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How to Save Money By Changing Your Own Oil

Why should you pay a mechanic to change your engine oil when it’s cheap and easy to do it yourself? Follow these 7 easy-to-follow steps to learn how it’s done.

Step 1: Do Some Research

You’ll need to find out exactly which oil filter, oil type, and how much oil your car’s engine requires. You can find out what you need by:

  • Reading your owner’s manual

  • Looking in the make/model guide book at a nearby auto parts store or asking the clerk to look it up for you

  • Using an online tool such as Mobil’s Product Selector

Step 2: Gather Your Supplies

Here is the list of supplies you’ll need to gather before you can start working:

  • Oil

  • Oil plug gasket if your car uses one

  • Oil filter

  • Heat-safe oil drain pan

  • Funnel

  • Wrench (different types work best for different cars so be sure to check first)

  • Jacks and jack stands

  • Rubber gloves

  • Plastic sheet or old blanket

  • Paper towels

Step 3: Prep Your Space

Get your space ready to work by:

  • Turning on your engine and letting the engine run for 1-2 minutes. If your engine has been running and is hot, let it cool down for 30 minutes.

  • Safely jacking up your vehicle

  • Laying down your plastic sheeting or old blanket

  • Placing your supplies within reach

You’re now ready to begin.

Step 4: Drain Your Old Oil

Follow these steps to drain your old oil.

  • Locate the drain plug (or nut) located under the oil pan at the bottom of the engine.

  • Place your oil drain pan underneath the drain plug.

  • Wearing your gloves, unscrew the plug, quickly moving your hand out of the way of the draining oil.

  • If there is a gasket, remove it.

  • Use a paper towel to clean up the underside of your vehicle.

  • Put the new gasket in place.

  • Replace the plug, using a wrench to tighten it.

Now you can move on to the next step.

Step 5: Replace Your Oil Filter

Replacing your oil filter is just as easy as draining your oil.

  • Remove the cap from the oil filler hole at the top of your engine.

  • Move the oil drain pan so it’s underneath your oil filter.

  • Unscrew the oil filter with a wrench and let it drain into your pan. If you’re using a paper filter, loosen the plastic cover and remove the old filter.

  • Wipe off the opening with a paper towel.

  • Wearing your gloves, dip your finger into the oil and coat the rim of the new oil filter. Skip this step if you’re using a paper filter.

  • Replace the filter and hand-tighten the seal (don’t use a wrench).

  • Wipe down the area once more.

Step 6: Refill Your Oil

This step is the easiest of all.

  • Place a funnel inside the oil hole in the top of your engine.

  • Following your car’s requirements for how much oil to use, pour the new oil into the engine.

  • Replace the cap and tighten it.

  • Take your car off the jacks and turn the engine on for 1 minute.

  • Pull out the oil dipstick, wipe it, replace it, and check it again to make sure the oil level is correct.

Step 7: Dispose of Your Old Oil

The last step in changing your own oil is to dispose of the old oil properly. Dumping it in your trashcan or in an unapproved area can result in hefty fines.

  • Use your funnel to pour the old oil from your drain pan into the newly emptied oil containers and close tightly.

  • Take your oil to an auto parts store or gas station that accepts it and they will dispose of it properly or recycle it.

That’s it! You’re now ready to save money and be more self-reliant.

If you want more information on car maintenance or insurance options, be sure to visit Insurance Center Associates in San Pedro/Torrance California.