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How To Change Your Cars Motor Oil (Step-By-Step)

cleaning engine oil

There is nothing better than having a car of your own that allows you to go anywhere you want and at any time, at your own convenience. But there may be times when it seems as if your car just does not perform as well as it did the first time you drove it. 

The engine may not even respond when turning your key. But what could be the problem? Well, it might be best to check your car and the oil within it. Just as your body needs nutrients to be healthy and strong; your car also needs proper maintenance for it to keep running. And one way to do this is to have its oil changed.

The oil of your automobile should be changed every 3,000 miles of drive. There are those models that must be changed after 5,000 miles when you have a better automobile that operates efficiently. Oil is the lifeblood of the automobile’s engine and the reason behind getting the best motor oil for your car. There are also times when oil gets contaminated or dirty while circulating through the engine. Dirt is one of the reasons that can damage the engine; the worse thing is it may even end the life of your car.

How do you change the oil of your automobile? Well, if you can just afford it, have a trip to an automotive shop or service center to have it done for you. Unless the oil filter or oil drain plug or both can’t be reached, change the oil yourself as well as the oil filter. You can change the oil yourself provided that you can identify specific car parts and have the necessary equipment to do the job.

Well, are you ready to take it step by step?

9 Steps to Changing Your Car’s Oil

The process of changing car oil involve procedures such as draining of the existing oil from the engine, the replacement of certain equipment, the addition of oil, making sure that mess is not present, and the quality of testing.

You need to have the right tools and materials before starting this project. They include oil filter wrench, funnel, wrench for drain plug removal, oil filter, replacement drain plug washer, oil, jack and its ramps or stands, oil drain pan, and latex gloves.

Step 1: Checking the Appropriate, Right Amount of the Type of Oil

Consult your owners’ manual as this will serve as confirmation of the required oil type and amount. See to it that the viscosity of the oil matches to that of your car’s engine.

Read on your manual if it calls out for the other oil requirements as under the provisions of the International Lubricant Standardization Approval Committee and the American Petroleum Institute. Sometimes, it calls for synthetic oil. There are times when additional requirements imply its usage.

Step 2: Gather All the Tools and Materials To Be Used in the Project

Steel ramps can be great alternatives to safety stands or a floor jack. Refrain from using a flimsy jack supplied alongside your car. Your dry pan should feature a pour spout and a screw-on lid for an easy transport and recycling process of the old oil.

Be certain that the wrench you buy matches to your car’s filter. Enough space is necessary for an efficient use of band-type filter wrenches. This is beneficial for the over-tightened old filter.  

Step 3: Preparation of Your Car

Bring your engine and its oil to warm temperature as you begin but not that hot as well. Set your car to cool down the exhaust system but not too cold as well. This is good to have better access to your car.

Take-off its undercover whenever necessary as the aerodynamic covers installed in newer cars helps keep things clean and improve fuel economy. These covers are equipped with often-labeled, built-in access hatches. So It's okay if you remove the undercover since most cars these days don't have hatches.

Step 4: Look for the Oil Filter of the Car As Well As Its Drain Plug

Several automobiles are equipped with a bottom-mount screw-on filter. These cars have their oil filter and drain plug apart and requires you to reposition the drain pan after oil draining but before removing their filter.

You can now start removing the filter while the oil is steadily dribbling out. Follow this same oil-drain process and review steps if your car is new and with top-mount cartridge filter, except for the filter change process.

Step 5: Drain the Engine Oil

After filtration, you need to completely drain the oil out of the car's engine. Place the drain pan under the plug but not directly under it. Offset the pan to the angle of the plug causing the oil to stream out for several inches. Consider the wind when draining oil outdoors because the oil ribbons may blow around and cause a mess.  

Remove the cap of the oil filler. Engine oil can still drain while the filler cap is on; the oil filtration becomes smooth and fast when it is removed. Take the cap off and put the new oil before starting the engine. it's best to use gloves as this is the start of where things get a tad bit messy.

Use a common wrench and a little muscle in removing your drain plug. Slowly remove the drain plug while keeping your hands away from the oil's expected path. The oil will come out immediately and warm. It's not recommended to change engine oil when both the engine and the oil are hot it may dribble down your arm when you miscalculate it.

Step 6: Tighten the Engine's Drain Plug

While the oil starts draining, you need to check and clean the drain plug of the oil. Ensure that the old drain plug washer is not stuck to the oil pan of the engine if your plug does not require a replacement washer. 

Although drain plugs have a torque specification, they seem not included in your manual. It is unlikely for the torque wrench to tighten lug nuts to lower down even when you found the specification. You will know if the drain plug is well-tightened when you use the box end of a combination wrench then tighten it without slipping a pipe over the wrench or using a hammer.

In case you choke on it a bit, use a standard drive ratchet, longer than that will result in over-tightening. Of course, you don't want to strip it out though you want to tighten up the bolt.  

Step 7: Proper Changing Procedure for the Oil Filter

You need to take out the oil filter first to see to it that the properly installed new filters will not be terribly tight. Take note that getting them off later will be difficult as their sealing gaskets swell as time passes.

Oil filters may loosen up when in a hurry and the oil may start gushing out in the surrounding perimeter. Just go slowly as much as you can and switch to unscrew the filter using your hand. Reposition the engine's drain pan before starting the job as there is no way you can undo the mess unlike in drain plug removal. Have rags near you and always prepare to have available oil down your arm. Never let go of the oil filter as soon as it begins to come off.

Hold the oil filter right over your drain pan to drain the oil. Remember not to drop it inside as it can cause a very messy splash. Try to use rags in cleaning up the oil away and consider the filter sealing surface. Remove the O-ring of the old filter when you found it stuck to the surface. Don't worry too much because this rarely happens these days though it's something that you should check as well since an O-ring's double stack won't seal, enabling the new oil to pump out and worst damage the engine.

Smear a dab of new oil on the O-ring of a new filter and then install the new oil filter. Gently spin the filter on until the O-ring contacts the sealing surface.

Draw a reference line on the filter with a paint pen or marker before tightening it. Never tighten the oil filters more than three-quarters of a turn to a full turn until the O-ring contacts the surface of the sealing. Read your owner's manual or the oil filter box to confirm the proper amount.

It would be enough to work at a three-quarters turn without using tools. It's also possible to go to a full turn provided that you can still manage it with your hand. Be mindful not to resort to a filter wrench because you just want to make it tighter than the recommended amount. Most likely the filter wrench is all that you need for tightening if your hands are too oily or the access is too tight for a solid grip.

Step 8: Right Amount of Additional Oil

Add new oil after reconfirming the proper tightening of the filter and the oil drain bolt. Keep adding filter oil a bit at a time. Always check out its stick every after the addition of oil up to its dipstick’s full line. Add approximately one quart less than the recommended amount. Allow the oil to settle down for 5-10 minutes and check the dipstick again. 

Replace the filter oil cap then start the engine. Let it run at least 30 seconds to circulate its new oil, shut it down and inspect any leaks underneath your vehicle. Lower the vehicle off the ramps or jack stands when you are satisfied that everything is fine. 

Step 9: Check the Engine's Oil Level

Check the oil level of your engine when you are already on a flat ground. It's not surprising to add more oil when you short-filled it slightly. Note the gush of oil up to the hash mark or the upper indicating that it's full already. And now you have successfully changed the oil of your car’s engine so you are now good to go.

Lastly, ensure proper disposal of the old filter and its oil. Majority of the auto parts stores selling oil will get your waste oil without any charge or to oil-recycling centers. An alternative to this is the help of local municipalities through their household hazardous waste drop-off areas.

Are We Done Yet?

Absolutely, we are done now. It would only take you no more than 30 minutes as soon as you're done changing the filter oil several times and when you're familiar with the idiosyncrasies of your car. You will save more money and time than sending it to a mechanic for an oil change.

The maintenance tasks begin within easy reach once you are comfortable with the fundamentals of an oil change. The maintenance tasks begin within easy reach once you are comfortable with the fundamentals of an oil change. How’s your learning of oil change then?

It would be great as well when you find it best to make the most out of your car. Ensure that it shows efficiency in performance after having newly changed engine oil, while allowing you a safe drive!

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