How to change your oil

Changing oil on your car or 4×4 is something we are all very familiar with. Every 3000 to 5000 miles oil needs to be replaced to help keep engine components clean and lubricate all moving parts for a smooth ride.  If you’re confident with performing 4×4 service on your vehicle and don’t want to bring it in to a 4×4 mechanic changing your oil yourself will save you some money.

Truck BumperWhat you need:

  • Wrench to remove the drain plug (find which size is needed for your car)
  • Wrench for the oil filter
  • Oil drain pan
  • Funnel
  • Latex gloves
  • Jack and jack stands
  • Oil
  • New oil filter

First, consult your owner’s manual to see how much oil you will need, and what type. On average, most automobiles will take 5 quarts and require 5W-30 oil. Any motors that have a naturally aspirated engine will take conventional oil fine, and motors that are supercharged or have a turbocharger will need full-synthetic.

Before starting, the oil already in your vehicle should be slightly warm, so make sure you change your oil shortly after your car has been turned off. If you need to raise the vehicle for better access, get a pair of reliable jack stands and a jack. Make sure to find the proper jack points on the frame so you don’t cause any damage to the car.

Next, you want to locate the oil drain plug on the underside of the vehicle.  Sometimes the plug may be hidden by a skid plate or underbody covers, so make sure you are prepared with the appropriate tools if needed. On most cars, the filter is a screw-on filter that you can access from the bottom and can easily be removed. Position your oil drain pan underneath the oil drain plug you’re ready to begin.

Mountain RoadAt this point it’s time to drain the oil out of the motor. Open the hood of your vehicle and remove the oil filler cap. This will allow for the oil to come out quicker and smoother. With your latex gloves on, remove the oil drain plug with your wrench with the appropriate sized bit. Once the bolt is loose, slowly remove the plug and keep your hands away from the expected path of the oil. Keep in mind that the oil will spill out at an angle and will be warm.

Once all of the oil has drained out, clean the oil drain plug and inspect it to see if the washer needs to be replaced. Some have permanent O-rings which in that case you don’t need to take any further steps, but if the washer is replaceable and has corroded or ripped then put a new one on. Tighten the oil drain plug back on, and you’re ready for the next step.

Next it’s time to remove the oil filter. Find the appropriate bit size on your wrench to loosen the filter and once it’s loose remove the filter by hand. At this point, more oil will spill out so make sure to reposition your oil catch pan. After all the oil has drained, take a rag to clean away as much of the oil still left on the car and remove the old filter’s O-ring that may be stuck on the surface.

The final step is to add the new oil into the motor. Take the new oil filter and spread a dab of oil on the filter’s O-ring and then install it onto the car. Spin the filter on gently until the O-ring makes first contact with the sealing surface, and then make about a full turn on the filter beyond the point where the O-ring first contacts this surface. You don’t want to over-tighten it as you can ruin the filter.

Once the oil drain plug and filter are both in place and properly tightened, you can now add the new oil. Use either a water bottle or funnel to help create a clean pour and prevent oil from going all over the place. After adding the appropriate amount, replace the oil cap and start the engine. After running the motor for a couple minutes to properly circulate the oil, shut it down and check the work area underneath the car for leaks. It’s recommended that you check the oil level afterwards by looking at your dip-stick to see if you need to add a little more oil.

So that’s it – you’re done! Make sure you dispose of your oil properly at your local offroad shop or auto service center.

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