One of the essential things for your vehicle is engine oil. If you wish to keep your car in the best possible condition, changing the oil is the best thing you can do. Don’t hesitate to do it yourself. It is not complicated. You need the right kit to do it.
Engine oil has the function of providing lubrication to the engine, more precisely to its parts. As it circulates through those parts, it leaves deposits behind over time and gets dirty. You can change it yourself because it is not complicated and is the same job for all cars.
Some of the signs that your car needs an oil change are:
- The oil is dark: new oil has the color of resin. Due to the operation of the engine, deposits and soot accumulate. As a result, it becomes darker in color.
- The engine is louder: Not enough oil will not lubricate the parts, and they will start to wear.
- Increased exhaust gases: this could be a problem with oil leakage in the engine or indicate increased combustion of engine oil. Therefore, there are more intense formations of carbon deposits.
- The “Check engine“ or “Change Engine Oil Soon” sign is coming on. Check for the EPC light as well if you own a VW.
The oil change period depends on several factors:
- The manufacturer’s recommendations
- working conditions
- and how much you have worn the car.
Sometimes it is at 3000km or 6 months. It also could be after 5000km. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and check for signs.
What equipment do you need for a DIY engine oil change?
- A car jack
When buying a car jack and all other equipment, choose one that you understand how it works. Ask how much power it has and how long the warranty is.
A good choice is Blackhawk Service Jack. It will lift yours without any problems. Blackhawk B6350 Black/Red Fast Lift Service Jack has a Capacity of 3.5 tons. It also has a device to prevent overpumping and a safety valve for safe operation. It will lift your car from 5.5 inches to 22 inches. It is a first-class alloy steel hydraulic car jack.
My second choice would be Pro-Lift Hydraulic Trolley Jack. Pro-Lift F-2315PE is not so expensive, and it is more affordable than a lot of other options. A capacity of 3000 lbs is enough to lift most cars. It will lift your car from 5-5/16 inches to 11-3/4 inches. This jack has a bypass system to prevent jack damage and user injury. It is made of steel and features a plastic case for safe transport. It is a hydraulic trolley jack.
- Jack stands
Strong stands are essential for this job. You risk your life if you have bad stands. Don’t hesitate to buy the best you find. It is possible to find stands made of stainless steel and aluminum. Both are strong. The difference is in price and weight, whereas aluminum stands are lighter and more expensive.
Pro-Lift Double Pin Jack Stands hold three tons, more than enough for holding your car. This stand is made of alloy steel and weighs 13.86 pounds. It comes with an adjustment system. Pro-Lift Double stands are reliable, affordable, and have good dimensions. They have a strong stand to hold your car while you change the oil.
Torin Big Red Lightweight Jack Stands will hold 3 tones, not so high as Pro-Lift. However, it is also more than enough to do the job. This stand is made of aluminum with 6 locking positions. Additional stability is secure with a wide foot base. Storage is not complicated because of the removable foot.
- A collector container
Used engine oil is left over from maintenance. It is also dangerous to the environment. Make sure you recycle it responsibly. If you change it yourself, you should dispose of the used engine oil responsibly. An approved collection facility is where you should take your old stuff. Together with old oil, you should take the old filter to an approved place to dispose of it.
Try to find containers for multiple uses. Leaking is something that you wish to avoid.
FloTool 16-Quart Drain Container is reusable and leak-proof. FloTool 42003MI 16-Quart Drain Container can stand horizontally or vertically and collect everything without spilling. The strong handle will be easy to use and carry. With this container, you can change the oil a couple of times before becoming full. The main reasons to buy this container are no spilling, no messing around, and being easy to handle.
- A metal drip pan
The metal drip pan is very useful to prevent oil from going on your garage floor. As much as you try to avoid spilling, it is almost certain that you will have drops outside your collector container. Beginners always make mistakes. So, don’t be surprised if something like that happens to you. Just anticipate and prepare a metal drip pan. Stains on your concrete or floor tile are difficult to clean. You should avoid that if you can. Slide the metal drip pan under the collector container and be safe.
The Lumax Galvanized Drip Pan has perfect dimensions for that. This Lumax Galvanized drip pan’s dimensions are 47-in. x 25-in. with a 1/2-inch lip around the edge. This lip will prevent you from spilling all over your floor and spare you from the painful removal of stains from the concrete floor tile.
- A funnel
If you wish to prevent spilling while you pour new oil, you must have a good funnel. Usually, you use one hand to handle the funnel and another hand to pour liquid with another hand. Additional equipment will help the funnel stand hands-free and be used for all kinds of liquids for your car.
My first choice is FloTool QuickFill Funnel because it is not so expensive, and it will do the job. You need to hold this funnel with one hand and pour with the other. FloTool QuickFill Funnel provides good capacity, and pouring will go quickly and without any problem. It has a splash guard to prevent spills, and a good handle ensures you have a secure grip. This funnel is made of quality material that will last longer, and you can reuse it many times.
Lisle Spill-Free Funnel is the second choice because of the additional equipment. Lisle 24680 Spill-Free Funnel comes with many different adapters to make this funnel possible to use for all kinds of liquids. With the right adapters, this funnel can stand independently. You will pour oil without handling the funnel. It is more expensive, but it could be a good choice if you pour liquids into your car by yourself. The funnel is clear, so you will be able to check the level visually. It has protection from spilling. Additional adapters make this funnel usable for many different cars, trunks, and tractors.
- Portable shop light
It is a great help to have portable shop light for easier work under the car. If you drop a small part somewhere beneath other parts, it would be difficult to find it even if it is a sunny day. Portable shop light will greatly help in many situations, not only while changing oil.
GearIt LED Work Light with 1200 lumen will help you in many situations. A long extension cord and hook with a rotating hanger will be helpful during the job. The magnetic base is a good feature, while the rubber handle will prevent slipping. This portable shop light is used outside as well as inside. The temperature of -40F to 130F and all kinds of weather will not be a problem for this light.
A box wrench is always useful. Check the owner’s manual for information on which wrench you need. All socket wrenches look similar at first glance. If you watch more closely, you will find differences. The obvious difference is the price and number of pieces in the socket.
Find a box wrench that will be useful at your price range. Carefully check the content of every set. Try to assess quality. Ask somebody for the performance of the socket set that you like. If you wish to do your job quickly and with no trouble, you need ratchets with the mechanism inside. It is a smaller degree movement mechanism. A good feature is the quick release mechanism.
Look for a fine tool finish and reverse mechanism. It is very important to check that socket size markings are visible. Not so important for socket wrench performance is case construction. The case should be solidly built if you don’t wish to have your wrench set in a plastic bag.
Milwaukee Tool would be a good choice. The Milwaukee Tool 15-piece wrench set could be in metric or inch system measurements as the set has an affordable price with good performance. Every wrench has a strong handle, and it is easy to find socket size. A strong tray makes it possible to store for a long time. Milwaukee Tool provides a lifetime guarantee on all wrench sets.
Those are essential tools for the job. You can find that in DIY stores made by various manufacturers, in different price ranges. The best you can find will pay off in a short period.
Additional equipment for an easier oil change:
- An old blanket – you will need this to lay on it during an oil change
- Plastic – it’s great if you spill.
- Old rags or old newspaper – for wiping
Time needed: 25 minutes.
How to do an oil change
- Spread the blanket on level ground.
The old blanket will help you to do the engine oil replacement more comfortably. You will lay down under the car, so it would be better to have a blanket under you.
- Place the plastic on a blanket.
Plastic will be very useful if you spill. It will protect the blanket and floor from spillage. Blankets and plastic could be reusable. Use an old carton board or newspaper if you don’t have a blanket and plastic.
- Park the car on level ground.
If you park your can at an angle, you will be in danger. The whole operation will be at risk.
- You should leave the car working for 5 minutes to heat up the oil.
Do not leave it longer because it will be too hot and can burn you.
- Leave your car to cool down for 30 minutes if it is hot outside.
If you drove your car just before you started the oil change, wait for longer. The oil in your car is very hot and needs to cool down.
- Place the wheels chucks behind the wheels to prevent it from moving.
Wheel chucks are important to prevent cars from moving during an engine oil change because any movement could destabilize jack stands.
- You can apply the hand brake to be more secure.
Prevention of car movement is essential.
- Check in the car manual to know where the correct place is for the car jack.
You must put it in the right place to lift the car correctly. Incorrect placement of car jack or jack stands will damage the car and risk your safety.
- Lift the car using a car jack.
You will decide what the correct height is for you. Pneumatic car jacks are only for lifting, not for supporting the car. As soon as you lift your car, put the jack stands in the correct place.
- Secure the car with jack stands.
Jack stands are for support. It has to be placed in the correct place. Check the manual to find that place. If you don’t put the stand in the correct place, you can damage the car and will put your safety at risk.
- Place the metal drip pan. On top of the metal drip, place the collector container.
The correct position of the metal drip pan and collection container is under the oil filter and plug. First, locate the two parts of your car.
- Use the wrench to loosen the plug.
If you need more strength, use a rubber mallet.
- Oil will start coming out of the car into the collector container.
Do not rush. Let it all out of the system.
- Remove the old filter using a wrench, or better do it by hand.
You should always change the oil filter. NEVER leave the old filter.
- Replace the old filter with the new one.
But first, put a thin layer of new oil on the rubber on the new filter. Tighten it by hand. Do not use a filter wrench.
- Wipe the plug and put it back in.
- Pour in new oil.
Before pouring the new stuff, it is important to check are you using the correct type. Check the manual. If you pour the wrong type, you will damage the engine. Then you will have to go to mechanics and correction will be very expensive. Check 3 times. It is good to have an old oil container to check which type is already inside your engine. Pour the same type, and you will not go wrong.
- Check the oil level.
Start the engine and leave to work for only one minute. Leave it for 5 minutes and check the level again.
- Remove the wheels chucks.
All this should be over in 25 – 30 minutes.
- You should check the filter, plug, and oil level the next day.
If you see leaking, that is no problem. Just tighten the filter or plug. If the level is low, add more.
Take this chance to address dents and any smells in your car to make sure it’s smoother sailing from here. Doing this important maintenance is important whether you’re driving an RV, a camper, or a normal car.
Once you change the engine oil, you will see how easy it is.
You did a great job! Don’t stop there. If you successfully change the engine oil, start thinking about changing the air conditioner and air filters. It’s not more complicated than what you just did. Great job!
You can definitely change the oil yourself. With the right equipment, it should only take you 30 minutes to do so if you follow our guide.
However, some people don’t like the potential mess it could leave and they would rather have a mechanic do it. If you’re not afraid of rolling up your sleeves and getting messy, it’s definitely an easy DIY job.
Why are oil changes so important?
Without proper lubrication, your car will heat up more than it should. Certain parts are prone to damage if the temperatures rise above the intended levels.
The same way you want its battery to last as long as possible, you want the same for all the other parts. The first step is proper maintenance.