Disclaimer. First thing’s first: be SAFE. This article is not all-inclusive of every safety measure you may need for a DIY oil change in your situation. It’s intended as a basicguide for the layperson when changing their engine oil. This article is for informational and illustration purposes, only. LifeTimeOil is not responsible for injuries. Your situation may vary, so please consult with a qualified mechanic if you aren’t certain.
The first step is to park your vehicle on a firm, well-packed, level surface and engage the parking/emergency brake. Start the car and let the engine run for a few minutes, then shut off the engine. The engine needs to be off before you drain the oil.
Place a set of wheel chocks behind the rear tires, then jack up your vehicle in accordance with your vehicle’s operating manual. All vehicles have jacking points which are reinforced. You must use these jack points or you risk damaging your vehicle, jack, and/or worse, injury or death. The vehicle manual will have a diagram (or photo) and description of your vehicle’s jacking points.
Next, place the set of jack stands, evenly, underneath the vehicle, and raise the jack stands to maintain the height of the vehicle. The best place for the jack stands is under the frame and never under an unsupported “soft” area or part. (Again, refer to your owner’s manual). Lower the jack just enough to allow the full weight of the car to rest on the jack stands. Open the hood, remove the oil fill cap, and set it aside. This will allow the oil to drain faster.
Place your tools, drain pan, and filter underneath the car near the front left wheel within easy reach. Put your safety glasses on and slide under the car from the front.
After locating the oil drain pan (consult your manual), select the correct-sized socket for the drain plug (nut) on the oil pan. Loosen the drain plug about ¼” and then place the oil collection container under the drain plug. The oil will be warm or hot, so use cautionwhile removing the drain plug the rest of the way. Let the oil drain completely, then replace the drain plug using the socket wrench. Use very firm arm pressure, but don’t over-tighten. Do not use any pneumatics (air tools) to secure the plug. Over-tightening the drain plug will damage it.
Locate the old filter and slide the collection pan under it. It may be located at an odd angle. Using the oil filter wrench and socket wrench, loosen the old oil filter and remove it. The filter will be full of old oil, so be prepared for some spillage and have some rags handy.
Using new oil, lubricate the gasket of the new oil filter with your finger. This allows the new filter to get a good seal. Evenly thread the new filter on the mounting from where you removed the old filter. If you can’t reach it with your hand, it may be necessary to use the socket extension. Hand-tighten the new filter and then using the oil filter wrench, give an additional quarter-turn. Again, be careful not to over-tighten the oil filter.
Once you have cleaned up tools, rags, and any other debris from beneath the car, carefully use the jack to raise your vehicle off of the jack stands. Remove the jack stands, then slowly lower the car via the jack.
Once your car is back on the level ground, refill the engine with the correct type and quantity of high-quality oil. Replace the fill cap, then confirm your oil level using the dipstick.
In addition to practicing good safety habits of your DIY Oil Change, be environmentally responsible. Properly dispose of the used oil at a service center or automotive store that accepts used oil. Congratulations! You’ve completed your first oil change!