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How To Change Your Own Oil

Lubricating oil is like the bloodstream of your car. Engine oil keeps the internals of the engine lubricated and cool. A car’s engine has several moving parts that, if not properly lubricated, will grind against each other and become damaged. Failing to change your oil on a semi-regular basis can lead to catastrophic engine damage.

The car experts at AAA recommend that car owners change their oil every 3,000 miles. There are some exceptions to this rule, however. For some cars that use fully synthetic oil, oil changes can be administered every 5,000 to 7,000 miles. In the absence of oil changes, serious problems can occur.

After passing the 3,000 mile mark, a car with unchanged oil will begin to run less efficiently. You may notice that you get less miles per gallon, or MPG. The longer you run the engine all of the moving parts will begin to grind against each other. This will not only damage the engine permanently. It can cause total engine failure.

This can be incredibly dangerous especially if it occurs while driving at high speed. Warning lights, unusual sounds, and poor vehicle performance are a telltale sign that your motor oil change is overdue. The secondary function of motor oil is to keep the engine cool.

In the absence of this cooling agent, your engine can become very hot. This is the most dangerous factor of having old oil in your car. Engines that get too hot will start smoking or can even ignite and catch fire. One of the only reasons that an engine will catch fire is because the oil in the engine is too old and not properly cooling the components.

As you can see, regularly changing your oil is absolutely essential for keeping your engine running smoothly and safely. If you want to keep your car running smoothly, it’s essential that you regularly change your oil. Sure, you can go to an auto body shop and pay a fee to get your oil changed, but what if you couldn’t make it to the shop?

If you want to know how to perform this essential function on your own and for a fraction of the price, this article is for you. Here, we’ll discuss how you can change your car’s oil on your own in a comprehensive step-by-step list.

Raise Your Car with a Jack

The first order of business is to get your car raised up. To change your oil, you need to gain access to the underbelly of your car. This is why most auto body shops have high-end equipment that lift entire cars several feet in the air, or allow mechanics to get underneath cars.

But for your purposes, you only need to lift the car high enough to make room for yourself and to be able to do work underneath it. There are several ways to lift your car up by a few feet. Usually your car will be equipped with a jack stand. This compact device is capable of lifting your car up safely.

There are also hoists and ramps that you could use to lift your car 2-3 feet in the air. Always make sure that whatever is lifting your car is secure. If it’s not secure, it’s possible that your car will fall while you’re under it. It goes without saying that this could trap you under your car while causing serious injury, or even death.

Once your car is securely raised, it’s time to get to work.

Drain the Old Oil

Find the oil drain plug under your car. These are typically located at the bottom or the side of the oil reservoir. Keep an eye out for a cap with grips on the perimeter, this is usually the oil drain. Once, you’ve located the cap, get a 5 or greater gallon bucket and situate it underneath the cap.

Unscrew the cap and let the oil flow freely out of the reservoir. It will take about five minutes for all the old oil to drain out. Of course, once you’re done with this, screw the cap back into the receptacle tightly.

Replace the Oil Filter

After the oil has drained out of the reservoir, it’s time to replace your oil filter. The oil filter is typically a cylinder-shaped component that is close to the reservoir. You may need to use an oil-filter wrench to remove this component, but if you don’t have one handy, you should be able to get it off if you can establish a solid grip.

Move the bucket under the filter component and allow the oil to drain into the bucket. Once you’ve loosened the filter enough, the oil will begin to flow out of the filter, even before it’s completely off, so be aware of that.

Replace the filter with a new one of the same type, and you’re ready to add new oil.

Add New Oil

Before putting new oil in your car, make sure you know the exact type of motor oil your car takes. Open the hood of your car and find the oil cap. This cap will usually have an oil can symbol on it, much like the warning light that will appear when you need to change your oil.

Remove the cap and pour the new oil in. Using a funnel is ideal, however with care you can pour the oil in accurately if you don’t have a filter. It’s important to know the exact volume that your oil receptacle holds, so as to not overflow it. As always, tightly secure the cap once you’re done.

Make some Checks

Once you’ve followed all of the instructions above, double check all of your oil components. Ensure that the oil reservoir cap and filter are tightly secured under the car, and the oil cap under your hood. Start your car, and make sure there are no warning lights on your cluster.

Now you know how to perform one of the most vital functions for keeping your car running smoothly.