Changing Your Oil
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For many of us, auto maintenance can look as sophisticated as brain surgery. So many
parts, so many functions, so many ways to break down. One look under the hood of
your car can be pretty intimidating, which is why you pay our mechanics the big bucks to
look for you.
Luckily, there are some aspects to car maintenance that are simple enough for you to
handle on your own, without professional help.
Changing your oil is really critical for your car’s overall health and lifespan. Oil is kind of
like the lifeblood of an automobile. And since we all know how important blood is to our
health and well being, it’s easy to see why it’s so important to change your car’s oil
regularly, and properly.
Here’s how you do it:
1. Find the drain plug underneath your car. This large nut or plug is located under the
oil pan at the bottom of the engine. You may have to jack up the car or crawl
underneath to reach it.
2. Place a container under the drain plug to catch the oil. Make sure it’s big enough to
catch all of it.
3. Unscrew the plug so the oil drains from the engine into the container. Protect your
hand with a rag or some paper towels, and be ready to move your hand out of the way.
4. Remove the cap from the oil filter hole at the top of your engine and unscrew the
oil filter counterclockwise. Use a wrench if you can’t do it by hand. The filter will have
oil in it, so be careful not to spill when you remove it.
5. Empty the oil from the filter into a drain pain. Wrap the filter in newspaper once it’s
empty, and set it aside to take to a recycling centre with the old oil.
6. Open a new bottle of oil and dip a finger into it. Use the oil to moisten the gasket on
the top of the new filter.
7. Screw the new filter into the engine where the old one was. Follow directions on the
filter, or turn it gently until it seats. Then give it another three-quarter turn.
8. Replace the oil drain plug and use an adjustable wrench to tighten it. If your vehicle
uses an oil drain plug gasket, make sure the old one has been removed and lay a new
gasket on the pan before you replace the plug.
9. Funnel all but one quart of the fresh oil into the oil filter hole. Pour slowly to allow
the oil time to run down.
10. Replace the filter cap and run the engine for about a minute. Check for leaks from
the oil drain plug and around the filter.
11. Shut off the engine and wait 5 to 10 minutes, then check the oil level again.
Remove the oil dipstick and wipe it with a clean, lint-free rag. Now re-dip and check the
12. Continue adding oil a little at a time. Keep checking the stick until it reads ‘full’.
13. Remove the drain pan from under the car and take it for a test drive. Circling a few
blocks should do it.
14. Let the oil settle down again for 5 to 10 minutes, then recheck the dipstick.
If the stick still reads ‘full’, then you have successfully changed your oil. Congratulations!
No matter how you choose to do it, changing your oil is critical. So if these steps are too
complicated for you, you can always take the easy route and get a professional to do it