Change motor oil and filter to keep you engine running smoothly
An engine oil and filter change is necessary to keep your engine running
without internal damage. When mileage has been put on an
the oil inside becomes dirty due to carbon blow by from the pistons and small
metal particles which occur because of rotating and moving internal metal parts.
Changing your own oil ensures the quality of the oil installed back into the engine.
What Goes Wrong?
Dirty engine oil will wear and engine out because of the added friction the
internal parts will endure while the oil loses its viscosity. An oil filter is
used to remove impurities in the oil to help the oil stay clean longer. When an
oil filter is left on an engine too long it will plug and bypass allowing the
dirty oil to circulate inside the engine causing accelerated wear which will be
indicated by excessive
How Much Does it Cost?
There are two different kinds of oil change: conventional and synthetic which
vary greatly in price. This is due to the cost difference between conventional
oil and synthetic oil. If you were to take your car into the shop to have the
oil changed you can expect to pay between $35.00 and $45.00 for a conventional
oil change whereas synthetic oil changes will run between $75.00 and $85.00. If
you are doing the job yourself you can get Mobil1 (best synthetic oil) for about
$25.00 per 5 quarts and a factory oil filter for between $5.00 and $10.00.
Conventional oil will run about $11.00 per 5 quarts.
When Do I Change My Oil?
Oil change duration will vary depending on which type oil your engine has in
it. Most manufactures require synthetic motor oil which will last between 6 and
7 thousand miles whereas conventional engine oil will last between 3 and 4
thousand miles while still offering the engine a satisfactory level of
protection. If you do not know the last time the motor oil was changed remove
the dipstick and inspect the color of the oil. If it is dark brown or black it
is time to do an oil change.
Which Oil Should I Choose?
Choosing the right oil will mean the difference of having an engine last for
many miles or experiencing frequent and costly breakdowns. There are many
weights and qualities of motor oil which must be considered when choosing the
right oil for your car. Oil is graded by quality which will be rated as (API),
SJ, SL, SM, SN, CH-4, CI-4, CI-4 PLUS and CJ-4. The oil needed for your engine
will be mentioned on the oil fill cap on the valve cover in yellow or orange
lettering. It will also be listed in the cars owner’s manual. If you drive your
car in cold weather you will want lighter weight oils and when in hot weather a
heavier weight. In general you should stay with name brand oils and you will be
more about motor oil grades.
Watch the Video below which explains viscosity and oil weights and then
continue down the guide to see how to change your own motor oil and filter. At
the end of this guide there is a video of an oil change being done.
Let's Get Started!
You will need to
raise the car up with the floor jack and support it on jack stands. Wear
protective eyewear and gloves. It's best if the engine is warm but not hot
hood open before you begin.
1. Locate Engine Oil Drain Plug
The motor oil drain plug will be located at the lowest part of the engine
oil pan. You might need to remove a plastic shield or open a plastic door to
access the plug. Be careful not to get the transmission drain plug confused
with the engine oil drain plug.
2. Remove the Drain Plug
Use a 13mm, 14mm, 15mm or 16mm wrench or socket to loosen the oil drain
plug by turning it counterclockwise. This plug can be fairly tight so make sure
the wrench or socket is on squarely to minimize the chance of rounding the plug
While having an oil catch basin ready slowly start removing the drain plug by
hand. Once the plug is loose from the pan oil will begin the flow so be ready.
3. Drain Motor Oil
Once you feel the drain plug becoming loose from the pan quickly remove the plug.
The oil will drain out in a stream so you might need to quickly reposition the
oil drain pan. It's a good idea to have a shop towel handy to wipe up any oil
spills. It's best to drain the oil first before removing the oil filter. This
will help drain oil from the filter to minimize spillage in the removal process. The engine is vented so
you don't need to worry about removing the oil cap to allow air to enter the
engine while the oil is draining.
4. Reinstall Oil Drain Plug
Allow all of the engine oil to drain out. Use a shop towel to wipe any excess
oil and dirt from the oil drain plug area. This will help the drain plug seal
once it's reinstalled.
If the drain plug has as a metal sealing washer such as with Mercedes Benz or Honda cars
you should replace the washer with a new one to avoid
drain plug leaks.
Manufactures such as Chevy have a reusable drain plug seal that is rubber and
can be reused many times. Start the drain plug by hand to avoid cross threading.
Tighten to manufactures specification which is usually between 20 and
30 foot pounds of torque.
Use a shop towel to wipe clean the drain plug area. This will make it easier to see if the seal has a leak once the job is complete.
5. Remove Oil Filter
This step will vary depending on manufacturer. Some oil filters are incased
within a canister like in the example below while others have a metal casing
which is discarded along with the inner part of the filter. The oil filters
location will vary as well. This filter is located at the bottom of the engine
near the front but they can be near the rear or in the middle of the block. Some
are located upside down at the upper part of the engine under the hood. Canister style of filters
can require a special wrench to loosen the unit or a
large 22mm socket. In the image below we have improvised and used a large
channel lock which can be used on both style filters. They make a regular oil
filter wrench for metal filters which straps on the filter with a handle
used for leverage to loosen. Remove the filter or housing by rotating it counterclockwise.
The oil filter or filter housing will begin to come undone as you loosen the
filter or housing. Oil will begin the stream from the filter in some cases so
have your oil catch basin ready. In under hood style of filters the oil will be
drained from the filter when the pan is emptied which make the job much less
Here is what it looks like when the oil filter housing is removed while the
remainder of the oil is still dripping out. You can also see the O ring seal designed
to seal the housing to the oil filter adapter.
Remove the dirty oil filter from the filter housing by grasping the paper filter
and twisting it from the housing while pulling upward. This step will not be
necessary if the filter is a metal style of filter.
Compare the used oil filter to the new filter making sure size is the same.
On metal housing filters check internal thread size and sealing gasket size.
Quality of the oil filter will vary such is in the image below. You can see the new filter is
much higher quality than the old oil filter.
6. Install New Oil Filter
Clean the filter housing by using a clean shop towel and wipe the inside of the
housing free from dirty oil and grime. Push the new oil filter into the oil
filter housing firmly.
Remove the old sealing O ring from the housing to make way for the new seal.
This step is not needed for metal style of oil filters.
After using a shop towel to clean the housing and O ring gland install the new O ring seal and wipe clean.
Apply a small amount of engine oil to lubricate
the O ring seal which helps the installation of the oil filter. This step will
be needed for both styles of oil filter.
Make sure the old oil filter gasket is removed from the area before installing
the new filter. Install the oil filter assembly by tightening the housing. This
action should be done by hand. The final tighten should also be done by hand.
Use a shop towel to wipe down the area and any excess oil so it will be
easier to tell if there are leaks once the job is complete.
7. Refill the Motor Oil
At this point you are all done under the car so you can reinstall any plastic
covers you have removed while doing the job and lower it down off of the jack
and jack stands which make reaching the upper part of the engine easier. Locate
the engine oil fill cap and remove it. On the cap necessary recommended oil
weight will be mentioned. Grasp the oil filler cap and remove it by twisting it
counterclockwise. Use a shop towel to wipe up any oil that might be present. Be
sure not to knock any dirt into the engine and clean around the cap if necessary
Install an oil funnel to assist the motor oil installation to avoid spillage. Make sure the inside of the funnel
is free of dirt because you don't want added debris to enter the engine while
you are pouring the clean oil in.
All engines take a specific amount of oil but a good general rule of thumb is
to pour 4 quarts in and reinstall the oil cap and fire the engine up. Let
the engine run for about 2 minutes and then shut it off. Check the oil level using the dip
stick then add as needed. Most engines will take between 5 and 6 quarts but it's better
to be safe than having to drain excess oil from the engine to avoid blowing out
rear main seal.
Use a shop towel to catch any random drips of oil that may come from the funnel
while you are removing it from the valve cover.
Before reinstalling the oil filler cap inspect the O ring seal to make sure it
is intact and in good condition. This will help eliminate leaks once the cap
is reinstalled. Reinstall the cap by turning it clockwise and tighten it by hand.
8. Check Oil Level
Start the engine up and allow it to run for 2 minutes then shut the engine off.
This action fills the oil filter. Wait about 30 seconds for the oil to
completely drain into the oil pan and then locate the engine oil dip stick which
is identified by a yellow or orange handle. Pull the dip stick from the engine
and wipe clean. Then reinstall the dip stick fully and remove it slowly.
The engine oil level should be at the top full mark between the “add” and “full”
lines which represents a quart. Due to the clarity of new engine oil it can be
difficult to see it on the dip stick. In these cases use a flashlight to help
detect the oil level. Clean any excess oil spilled using carburetor cleaner
before starting the engine to avoid smoke when the engine heats up. When the
engine is running check under the car for any leaks that may have been caused
during the oil change.
Disposing of Dirty Oil and Filter
After the oil change is complete you will have a volume of dirty oil and a dirty
filter. These items must be returned to any auto parts store which will be glad
to take these hazards from you for no charge. This action will help to keep the
environment clean. Never dump waste oil down a drain or in waste cans.
Watch the Videos!
We have a set of videos that show all styles of oil changes such as upper and
lower canister and upper and lower metal oil filter changes. Here is one of our
mechanics changing the motor oil and filter. Enjoy the videos!
Lower Canister Paper Oil Filter Oil Change VideoUpper Canister Paper Oil Filter Oil Change VideoUpper Metal Canister Oil filter Change VideoLower Metal Filter Oil Change Video
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