Your car engine is made of metal parts that are constantly moving and rubbing against each other whenever the engine is running. For these metal parts to continue working optimally and prevent them from overheating, there is a need for sufficient lubrication. Therefore, replacing car engine oil is crucial. The big question is, should you be taking your car to the shop any time there is a need for an oil change? Can’t you do it yourself? The DIY oil change is the most basic car maintenance job any driver should know. Apart from being a simple process, it saves time and your hard-earned money. If you ever sat down on the waiting bay reading an old newspaper as the car mechanic replace your car oil, you understand how it feels.
Generally, some manufacturers recommend that oil be replaced two to three times after purchase, on covering a specific number of miles. It is not always prudent to follow the manufacturer’s schedule to the latter because it can also be flexible. An overused car benefits typically from the shorted schedule, and hence visual check of the oil is ideal.
How to Change Engine Oil
If you are comfortable under the hood, then you will reap the many benefits that come with changing the oil yourself. One of the advantages is that whenever you visit the service center, you will find that the mechanic is busy with customers. Sometimes you find that the specialist may not do a thorough job because of the fast-paced atmosphere and intent to serve as many clients as possible. It takes a lot of time to drain all the burnt oil from the engine. And the mechanic’s impatient nature may compromise your car engine’s integrity. When you do the oil change yourself, you will have enough time to flush every drop before replacement.
When you are used to changing engine oil yourself, it will provide you with an avenue to know the state of your car and the engine oil brand that performs best. Apart from getting mechanics advice regarding the condition of your vehicle, you will be able to verify without having to rely on anyone’s opinion. It can also be expensive having such an easy service done anytime there is a need.
Tools and Materials
Before you start the stepwise process of car engine oil replacement, access the type of engine oil you are having. The environmental conditions have a significant impact on the kind of oil you should choose. While the owner’s manual may give directives, you should check with an expert to know the most appropriate oil to use based on the environmental temperatures of the place you live. You should also have all the tools and materials required with you as follows:
- combination wrench set
- oil drain pan
- oil filter wrench
- 2 empty gallon containers
- New oil filter
- Surgical gloves
- New crush washer
10 Steps to Change Your Engine Oil
After you have all you need, the process can follow the below 10 step by step guide to replacing the engine oil.
Step#1: Warm up your car by running the engine for 5 minutes
The reason for running the engine is because the engine oil tends to solidify when the ambient temperature is low. So when you crank the engine, the oil will become less viscous and hence easy to drain. When the engine warms up, you should not start draining immediately; allow some time like 5 minutes for the temperature to fall. Lowering temperature prevents you from potential oil burns. However, if the engine has been running for the long hours, let the temperature cool enough before trying to drain the oil.
Step#2: Secure your vehicle in level terrain, flat surface, and jack
Make sure that the car is stable and, if possible, place a rock behind the tires for safety in case of an emergency. Check if your vehicle is in neutral if manual or Pack position for automatic. Then slowly raise your car with a jack, and you must use reliable jack stands at this point. Going under the hood with a loose jack stand, you risk being crushed in case the car slips off the jack. Then you slide under the hood to locate oil plug if all is fine.
Step#3: Drain out all the old oil from the engine
If your car comes with a splash guard that protects your car’s underside, use a wrench to unscrew and remove it to reach the sum plug. Have the drain pan placed directly under the sump plug so that after the cap is out, the oil will start flowing into the pan. At this point, you also clean the sum plan thoroughly and check if the crush washer is perfect. If the washer is not tight, replace it to prevents oil leaks.
Let the oil drain completely, given enough time, and when you are comfortable, not even a single drop is remaining, you can securely screw back the sum plug. If you fear the oil splashing on your face, use an oil extractor to suck the oil from the top.
Step#4: Remove the filter to clean its section
Where your car has the insert oil filter, start by removing the filter before draining the oil. That ensures that all the oil is in the engine, and no residue will remain during draining. However, if the filter is in the plate shape that is at the engine’s bottom, you can remove it after draining the oil. Using the oil filter remover or ordinary sandpaper, it easy to remove the filter because that will increase the grip. Using an old cloth clean well the filter compartment and ensure no traces of old oil remains.
Step#5: Replace an oil filter with a new one
Whenever you change your car’s engine oil, it is recommended that you replace the oil filter too. Apart from replacing the filter, the O-ring or the washer needs a new one. This will guarantee that you have a leak-free system. Firstly, lubricate the crush washer with the new engine oil that you will replace with to have a faultless seal. Then, put the filter on and tighten the filter cap firmly.
Step#6: Pour in new oil using a funnel
Pour in the engine oil through the funnel carefully, and before then, make sure that you put in the exact amount your car engine space can hold. It is good to always refer to the manual, so to have an idea of how much your car engine can accommodate. Using the dipstick, you can always gauge the amount you are adding in your car engine, as overfilling may become problematic later. After the correct engine, oil is filled, close the cap tightly.
Step#7: Start your car and allow the engine to run for some time
Running the engine for several minutes after changing the oil allows the new oil to circulate all over the engine. It can be unfortunate if you just start your car after oil replacement and go only to be met by a tragic incident. The other reason why it is advisable to confirm by running the engine as you watch is to make sure that the crush washer is tight enough and no leaks whatsoever. If you notice a slight leak, stop the engine, allow it to cool and tighten again.
Step#8: Using a dipstick confirm the oil level
After you turn off the engine from running, and it has cooled enough, use a dipstick to check the engine oil level. Check the level marking on the dipstick against the manufacturer’s manual. Make sure it is either at MIN or MAX indication or whichever side is the owner’s favors. If the stated level is not taken into account, you will risk your car engine knocking or developing other advanced issues.
Step#9: Record oil change situations to identify extremes
Always note anytime you replace your engine oil and the reading shown on the odometer of your car. This is important for you can use the data after several oil change situations and use it to write a report. It will also guide you on knowing when you should replace the engine oil next and what causes your engine oil to need changing earlier or later than your expectations.
For instance, most manufacturers recommend that one should replace the engine oil after covering certain miles, yet there are cases where the same vehicle may cover twice or more than distance suggested while still performs effectively.
Step#10: Disposing off the Old engine
Waste from the engine oil is very toxic and requires to be disposed off, at the right place. In some locals, you can check online and be guided to the nearest oil recycling center.
If you carefully follow the above guide, you will realize that the entire process is easy to follow. Once you have successfully mastered the methodology, you will say goodbye to hundreds of dollars lost on changing the oil through the car mechanic. All you need to do is invest some cash in buying all the tools you need for oil change job, and you will benefit a lot in the long run. And yes, the process may look sloppy if you are a beginner, but once you master it, have confidence, it will be a matter of time and boom you are a veteran!