities will accept your used oil and have proper mechanisms for dealing with it. They do not charge for this service, but be sure to thank them!

Thanks for reading! Please comment with any questions or additions.