How to Change the Oil in Your Vehicle

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Changing Car Oil

Changing your oil is a great way to keep your car running in top condition while also saving you money. Before beginning, it’s important to have the right equipment for the job. You will need:

  • a new oil filter;
  • a socket or crescent wrench;
  • a jack or ramp;
  • an oil drain pan;
  • and a newspaper to catch any oil leaks.

Most importantly, you’ll need up to five quarts of oil. To determine which type of oil you will need, it’s important that you consult your vehicle’s manual. You can also open the hood and look for this information on the oil cap. Once you have all the equipment you need, here is a step by step guide on how to change your vehicle’s oil.

Step 1

You’ll begin by lifting your car using a ramp or jack. If you use a ramp, wikiHow recommends you brace the back tires with blocks. Further, before lifting your vehicle it’s imperative that you put on your car’s emergency parking brake.

Using a jack to lift a car

Step 2

Next, you’ll want to locate your vehicle’s drain plug. To find it, slide under the car to find the oil pan. Under the oil pan you will see a plug or nut, which is the drain plug.

Step 3

Depending on your vehicle and the type of drain plug it has, you will need a crescent or socket wrench to remove the plug. It’s vital that you have a large drain pan with you to catch the oil, as once you remove the plug the oil will come out. From there, wait until the oil fully drains. During this step you can also remove the oil filter by unscrewing it with your hand or wrench. Be sure that when you remove the filter the rubber gasket rings comes off too or the new filter won’t seal well. After removing the filter, wrap it in newspaper so oil won’t spill. You can recycle the filter once you’re done with the oil change.

Oil Drain Plug

Step 4

Once your vehicle’s oil drains completely open a new bottle of oil, dip your finger into it and moisten the gasket on the new oil filter. The gasket will be at the top of the oil filter.

Step 5

You’ll next install the new oil filter where the old one was. The filter will come with directions, so be sure to follow them. Once installed, dab around the area where the oil drain plug is to clean the area.

Step 6

After this, you’ll replace the oil drain plug and tighten it with a wrench.

Step 7

Next, you’ll pop open your vehicle’s hood and located the oil cap. Open the oil cap and pour several quarts of oil using a funnel. When doing this step, pour the oil in slowly to prevent leakage.

Oil Cap

Step 8

After pouring the oil in, close the cap and start your vehicle for up to a minute. During this time, look for leaks around the filter and drain plug. After checking these areas, if you notice no signs of leaks shut off your vehicle and wait for 10 minutes. Following this, you should check the oil level of your car by removing the dipstick, wiping it clean, putting it back in and pulling it out again to check it. If you notice the oil level is low, slowly add more oil until it reaches the full line on the dipstick.

Step 9

Carefully remove the pan from under the car, making sure you don’t spill the oil and  lower the car off the ramps or jack stands.

Step 10

Take your vehicle for a short drive around your neighborhood. Once you return, wait 10 minutes for your car’s oil to settle and then check your vehicle’s dipstick. If it is at the full line (the oil comes up to the upper mark or a hole), you have successfully changed your vehicle’s oil!

After you have completed all the steps listed above you have to transfer your car’s used oil into a sealing container. You can use old oil container, a milk jug or any other plastic bottle (except for those that were used to hold chemicals). Used oil can be recycled at any designated collection site. To locate a recycling center near you click here. Also most stores that sell car oil will accept your waste oil at no charge. Next time when you change your car’s oil, you can try using 50 percent recycled oil by Valvoline, it is better for environment.

Read more car care tips.

Sue Rogers has been working and writing for automotive industry for seven plus years and is excited to share her knowledge and experience with you.