How to change your Oil and Oil Filter
Refer to your Owner’s Manual or Repair Manual to see what oil filter you need. The Manual will also tell you how much oil to buy and what weight/viscosity your vehicle requires.
Always refer to your Owner’s Manual or Repair Manual before you begin.
Oil catch/recycle container
Oil filter wrench set
Ramps or Jack Stands
Wrench or socket set to remove drain plug
Time to Complete:
30 minutes or up to an Hour
Steps for changing your oil and oil filter.
- Warm up the Engine. Since warm oil drains faster than cold, run your engine for only a couple of minutes, or take it for a quick drive around the block. This will warm up the motor oil and allow it to drain out smoothly. You never want to get your engine up to full operating temperature, because the oil will be way too hot to safely drain. Next, be sure you have a safe area to do your oil change a driveway or garage will work well, and level ground is a must.
- Secure the vehicle. Apply the parking brake. Remove the key. Place chucks behind the wheels for safety. If there isn’t enough room for you to slide under the car to perform this procedure, you may have to jack up the car to get beneath it. Remember never get underneath a car supported only by a jack always use a jack stand. Place the Hydraulic Jack under the vehicle at one of its designated jack points, raise the vehicle. Once the vehicle is jacked up, place jack stands beneath it before working under the vehicle. Never rely on a jack to support the weight of a vehicle you are beneath while working.
- Put on your safety glasses and gloves. Locate the oil drain plug and place the oil pan below it. Consult your owner’s service manual for help in locating the oil drain plug and remember that the oil will flow at an angle into the pan. Keep the Oil catch/recycle container near you while you loosen the plug with a socket wrench.
- Warm oil. Unscrew the plug by hand. While unscrewing it, push the plug back toward the pan to keep oil from rushing out until you are ready to remove the plug from the hole. Be carefuf, that oil can be hot and it will drain out at an angle. Your Oil catch/recycle container should be a large diameter and at least 8qt capacity.
- Filler cap. Check your owner’s service manual to find the location of the filler cap on top of your engine. Removing it makes the draining process faster because air can enter from the top.
- Drain plug. Once all the old oil is drained, replace drain plug and tighten the plug by hand, making sure it’s not cross-threaded. After the plug is hand-tight, secure it with a wrench. If indicated in your owner’s service manual, use a new drain plug gasket. Never over-tighten the drain plug.
- Removing oil filter. Even after you’ve drained the oil, the old oil filter can still contain hot oil. Position the oil pan under the old filter, then be very careful as you use your oil filter wrench to remove the filter turning counter clockwise. Use a rag to clean the mounting surface on the engine, and make sure the gasket from the old filter is not stuck to it. *If your vehicle is one of the growing numbers of new vehicles with a top-mount cartridge filter, the following oil-drain and refill steps are the same, but the filter change process is not. You should be able to see the oil filter from looking down at the engine bay area. Refer to your Owner’s Manual or Repair Manual to see where the oil filter is located. Using the using the appropriate tool recommended in your manual, turn the oil filter counter clockwise, have a clean rag handy to put under the filter to keep oil from dripping out onto the engine bay area.
- Before installing your new oil filter, lightly coat its rubber seal with fresh oil. Check to make sure the seal is properly seated in the filter, then screw on the filter by hand. It’s usually not necessary to tighten the oil filter with the wrench but check the filter’s instructions to be sure and or your Owner’s Manual or Repair Manual.
- Make sure to use a clean funnel and pour in the amount and type of oil specified for your vehicle. Some oil may not have drained out, and you don’t want to overfill it. When you have completed pouring in the specified amount of oil, don’t forget to replace the cap.
- After you run the engine for a few minutes, check the area around the oil drain plug and the filter for leaks. If you see a leak, cut off the engine and correct it. If you see no leaks, shut off the engine and let it rest a minute or two to give the oil time to drain down.
- Remove the dipstick. Wipe it off. Replace it. Then remove it again to see if it’s up to the “full mark.” If it’s not full, add the balance of the oil shown in the owner’s service manual. Remove Jack Stands and lower the vehicle. After you change your oil, record the date and mileage, so you’ll know when your vehicle is due for another oil change.
- Take the old oil and oil filter to either an authorized used engine oil drop-off center or recycling center to recycle the old oil for you.
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