As we have touched on in previous posts, the novel coronavirus is changing how we conduct business on a day-to-day basis. People are finding it difficult to perform normal tasks such as grocery shopping or car maintenance services to reduce their exposure to COVID-19.
Although you can’t accomplish specific tasks as you used to, you don’t have to ignore the maintenance needs your vehicle requires.
Routine car maintenance is vital in increasing the longevity of your car and boosting its performance. Furthermore, it allows you to reduce repair costs, saving you money in the long run.
Luckily, the internet provides you with various DIY videos and resources you can use to change your oil properly. But, it’s essential to understand that different vehicles have different maintenance needs because makes and models aren’t similar.
Here is a general guide that can walk you through easy steps on how to change your oil right at home with limited tools.
First, you need the right equipment to change your oil correctly. These include:
- Oil filter wrench
- Jack and jack stands (optional depending on ground clearance)
- Oil pan
- Wrench to remove the drain plug
- Wheel Chock Blocks
You’ll also need these materials:
- Oil – before heading over to your online auto parts store, consult your owner’s manual to identify the type and weight of oil your vehicle needs. Using any oil can damage your engine and affects your car’s performance.
- Oil filter – it’s wise to buy a filter that’s rated to go the distance recommended for your extended oil change intervals. For instance, for oil change intervals of 3000 miles, purchase a filter that is rated to go the same distance.
Steps for changing your oil
- Elevating the vehicle
Park your car on a flat surface on your driveway or your garage. Ensure the ground is level and that you have enough working areas on all sides. Apply the parking brake and let your vehicle sit idle for five to ten minutes. This allows the oil to cool to prevent scalding injuries when draining the oil.
Jack up your vehicle so that the front is about 18 inches above the ground. The jacking point should be beneath the chassis near the front of your car. You can also use steel ramps if you don’t have a jack.
Lastly, place a wheel chock block behind a rear wheel to keep your car in place. The last thing you want is for your vehicle to move while working on it.
- Draining the oil
Use your oil drain pan to hold the drained oil by placing it beneath the engine drain plug, which sits directly beneath the engine. Once the oil drain pan is at the center of the drain plug, unscrew the oil cap. This helps your oil to drain out quickly since there is airflow above and below it.
Next, unscrew the oil plug using a crescent wrench or a socket. When your bolt is fully unscrewed, pull it out quickly away from the opening to avoid getting oil on your arm. Allow the oil to drain out for two to three minutes before screwing back the oil plug.
- Replace the oil filter
Depending on your car’s engine, filters can be placed on the front, side, or back and can be black, white, or blue cylinders. Once you locate your filter, try removing it with your hands by rotating clockwise. You can also use a filter removal tool if you have one. Before replacement, rub some oil on the gasket to lubricate it and then screw in your new filter in place.
- Add new oil
Your oil cap should still be off and stored safely on the side. Pour in your oil into the engine fill hold, spilling as little liquid as possible. You can check your owner’s manual to identify how much oil your vehicle needs. Screw in the oil cap on the engine fill hold and ensure it is tight to prevent oil spillage.
Check under your vehicle to make sure no liquid is leaking as this contributes to a burning oil smell, making your interior smell awful.
Start your engine to check whether the “check oil pressure” light is on. If it’s on, it means there may be a leak, or there isn’t enough oil.
Tighten the drain plug and filter to eliminate any leaks and start your car again to get the pressure up.
That’s it! Once you change your oil a few times, you’ll become familiar with it, and it will take you less than 30 minutes to complete the job.