How Do You Change Your Own Motor Oil?

By Lonnie Whitcher
Updated April 14, 2015
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How Do You Change Your Own Motor Oil?How do you change your own motor oil? Why would you want to? If you take your car into the shop for an oil change, you are paying more than you would if you knew how to change your oil yourself. About half the cost of an oil change is for labor.  If you learn how to change your own oil, you can save that money. 

So how do you change your own motor oil?  Here are the steps.

1.) Get The Necessary Materials.

The first step in learning how to change your own oil is to get the materials together.  You'll need: a new oil filter, 4-5 quarts of new oil, an oil filter wrench, a socket wrench set, a drip pan to capture old oil, a funnel, car ramps to hold your car up, and some old rags for cleanup.

2.) Get The Car Warmed Up.

You need to get the oil warmed up so that you can get all of the old oil out of your engine.  You don't want it to be too hot, just warm enough to thin it a bit.

3.) Position The Car On The Ramps.

Drive your car up so that the front wheels are on the car ramps.  Set the parking break, turn off the car, and put blocks behind the back tires. 

4.) Remove The Filler Cap.

Raise the hood of your car, and take off the oil filler cap.  This lets air flow into the engine when you drain the oil out, so that it drains more easily.

5.) Loosen The Oil Plug. 

Get underneath the car, and find your oil plug, which is a large bolt on the bottom of the oil pan.  Use a wrench to loosen the nut until it is easy to turn with your fingers.

6.) Drain Out The Old Oil.

Put your drip pan underneath the oil drain hole, then finish removing the oil plug with your fingers.  Let the oil drain out completely.

7.) Remove Your Oil Filter.

Locate your existing oil filter, and position your drip pan below it.  Remove the filter, using your filter wrench if needed.  Make sure that the rubber gasket comes off with the filter.  A stream of oil will flow out when you remove the filter.

8.) Install New Filter.

Smear a little of your new oil onto the gasket of the new filter.  Put the filter into place, and tighten according to the installation instructions.

9.) Replace The Oil Plug.

Put the washer and bolt back onto the bottom of the oil pan.  Tighten until it is secure.  Now you can remove your drip pan from below the car.

10.) Fill The Engine With Oil.

Using your funnel, pour the new oil into the oil filler hole until it reaches the necessary level.  When you are done, replace the oil filler cap. 

11.) Start The Car.

Start your car, and let it idle about five minutes, while you check for leaks.  If you see oil leaking anywhere, turn off the car, and tighten parts as needed.

12.) Dispose Of Oil Properly.

Part of knowing how to change your oil is getting rid of it properly when you're done.  Take your used motor oil to an approved disposal location.  You can usually drop it off at a gas station or car repair shop, depending on the rules in your state.





* Disclaimer:
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.