Winter is right around the corner, and it’s a great time to save money!  Though there are some tasks that need to be taken care of at the mechanic shop, you can definitely read below to find out how to change the oil in your car when it’s time for your next oil change.  And trust me, you’ll save money by doing it yourself… my last oil change was $60. Imagine my shock when my husband said it could be done for less than $20.  (Give me my $40 back!)  


First off, you’ll need to gather supplies.  You’ll need:

  • 4 – 6 quarts of motor oil (check your owner’s manual for the proper type and any given recommendations)
  • Oil filter
  • Drain plug socket wrench or open-end wrench (exact size) and oil filter wrench
  • Large drain pan, at least 5 to 7 quarts in capacity
  • rags and a pair of disposable latex gloves
  • Funnel
  • Safety glasses
  • Ramps or Jack Stands

1.  Choose Your Oil.  Your vehicle’s owner’s manual will recommend a weight and type of oil to be used under normal driving conditions as well as the number of miles that you should drive your vehicle before changing your oil. Oil types include Conventional or Synthetic or High Mileage oil for cars with more the 75,000 miles. 

2.  Prepare Your Vehicle.  **Always consult your owner’s manual for the safety precautions before getting under your vehicle! ** On the top of the engine you will find a cap that says “Oil”. Unscrew the oil filler cap, this helps quickly and completely drain the oil from the engine.  Cold oil will not drain properly so idle your engine for about 5-10 minutes to bring it to normal operating temperature (never start your engine without oil). Then switch off the engine and raise the hood to locate and loosen the oil filler cap to avoid creating a vacuum. This will allow the oil to drain from the bottom more freely.

3. Drain the Old Oil.  Locate the oil drain plug on the underside of your vehicle. It should be located at the bottom rear end of the engine sump or oil pan. Be sure not to loosen the automatic transmission drain plug by mistake. (It is usually located a bit further back.)Place the drain pan underneath the drain plug and slightly toward the back. Using your wrench, turn the plug counterclockwise until it rotates freely. Finish removing the plug by hand. At this point, be careful of the oil since it may release rapidly and may be hot. Try not to drop the plug into the pan, but don’t worry if you do. Reposition the pan, if necessary, to catch all the dripping oil.

4.  Remove the Oil Filter. Loosen the oil filter – make sure it’s not hot – by turning it counterclockwise with a filter wrench. Complete the removal by hand, taking care not touch the hot exhaust manifold. The oil filter may be filled with oil and feel slightly heavy, so carefully ease it down and away from the engine and tip its contents into the drain pan.

5.  Replace the Oil Filter.  Take a rag and wipe in and around the filter seat on the engine. Then take a new filter and use your finger to apply a light film of new oil to the gasket, (the circular edge of the filter itself). The oil will act as a sealant.Now gently screw the new filter onto the threaded oil line, turning it clockwise. If it’s aligned properly, the filter should thread on easily. Hand-tighten the filter approximately ½ to ¾ of a turn after the gasket makes contact with the mounting surface. Make sure the filter is mounted snugly, but be gentle, don’t over tighten.

Be sure to clean the copper gasket and the oil plug. Use a rag to clean old oil or road dirt from the area on the oil pan near the oil plug hole before re-installing the drain plug. Then align and replace the plug. Screw it in by hand, but finish tightening it with your wrench. Tighten the oil drain plug, don’t over tighten the oil drain plug.

6. Add Clean Oil. Use a funnel to pour the new oil into the filler hole on top of the engine (oil spilled onto the engine or exhaust system will stink up the engine; oil spilled onto the exhaust system can even potentially be ignited). Add the recommended number of quarts, as directed from your owner’s manual. Check with the dipstick to assure proper fill level. Then replace the oil filler cap and wipe off any spillage.Once you have the oil level reach the recommended line on the dipstick start the engine. The oil light should go out as soon as the engine is started, if it doesn’t, turn off the engine and recheck the oil level on the dipstick. Run the engine for several minutes, then switch it off and check the dipstick once again to assure proper oil level.  Next, check for leaks!

7. Dispose of Your Used Oil.  The final step is to dispose of the used oil that you have drained from your vehicle. Used motor oil is highly toxic to the environment and it is of important that it is disposed of in a safe fashion. Transfer the used oil to sealed container and return it to any Pep Boys location, they will be glad to take your used motor oil and properly recycle it. 


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