Your engine oil is one of the most important things you need to look out for in the car. Without the oil to lubricate the constantly busy parts of your engine, your engine could be in trouble. That is why this piece is dedicated to how to change your car engine all on your own.
Table of Contents
Now, you’re probably asking. Why do I need to change my engine oil? Well, here why:
Why You Need To Change Your Engine Oil
- Your engine consists of parts that are continuously moving and rubbing against one another. Without the engine oil to lubricate and smoothen things out among the parts rubbing against one another, friction could take over. And when friction takes over, it’s always bad news.
- After constant use, the oil wears out. You could say it gets tired. It isn’t able to lubricate the engine parts as it used to, it becomes really dirty, and it reduces in quantity. And if nothing is done, it would lead to the friction problem in the first point above.
- Well, it wouldn’t kill you to maintain your car yourself, would it? With proper car maintenance, you could escape some common car problems.
Now that you know why you ought to change your oil periodically, the next question that is probably on your mind is “how often should I change my oil?”
This is dependent on quite a lot of things actually. It depends on how old your engine is, the way you drive, the path you drive on, and many other factors. However, it is safe to change your car engine after every 3000 to 5000 miles you put on the car for non-synthetic oil. With synthetic oil, you could push the limits and hit about 10,000 miles before you change your oil.
Needed Tools and Materials
Of course, you don’t intend to just dive under your engine and suck out the engine oil with your mouth. Or wait. Do you?
As usual, you need the right set of tools.
- Rubber gloves
- A jack. And depending on how to level the ground is, you may need a jack stand too.
As for the materials, you would need
- The oil, of course.
- Oil filter
- Oil drain pan or just any container to collect the oil in
Without further ado, let’s get you to change your engine oil.
Step 1: You need to check the type of oil needed
Check your car manual for the type of oil your car engine uses and buy that particular oil type. However, of you can’t find your manual or you didn’t buy the car new, using just any type of oil isn’t a bad idea too. As long as it isn’t a low-quality oil.
Oil producers often make their oils differently. Some add some extra stuff to make the oil do some more stuff. You know, all those branding jargon. That is why there is always a recommended oil by your car manufacturer for your car. However, it isn’t necessary to follow this step.
Step 2: Let the oil warm-up
You want to drain the oil in your engine when it is warm, not when it is hot or cold. If you just used your car, you could just turn it off and leave the oil to cool down. If the car has been sitting around for more than an hour, you should just start the car and leave it idle for about 10 minutes. This gives the oil enough time to warm up.
Warm oil flows easily. Cold oil doesn’t. Hot oil flows easily but it could burn you badly. Get it?
Step 3: Jack up your car
Here’s the next thing you need to do. Jack up your car or drive it onto a ramp that gives you access to underneath the car. Whatever you do, make sure the car sits well on the jack and is very stable. I don’t recommend that you use those flimsy jacks that come with your car.
Step 4: Draining the oil
You may have to crawl underneath your car to find your drain plug. Don’t worry, it’s just less than 1 meter from the front of your car. The drain plug is often located underneath the oil pan which is also underneath your engine.
Next, slide the drain pan under the plug and open the plug with a fitting wrench in a counterclockwise direction. Make sure the drain pan is big enough to contain the oil without spilling. You should wait for the oil to drain out completely. Close up the plug after you’re done.
Step 5: Replace the oil filter
After draining the oil in the oil pan, the next thing to do is to locate the oil filter and replace it. The oil filter position varies from car to car. It shouldn’t be too far away from your oil pan though.
Place the drain pan beneath the oil filter before you remove it by turning it in a counterclockwise direction. The oil filter is usually black, blue or white. You’ll know recognize it when you see it.
On the new oil filter, dip your hand in the replacement oil and smear the oil thinly on the gasket of the filter. You could say it is done to prepare the oil filter to get to work. Pour some oil in the oil filter too. Screw the new oil filter tightly into place.
Step 6: It’s time to pour in the new oil
You can get out of underneath your car now. Your time underneath the car is over. Locate the oil cap on top of the engine. Open it, place a funnel and pour in the new oil.
Screw the oil cap tight and check for any leakages underneath your car. If there are, try to clean it up. You are supposed to use the dipstick to check the oil level about 5 minutes after you put in the oil. But while you wait, you can go to the next step.
Step 7: Start your engine
When you start the engine, check your dashboard to see if the check-oil-pressure light is on. If it isn’t, you’re good to go. If it is, it simply means there’s probably a leak somewhere or the oil level is just not high enough. Leave your engine on idle and check for what is causing the light to be on.
Don’t forget to check the oil level with the dipstick to confirm that the oil is on the appropriate level.
Well, that wasn’t so hard, was it? You can save yourself some money by doing this yourself. By the way, you should prepare to get dirty when you do this. There are other car problems you can solve yourself, like, fixing your power steering wheel.
And that’s all I have for you on how to change your car engine oil yourself. Do have a great day.