How to Change Your Motor Oil Introduction Plan to change your motor oil every 3,000 miles or every 3 months if you want to be on the safe side, but know that most cars no longer require an oil change after every 3,000 miles. You will not damage the engine by letting it run 4,000 miles in between oil changes. However, if you've been driving in very hot and/or dusty conditions you should stick to the 3,000 mile schedule, or even more frequent changes. Instructions Difficulty: Moderately Challenging Getting Ready Things You'll Need · Old Rags · Ratchet Sets · Car Jacks · New Oil Filters · Car Manuals · Funnels · Oil Drain Pans · Oil Filter Wrenches · Plastic Containers · Jack Stands · Rubber Gloves · Socket Sets · 4 - 5 quarts motor oil · Car Creepers Steps Step One Gather necessary tools and materials (refer to Necessary Items list). If you plan to change your oil regularly, consider investing in jack stands, a socket set and an oil drain pan. Step Two Run the car's engine for 10 minutes before you drain the oil. Warm oil drains faster than cold oil. Step Three Park the car on a level surface, engage the parking brake and turn off the engine. If your car has a low clearance, raise it by driving it onto a ramp or by jacking it up and supporting it securely. Step Four Open the hood and place the new oil and funnel on top of the engine to ensure that you won't forget to add oil afterwards (an expensive mistake that many do-it-yourselfers make!). Tips & Warnings · Consult your owner's manual or an automotive parts specialist to find out the weight of oil and type of oil filter your car needs. · You'll need the year, make, model and mileage of your car if you go to an auto parts store. · Make sure the car is securely supported before you crawl underneath. · You will need two jack stands to support the front of your car after jacking it up. Never get under a car that is supported only by a jack! A pair of jack stands costs less than $20. Draining the Oil and Changing the Oil Filter Steps Step One Crawl under the car once it is securely supported. Step Two Locate the oil drain plug on the underside of the engine, usually near the front center of the car. Consult your owner's manual for the exact location. Step Three Place the oil drain pan under the plug and loosen the plug with a socket wrench. Remember: turn counterclockwise to remove bolts. Step Four Remove the plug by hand. Be prepared for the rush of hot oil! Step Five Let the oil drain into the pan. Hold onto the plug. Step Six Reposition the pan, if necessary, to catch all the dripping oil. Step Seven Wipe off the drain plug and the plug opening when the oil finishes draining. Step Eight Replace the drain plug gasket. Step Nine Reinstall the plug. Always start threading any bolts or screws by hand to prevent cross threading. Step Ten Tighten with a wrench or socket. Be careful not to overtighten the plug. Step Eleven Locate the existing oil filter. Oil filters are usually on the side of the engine. Step Twelve Position the oil pan underneath the filter to catch any remaining oil. Step Thirteen Use an adjustable oil filter wrench to unscrew the old oil filter. Step Fourteen Use a rag to wipe the area where the filter mounts to the engine. Make sure the rubber seal of the old filter is not stuck to the engine. 15 Step Fifteen
Use some new oil to lightly coat the rubber seal of the new filter. Step Sixteen Screw the new filter into place by hand. It's usually not necessary to tighten the oil filter with the oil filter wrench, but have it at the ready if you're grip's not strong (or large) enough. Tips & Warnings · Wear gloves to remove the plug if it's hot. · It's always best to replace the oil drain plug gasket. · Use the right size wrench or socket. Don't use an adjustable wrench: you can strip the bolt. · Handle hot automotive oil with extreme care. · Be careful when removing the old oil filter. It's full of oil. Installing New Oil and Cleaning Up Steps Step One Locate the oil filler cap on top of the engine. Remove it. Step Two Place the funnel in the opening and pour in the new oil. Typically, you will use 4 to 5 quarts of oil. Check your manual for the correct oil capacity. Step Three Replace the cap when you're finished. Step Four Run the engine for a minute, then check the dipstick. Add more oil if necessary. Step Five Check the area around the oil drain plug and the filter for oil leaks. Tighten the plug or oil filter if you find leakage. Step Six Use rags and newspapers to wipe away excess oil. Step Seven Pour the used oil into a plastic container after the used oil cools. Step Eight Dispose the used oil properly: either bring it to a recycling center or an auto repair shop that can recycle it for you. Don't pour it down the sewer! Tips & Warnings · Record the date and mileage after you change the oil so you will know when your car is due for another oil change. It helps to put a small sticker on your windshield to remind you. · Handle hot motor oil with extreme caution. · Only dispose of used motor oil and filters at authorized locations.