This is a guest post provided by my (Aaron) 17 year-old step-son, Haäkin – who is enrolled in auto tech classes at school, loves riding motocross and is a “Thrifty Guy in Training”.
Doing an oil change yourself is an easy way to save money. First off, you will want to have a set of common wrenches, an oil drain pan, elastic gloves, set of ratchets and a simple funnel (easiest way to create a cheap funnel is to cut off the top of a water bottle).
Next – of course – is the oil. Look at your vehicle's manual to see your if your car requires a certain kind. Usually it will be 5W-30.
After you get the oil, you'll need an oil filter. Again, check in your manual or ask a person at your local parts store what kind you should get.
Now that you have all the supplies, make sure your engine is not hot. It can be warm – but hot is bad. Also, stone cold is not good either.
You may need a floor jack to raise the car so you can get underneath it. Next, put your drain pan underneath the drain plug (fig 1), then unscrew the oil filler cap (fig 2). Use a wrench that fits the oil drain plug to loosen it. Do not unscrew it all the way! Loosen it until oil starts to come out. Let it drain into the pan for a few minutes, then unscrew the plug all the way (make sure you have gloves on). Let the oil get to a drizzle, then unscrew the oil filter (fig 3). It may take some force, so you may want to use an oil filter wrench.
They are easy to find at your local parts or hardware store – even WalMart.
Once your oil is at a slow drip, screw back on your oil drain plug. Make sure it is tight so it won't loosen, then take your new oil filter, dip your finger in your new oil and lube the outside (the part you screw on). Once on – put your funnel where the oil filler cap would be and start filling it up with all the oil!
Screw back on your oil filler cap then check your oil dipstick. If the oil goes to the safe mark, you're good – and you are done!
You should change your oil every 3000 – 4000 miles, depending on what the bottle of oil says. This whole job should take 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on your experience.
Do you change your own oil – or leave it to the mechanic?