Since high school, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my car. I think it’s because I still consider myself somewhat of a baby and it’s hard to “be” a baby while having to take care of other people or things, like a pet or a car. Aside from that, it becomes such a hassle taking your car into a male-infested place like a mechanics shop where they’ll either stare you down for all the goods your mama gave you or try to rip you of all your money for things your car really doesn’t need. But how are we supposed to know right?
So I made it my mission to learn the basics of keeping my car healthy by learning how to change my oil. All of the information below along with the listing of the necessary oil for you car can be found in the owner’s manual of your car. If you are unsure of what oil/filter to get, ask your local mechanic or employee at your nearest pepboys or autozone.
– jack (& jack stand)
– oil filter belt (or an oil filter wrench/pliers)
– oil pan
– wrench (make sure it’s the right size to the bolt under your car or get an adjustable one)
– old towels
STEP ONE: Before you start, make sure you’re wearing clothes you don’t mind getting dirty in. Also make sure to run the engine so it reached normal operating temperature (this will help get all the oil out more efficiently). When you’re ready, use your jack to lift up your car. When it reaches a height to where you can fit underneath the car, put a jack stand for added support.
STEP 2: Pop up your hood and locate the engine oil cap. Remove the oil cap and put to the side.
STEP 3: Time to get down and dirty. The easiest thing to do is put the oil pan right below the bolt & washer. Make sure the middle of the pan is unscrewed so it can absorb the used oil. Once you slide the oil pan to its proper location, shimmy your way under the car (I find it easiest to go closest to the driver’s side tire). With the wrench in one hand and a flashlight on the either, remove the oil drain bolt & washer from the bottom of the engine (careful not to get splashed from the oil!).
STEP 4: Locate the filter and unscrew it as well. If the filter is screwed on too tightly, use an oil filter belt. You can now come out from under the car.
STEP 5: While you wait for the oil to drain, take out the new oil filter from the box. Open the cap of the new oil and lightly dip your finger just enough to get a little oil to then smear on the rubber seal of the filter. Make sure to put as little as possible because you don’t want any oil dripping inside the filter.
STEP 6: When you no longer see oil leaking from the engine, reinstall the bolt & washer as well as the filter.
STEP 7: To make your own funnel to use for the oil, take an empty water bottle and cut it in half. You will then put it in the oil fill top of the engine.
STEP 8: Refill you engine with the recommended oil. Refer to your owner’s manual for the exact amount of oil needed for your engine. Once filled, replace the cap. Start your engine and let it run for a few minutes.
Inspect your work for any leaks under the car. Then turn off the engine, let it sit a bit and check the oil level. If needed, add more oil to bring the level to the upper mark of the dipstick.
You’re done! Don’t forget to recycle your used oil. Feel free to boast about your friends about your newly learned skill, don’t be surprised if people laugh at you though. We still apparently live in a society not used to women who can fix their cars.
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