In most cases, an oil change requires only a few tools found at your neighborhood auto parts shop. While these items are quite common and simple, they can easily save you quite a bit of money in maintenance costs if you've decided to tend to the vehicle on your own. In this article, we will outline the items necessary to complete your own oil change.
Invest in a floor jack along with a couple of jack stands to allow you access underneath the vehicle. Grab yourself a catch pan to house the old oil while it drains and a box-wrench or ratchet/socket set to loosen the plug. An oil filter wrench will allow you to remove the filter.
It's always important to follow the manufacturer recommendation regarding your oil purchases. This information is usually found in the owner's manual or can be looked up at your local auto parts store. City libraries and the internet are also handy resources as well.
Additionally, you'll want to ensure you're choosing oil that has the correct weight for your local climate. An example would be that if your local climate varies between 100F down to 0F throughout the year, SAE 10W-30 would be a worthwhile choice. Lower temperatures call for something more along the lines of an SAE 5W-30 grade.
Another factor to consider is the mileage of the vehicle. When performing an oil change on higher mileage engines, you may want to go with something like a 15W-40 or 20W-50 grade, as clearance between various engine components will be larger than that found in a low mileage vehicle.
Getting To It
Once you've purchased or borrowed your tools and materials, the next logical step is to get the change underway. Start by parking your vehicle on a level surface and warming up the engine. This process works to break up any loose particles sealed at the bottom of the engine. Place the jack under the front of the vehicle and stabilize the rear wheels with a set of blocks.
Position the catch pan beneath the drain plug and slowly unscrew said plug using a wrench or ratchet or the first few turns. You'll want to finish removing the plug with your hands in order to avoid losing it in the catch pan and having to sift through it later. While everything is draining, grab your filter wrench and remove the filter. This will require a little time to drain as well.
Next, take your finger and dip it into the new oil. Lightly spread a small amount along the edge of the filter and place it in the correct spot. Add the new oil to the vehicle, checking the amount with the dipstick. Check your service manual to find out exactly how much is required. Once that's over with, it's a simple matter of cleaning up and checking for leaks.
Obviously, you can always pay someone to do this maintenance task for you. Many drivers opt to have this performed in a shop not out of personal ineptitude, but rather for the convenience of driving it into a shop and driving out within half an hour. Whatever route you end up taking, you can always take a little pride away from it knowing that you're contributing to the enhanced functionality and performance of your vehicle's core components.