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If the thought of performing your own oil change sends chills up and down your spine, just relax. You can tackle your own oil change, saving both time and money. There’s no need to wait in line at your local service station and no cause to pay someone for labor. Just put your game face on, gather a few tools, and tackle it on your own.
Start your oil change by gathering several items. You’ll need motor oil - secure about four to five quarts. You’ll also need a new oil filter, old rags, a funnel, an oil-drain pan, a box wrench, and an oil-filter wrench. You may or may not need a car jack to perform your oil change. This depends on how close the bottom of your car is to the ground.
Let your engine cool off and locate the oil drain plug. If you have trouble finding your oil drain plug, refer to your vehicle manual. Use a box wrench to remove the plug and let the oil drain into a pan. Once the oil is drained completely, replace the drain plug.
For the next step of your oil change, you’ll need to remove the old oil filter. Put the catch pan under it. Remove the filter with an adjustable oil-filter wrench and a counter-clockwise motion. Expect to get some oil on your hands; an oil change is a dirty job. Take one of your old rags and wipe the filter-mount area, checking to make sure the old filter’s seal isn’t stuck on the engine.
Take some of your new motor oil and use it to coat the rubber seal of your new oil filter. Don’t put too much on; you only need a very light coating. Install the new oil filter by hand. Typically, an oil-filter wrench is not necessary for this step. Keep it handy, however, just in case tightening by hand fails to do the job.
Now it’s time to install new oil. For this part of the oil change, you’ll need to find and remove the oil-filler cap. Look for it on top of the engine; refer to your car manual if you have difficulty finding it. Put the funnel in the exposed opening and pour the new oil into the funnel. Be sure to refer to your car manual to determine how much oil you’ll need to add.
After adding the right amount of oil, replace the oil-filler cap, turn you car on, and run your engine for a minute. Check to make certain the oil-warning light doesn’t stay on and look under the car to make sure oil isn’t leaking. Finally, use the oil dipstick to check the oil level. Use rags to wipe away excess oil; newspapers are good for this as well. Congratulate yourself, as you’ve just successfully completed your oil change.