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DIY: Basic Engine Oil Change

So you’ve owned your car from day one ever since it hatched out of the dealership and only just the other day it has fallen out of the manufacturer’s warranty period. Yipee! Now’s the time to take control of who flushes out your baby’s fluids. This means no more through the roof, wallet draining oil changes. To the backyard we go!

When you actually put some thought into it, most of those mandatory interval services start to add up over time, especially when there’s a massive markup on the oil and the oil filter itself. So why not give it a crack yourself? If you can fry an egg and change a tyre, then I’m sure changing the oil in your car would be just as easy. Not to mention you also have the added peace of mind knowing the quality of oil you’re putting into your precious ride.

DIY Oil Change 01

If this is your first time attempting it, find a mate that is experienced with this so he or she can look over you just incase you do something silly and mess up your backyard.

So here we go!

Things required for your oil change:

  • Engine oil of your choice that matches the manufacturer’s viscosity
  • Engine oil filter that suits your vehicle (aftermarket is more than acceptable)
  • Car jack (albeit the factory scissor jack is ok it might take days)
  • Jack stands or car ramps
  • Spanner set or socket set (each car will be slightly different)
  • Oil filter removal tool
  • Oil pan or similar
  • Newspaper (just for the odd spillage or drips)

DIY Oil Change 02

Oil Filter Removal Tool [Image: Supercheap Auto]
Oil Filter Removal Tool [Image: Supercheap Auto]

Step 1:
Warm up vehicle by taking it around the block to warm up the oil, try not to go around the corner and bake your tyres doing skids.

Step 2:
Park vehicle on a leveled surface and check handbrake is engaged and at its correct position.

Step 3:
Locate your car’s jacking points and begin to jack up the vehicle from the front. Once jacked up, place jackstands on your vehicles jack points (this can be found in the manual or alternatively on google). Remove jack if necessary and check that your vehicle is secure and resting correctly on the jack stands.

DIY Oil Change 03

Step 4:
Using the correct socket or spanner, locate and remove the sump plug. Make sure you already have the oil pan ready to collect the oil. For added protection, line the floor with newspaper. If this is your first time, be prepared to get oil all over your clothes and possibly your face too, goggles optional. Just remember to have a good grip on the sump bolt, nothing worse than dropping it into the oil pan (yes this has happened many times with the trak-life crew).

DIY Oil Change 04

DIY Oil Change 06

Step 5:
Whilst the engine oil is draining, proceed to removing the oil filter. Firstly try using your hands to remove it, if this isn’t showing signs of moving then proceed to using an oil filter removal tool.  Attach the oil filter removal tool to the oil filter and rotate anti-clockwise slowly. Do not apply great force or speed as this may damage the oil filter thread. Ensure the pan or newspaper is located below as it may start to drip and try to keep the filter bottom up when removed to stop oil from spilling everywhere.

DIY Oil Change 07

DIY Oil Change 08

Step 6:
Slightly fill the new oil filter and lubricate the o-ring with some fresh oil, then proceed to attach back onto your car (filling up the oil filter first will prevent oil starvation on the initial startup). Only hand tighten the oil filter, DO NOT USE THE OIL FILTER TOOL. If you overtighten with the tool, it will be nearly impossible to remove the oil filter next time.

DIY Oil Change 10

DIY Oil Change 09

Step 7:
Reattach sump bolt and wipe off any oil residue on the sump.

Step 8:
Remove jack stands and lower car.

Step 9:
Fill engine up with fresh oil, constantly check the dipstick if the correct amount is reached. Once the correct amount (each vehicle will vary, so check your manufacturer’s handbook) has been poured into the engine, close up the lid and start the car. Allow it to idle for about 1 to 2 minutes and then switch off. Check oil levels again and top up if required.

DIY Oil Change 13

DIY Oil Change 11

DIY Oil Change 14

That’s it, nothing too hard about it right? Your car will now purr smoothly again and that feeling of self satisfaction will stay for weeks. Tell us how you went or share with us your oil eating stories!

Next time,

Please dispose of motor oil accordingly.

About Johnny

A typical car nutter that likes to get his hands dirty. Skyline and Silvia fanatic not to mention trak-life's own personal tuner and mechanic. Doesn't mind sparing a few days at the gym to stay fit and definitely likes to eat to keep the balance right.

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