Preventive maintenance on any car is crucial for preserving the integrity of the machine and ensuring that it lasts as long as possible. One of the most important ways to prevent issues occurring with your car is to have regular oil changes and to stay on top of the oil filter replacements. It can be difficult to perform this task yourself if you have no experience working on automobiles, however, it isn’t impossible as many individuals do it every day. There are things to consider before you begin to do your own oil changes, because if you do them incorrectly or inadequately it can cause significant damage to your engine or cause more issues later down the road. Having all the tools to perform oil changes is first and foremost; you should be sure to have access to the new filter that is designated for your vehicle, the correct oil, and adequate tools for the job. In addition to the resources for putting new oil and a new filter in your car, you must also consider properly disposing of the old oil afterward. Here are a few step-by-step instructions for changing the oil and oil filter on your own vehicle.
Make sure your car is propped up evenly
Firstly, you will want to make sure that your car is propped up evenly on both sides, with enough space to get underneath the car safely. Sometimes people use ramps that they have built themselves, or blocks to put underneath the front wheels; however, it is vital that you make sure your car is safely raised and that the parking brake is on before you take any further risks in the process. After safely raising your vehicle in the front end, you will want to make sure that the keys are not in the ignition, and put stabilizing blocks behind your back wheels to ensure that the car will not roll out of place despite the parking brake being engaged. It should also be noted that you can let your engine run momentarily, just enough to heat up the oil to a warmer temperature for draining efficiency purposes, but never attempt to drain your oil or get underneath the car when it has been running or has been driven for any lengthy period of time.
Unplug the drain for the oil
Next, you will want to unplug the drain for the oil and put a large enough oil pan beneath it to catch the fluid in a contained area—not running down your driveway into the gutter. Generally depending on your particular vehicle, the oil drain plug will be in a variety of locations; you can find this information in your owner’s manual. In order to get the plug off, you will likely need a wrench to make the plug loose enough to take off yourself. It is also important to wear safety gloves and safety glasses for this procedure, for several reasons: getting grease or oil in your eyes can be damaging, and touching warm car parts with your bare hands is risky and can burn you if you’re not careful. After locating the drain plug, you may want to also loosen the oil cap from the top portion of the engine as well because it eliminates the vacuum of suction created in the mechanism—this allows the oil to drain faster. Just make sure you account for this once the oil plug is released; it will likely come pouring out significantly faster after you loosen the cap.
Put the drain plug back in safely
After you have drained all of the used oil out, you should be sure to put the drain plug back in safely and securely. This step is important because it will keep oil from leaking either quickly as you pour new oil in, or it may leak over time if there is a small escape for the oil. This can lead to significant loss of oil over time, leaving your car with the potential for disaster. So make sure you use your trusty wrench! After this step, take out the old filter and place it in the oil pan. Next, you will want to screw in the new filter after properly coating the rubber seal portion of it so that it is lubricated. Then, pour in the new, clean motor oil using a funnel. All you have to do is tidy up, double check the oil level checking for leaks, and take the old oil to your favorite recycling center to be properly disposed of.