Monday, 21 February 2011

Oil Change - How to Change Oil In Your Own Driveway

Changing your vehicle's oil regularly is the single most important thing you can do for your car. Regular oil changes will extend the life of your vehicle and enhance its performance. Because contaminants are regularly deposited into your car's oil resulting in sludge that decreases your engine's performance (and that will over time cause engine failure) frequent oil changes are a mandatory maintenance procedure.
Most people know that they should get an oil change approximately every three months or 3,000 miles, but less know that an oil change is something that can be done in their own driveway. Doing so can save about a hundred dollars per year, and is a great way to be active with and knowledgeable about your own transportation.
Oil Change Equipment
Before getting started with your oil change, make sure you have the following materials on hand. Many of these items are sold inexpensively and are great to have handy in any garage.
3/8-drive socket set
Combination metric wrench set, including both closed and open ended wrenches.
Oil filter wrench
Oil receptacle such as a pail or old kitchen pot
Two plastic milk containers with screw on caps.
Oil funnel
Plastic Ziploc bag - 1 quart.
Several newspapers / old rags
Two pair latex gloves (optional)
A few bricks, concrete blocks or boulders.
New oil filter (see owner's manual for specifications)
New oil to refill the engine. (The back page of your vehicle's manual should indicate grade and number of quarts.) Quick Change Oil recommends the use of synthetic oil for oil changes, such as Castrol GTX.
Before you begin, be sure to have a planned method for disposing of your dirty oil. It is illegal to dispose of used motor oil improperly. Most oil change locations will accept dirty oil for disposal free of charge.
Oil Change Step 01: Warming Up
Identify a flat space to work in your drive way or garage for you to perform the oil change once you've driven your vehicle for a short distance. Driving around just enough to heat up the engine will liquefy the oil for an easier emptying.
Oil Change Step 02: Stationing
Turn off your engine, put the car in Neutral and set the emergency brake firmly in place. Place several bricks in front of each of the four tires to prevent them from moving.
Oil Change Step 03: Locating the drain plug
If there is not enough room to slide under your vehicle comfortably, you'll need to jack it up using a hydraulic pump and settle it on jack stands. (Never mount your car on a jack only - you must use jack stands.) While beneath your vehicle, identify the drain plug by searching for the lowest piece to the ground. This piece will most commonly be the nut of the oil drain plug. To avoid confusion with the transmission fluid drain plug, feel the metal around it - the oil plug will usually be much hotter than the transmission plug. In some cases the drain plug is actually labeled. Call a friend or a local oil change company for direction if you're still unsure.
Oil Change Step 04: Draining the oil
Set out several newspapers underneath your car, focusing more on the area directly beneath the oil drain. Once you've located the drain plug, choose the correct socket from your set by experimenting with each until you've found one that nicely fits over the nut. Then, using a lot of force, turn the socket counter clockwise to crack the nut. If a socket doesn't work, try a closed end wrench. Once the nut is cracked, loosen it carefully, using caution. Loosening the nut too much or too quickly will cause the oil to spill out. Place your oil receptacle underneath the plug making sure it is straight making sure the plug points sideways rather than straight down. A sideways pointing plug will cause the oil to empty all over instead of into your receptacle. Once correctly positioned, loosen the plug entirely. Most of the oil should drain in about two minutes.
Oil Change Step 05: Loosening the oil filter
Look up into the engine and locate the oil filter, which should look like an inverted cone. Retrieve your oil filter wrench, remove the socket from the socket wrench and set it next to the drain plug. Slip the oil filter wrench onto your socket wrench (it's best to use a socket wrench with a short extension) and set it up to grab the filter in a counterclockwise motion. Tug on the filter slightly to loosen it. Again, caution is important because loosening the filter too quickly will spill out hot oil. Loosen a bit more using the wrench, and use your hands to remove it entirely. Make sure your face is clear of the area and pour the contents of the filter into the receptacle.
Oil Change Step 06: Removing the oil cap
Slide out from under your vehicle and open the hood. Locate the oil cap and remove it so that the oil can drain more quickly. If you have the time, wait an hour or so for all of the old oil to drain completely. This isn't necessary, but is a good practice if you're willing to wait.
Oil Change Step 07: Threading the new oil filter
Underneath your vehicle again, dip one gloved finger into the oil receptacle and coat the rubber edges of the new oil filter. This will help it adhere to the engine. With a clean rag, wipe off the round metal circle on the engine where the oil filter fits and put the new filter in place. By hand, tightening it should take about 1/2 or 3/4 of a turn. If it doesn't tighten simply fit the wrench back onto the filter and tighten it the same manner it was loosened, but this time tightening in a clockwise motion.
Oil Change Step 08: Re-attaching the drain plug
At Quick Change Oil, we recommend using a new sealing washer on the drain plug when performing your own oil change. If you must use the old one, be sure to clean it prior to use. Put the washer in place and thread the drain plug back into its hole. Tighten it up with the socket set, but not so tight that removal will be difficult for the next oil change.
Oil Change Step 09: Replacing the oil
Before pouring the new oil into the spout underneath the hood, pour the content of the old oil into your milk bottle using the funnel. Wipe the funnel clean and seal the milk carton with its lid. Place the old oil filter into your Ziploc bag and set both aside for later disposal at your nearest recycling center such as your nearest Quick Change Oil location. Now place your clean funnel over the oil spout underneath your hood and deposit as many quarts of oil as directed by your vehicle's manufacturer. Once the oil is emptied, replace the oil cap and close the hood.
Oil Change Step 10: Checking for leaks
Start your engine and let idle for 5 minutes. Make sure to look underneath your vehicle for oil leaks. If your vehicle is leaking, it's probably best to have it corrected by an oil change station.
Remember that safety is paramount. If you have a friend who will accompany you, it's best to perform your first oil change in the company of another person. Changing your own oil is a rewarding experience, but if you prefer to have it taken for you, make sure it's done right. Choose an oil change company that uses high quality Castrol synthetic motor oil, the best oil, engineered for extreme heat extreme cold, frequent stop and go driving, towing heavy loads, and high speed.
Tim LaGanke, Jr. is president of QuickChange Oil, a 10 minute oil change center, with locations across Cleveland, Ohio. QuickChange is currently seeking applicants interested in the oil change franchising business. Please contact LaGanke at for more information.