Oil is the life blood of your engine. It’s moving metal components need this golden sauce to stay alive, without it no engine will last very long.
Engine oil takes the beating and brunt the internal engine components should be. Put simply, without engine oil it spells fast engine failure. In this article learn how to change the engine oil in your car in 5 Easy steps.
- Oil filter wrench
- Wrench or socket set
- Drain pan
- A quality car jack and safety stands (or ramps)
- Some rags, and maybe a radio 🙂
Stuff you need:
- Engine oil
- Oil filter
- Drain plug gasket
Changing the engine oil in your car is vital to keeping your vehicle running well for years to come, it’s cheap insurance that is truly worth every penny.
Why is engine oil so important?
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Engine oil is the sacrificial lamb that protects the internal moving components of your engine, without it engines seize up and fail quickly. How does engine oil protect these parts? Let’s take a quick look …
It starts with engineering, engineers design engines with exact tolerances between critical internal components. Pistons and other metal components need to move freely under harsh conditions at high speeds and pressures, without oil to protect and keep a protective “barrier” between these parts it’s not long before they seize up.
These tolerances (as small as they may be) are the space for the oil to flow, this creates a barrier of protection between moving parts, keeping the engine from sure destruction. As the oil breaks down from the constant beating it takes protecting the engine it loses it’s ability to protect and keep things clean.
This results in premature wear and eventually if left unchanged, complete destruction of internal components.
That’s why in this post I will cover how to change the engine oil in your car.
How to change the engine oil in your car in 5 Steps
Step 1. Get the right parts
Remember how I said that engines have exact internal tolerances? It’s important to purchase the right weight oil for your engine because it’s the right viscosity to fill these small voids properly.
Head over to the parts store and get a HIGH QUALITY oil filter and engine oil for your vehicle, be sure to find the capacity and required weight before you get there. Also grab a drain plug gasket, also a couple of Fireballs or Bazooka Joes if they have em … I love those things.
It’s not a bad idea to grab a can of spray cleaner ( such as Brake and parts cleaner ) and some latex gloves. When you are ready to go let the car run in the driveway for at least 5 Minutes to heat up the engine, this allows the oil to collect any crap in the engine and drain out faster.
Step 2. Lift the car and drain the oil
Set the vehicle up on jack stands or ramps carefully, take your time and make sure to take all safety measures as I won’t be covering them here.
Remove any belly pans or covers you need to access the drain plug and or oil filter. It’s also a good idea to throw down a tarp or some plastic sheeting to protect the driveway or garage floor. Remember that the oil will be hot and take precautions to protect your hands, also set the drain bucket anticipating that the oil will flow pretty far from the drain plug when hot.
Scoots Tip: If the oil filter is a cartridge type and located at the top of the engine be sure to loosen it to allow the oil to vent and drain back into the oil pan.
Loosen the oil cap and pull up the dipstick (if the vehicle has one.) This allows proper venting to ensure all of the oil flows out of the engine freely.
Set up your drain pan and remove the drain plug. Allow all of the old engine oil to drain into the pan. To kill some time while the oil is draining I recommend checking your tire pressures and fluids, also visually inspect the vehicle for any issues that need addressing.
Step 3. Remove and replace the oil filter
Depending on the style filter your vehicle has you will need to remove it using the correct tools. Unscrew the oil filter and make sure the o-ring comes out with it. Always replace the filter with high quality parts and never skip replacing any o-rings or gaskets that come with or on the filter.
Clean the mating surface and apply a thin coat of fresh oil to the rubber o-ring, this makes the filter seat better on the engine block. Now it’s time to install the new oil filter. If your vehicle has a cartridge style filter, torque the filter cup to spec and wipe off any oil residue.
For a standard spin on oil filter, tighten the filter by hand, then tighten about a 1/4 to 1/2 turn after gasket hits the engine block. Use judgement but never over tighten the oil filter.
Step 4. Install the drain plug and fill the engine oil
Now that we have the oil drained fully and the oil filter installed it’s time to install the drain plug and wrap things up. Inspect the oil pan and be sure the drain plug gasket is not stuck to the pan. Install the new drain plug seal and drain plug. Properly torque the drain plug to spec. Now spray down the filter and pan area and reinstall the belly pan (if there was one.)
Double check everything and lower the vehicle, we are done underneath.
Next we can fill the engine with the correct oil and amount, be sure to keep from spilling the oil on the engine. Check the oil level and reinstall the oil cap and dipstick. Start the engine and check for any leaks.
After running the engine for a minute or so shut it down and allow the car to sit for a minute before checking the oil level one last time.
Step 5. Reset the service light
Good work, you now know how to change the engine oil in your car! Let the car run for a few minutes and make sure there’s no leaks. Many vehicles today have service reminders that need to be reset after an oil change service.
Follow your vehicle’s procedure to reset the light and ensure the setting took. Clean up tools and dispose of the old engine oil and filter properly.