One of the most important things you can do to keep your car on the road is to change the engine oil and oil filter regularly. The quality of the oil gradually deteriorates and the filter becomes increasingly clogged. Depending on your driving style and type of car, you should change the oil after 3 months or 5,000 kilometers until after 24 months or 30,000 kilometers (see the manual for the maintenance schedule). Fortunately, an oil change is not difficult and not expensive. In this article you can read how to do it.
Part 1 of 4: Draining the oil
Step 1. Elevate your car
Use a jack and car mounts. Park your car on a flat surface, apply the handbrake and jack up your car. Place car mounts in the right places. Look in the user manual where you should place the jack and supports. You should never get under a car that has only been jacked up, you should always use props before getting under it.
Step 2. Let the engine warm up for a while to warm the oil slightly
2 or 3 minutes of idling should be enough to thin the oil slightly to allow it to flow out more easily. Dirt always sinks down when the oil cools, by warming the oil everything is mixed well and you can more easily remove pieces of dirt.
- Gather all the necessary tools and materials while the car is idling. You will need new oil, a new oil filter, a container to collect the old oil, old newspapers, a socket wrench and a flashlight. See the user manual for more information about the type of oil and oil filter.
- If you can't find it, you can ask what type of oil and oil filter you need at a store that sells auto parts.
Step 3. Remove the oil cap
Before you drain the old oil, first open the oil cap on top of the engine block, that is the place where you will add new oil later. This will make it easier for the oil to drain out later.
Step 4. Find the oil pan
Look under your car for a metal container, closer to the engine than the gearbox. At the bottom is a plug, which is the drain plug where the oil will come out. Keep some newspapers or cloths where you drain the oil, because sometimes the oil doesn't flow straight down, but at an angle.
If you can't distinguish the oil pan from the gearbox, you can let the car run for 5 to 10 minutes. The oil pan will get hot, the gearbox won't
Step 5. Remove the drain plug
Loosen the drain plug counterclockwise with an appropriate sized spanner or socket. The gasket or felt ring will also need to be replaced, so remove it.
- The oil comes out of the oil pan right away when you do this, and often at an angle, so it's not always easy to catch the oil. After you have loosened the plug with a wrench, you can unscrew the plug further by hand. Make sure you place a container and newspapers in the right place first. Make sure that the plug does not fall into the oil, it is often difficult to find it in the black stuff. If you do drop the plug in, you can use a magnet to fish the plug out.
- Another way to catch the plug: make a colander with some mosquito netting, then the plug will hang in there. Then you can remove the colander and let the rest of the oil drain out.
- If loosening is difficult, you can create leverage by extending the wrench with a piece of pipe. In that case, the plug was tightened way too well
- You will likely get oil on your hands and clothes if you do this. Putting down old newspapers is a good precaution, otherwise oil stains will form on your garage floor or driveway.
Step 6. Wait
It will take a few minutes for all the oil to drain from the oil pan. When no more oil flows out, screw the drain plug back into the oil pan. Tighten the plug by hand first and then do the last bit with a wrench. Do not forget to fit a new gasket or washer.
While you're at it, immediately see where the oil filter is, because now we're going to replace the oil filter
Part 2 of 4: Replacing the oil filter
Step 1. Find the oil filter
This can be tricky as they can be on the front, side or back of the block. Look at the replacement filter you bought to find out what you're looking for. Usually it is a white, blue or black cylinder, it looks a bit like a gas bottle that you probably know from camping.
Some cars (such as BMW, Mercedes and newer Volvos) have a filter element (cartridge) instead of a screw filter. You have to open the lid of a reservoir and remove the cartridge
Step 2. Remove the filter when you find it
This can be tricky. Once you have a good grip it can help to turn slowly and firmly, then you often get it loose. If it really doesn't come off, you can use oil filter pliers.
- There is oil in the filter, so be careful not to spill, put a container under the filter to catch any spilled oil.
- Make sure you also remove the rubber gasket that is under the filter. If you don't remove that, the new filter will not close properly and will leak.
- To prevent spilling oil, you can tie a plastic bag around the filter, so that the oil will be collected when you remove the filter. drain the filter upside down in the bag as you go along.
Step 3. Prepare the new filter
Remove the packaging from the new filter, dip your finger in the new oil and lubricate the gasket of the new filter with it. Do not use old oil, because then it will leak sooner.
It may be a good idea to pour some oil into the filter before installing it. This can cause your car to get up to pressure faster. If the filter is mounted vertically, you can often fill it all the way to the top. If the filter is angled you will waste some oil, but that's not a big deal
Step 4. Carefully screw the new, oiled filter into place, making sure the threads are snug, do not twist on it
The manual should state how tight it should be tightened from the moment the gasket is touched. Usually that is 2/3 or 1/4 turn, but it can be more.
Part 3 of 4: Adding new oil
Step 1. Add the new oil into the fill hole on top of the engine block
The amount of oil is stated in the user manual.
- If you hold the bottle as shown in the picture, with the pouring spout on, it will pour more easily, without air bubbles.
- Make sure you have the right type of oil. You can safely use 10W-30 motor oil on most cars, but always check the user manual first.
- Do not always rely on the dipstick, especially if the engine has just been running (the dipstick will indicate too little). If you want to get an accurate reading with the dipstick you should check it in the morning, so with a cold engine.
Step 2. Screw the filler cap back on
Make sure you haven't forgotten any tools and close the hood.
Wipe up spilled oil immediately. It is not dangerous if some oil is spilled, but it can start to smoke as the engine warms up. There can be a burning smell, and it will not smell good in your car
Step 3. Start the engine
See if the oil pressure light goes out after starting and look under the car while the car is running (apply the parking brake first) to find any leaks. The filter or drain plug may not be tight enough. Watch it for a few minutes.
Step 4. Reset the oil change light
If an oil change warning light is on, you can reset it. Read the user manual for more information.
Part 4 of 4: Draining the oil
Step 1. Put the oil in a sealable container
Now it is time to transfer the oil to a jerry can or container that you can close tightly. For example, you can use the jerry can that contained the new oil. Use a plastic funnel to avoid spilling. Write clearly on the bottle "Old oil" or something similar so that you are not mistaken.
- You can also use large plastic bottles. If you use something that had food in it, remember to write down that it contains old oil.
- Never put old oil in bottles that have had chemicals such as bleach, pesticides or antifreeze. That way you can't separate it properly.
Step 2. Drain your old oil filter well
Add this oil to the remaining old oil. Filters must also be separated, they cannot be placed in the residual waste.
Step 3. Find a place where you can hand in the old oil and oil filter
You can go to your municipal waste point, but you can also inquire at a garage.
Step 4. Try recycled oil next time
Using an advanced purification technology, used engine oil can be cleaned for new use. This costs less energy than pumping up new oil and is often cheaper.
- If you can't get the filter off you can use a hammer and screwdriver like a chisel to turn the filter counterclockwise. But watch out: if you punch a hole in the filter, you can't start the engine until you've replaced the filter.
- In order not to pollute the environment, it is a good idea to keep an environmentally friendly oil absorbent on hand. Grit or clay-based products are not suitable for this. You can find many environmentally friendly resources on the internet. They are very absorbent, easy to use and biodegradable.
- To avoid getting oil all over your arm when you remove the drain plug, it's helpful to keep applying upward pressure while loosening until you know you've unscrewed the plug completely. Then you quickly pull the plug towards you, you should now only get a few drops of oil on your hand. Put a cloth around your wrist when you remove the plug.
- There are oil faucets on the market that can replace your faucet plug. That makes changing the oil a lot easier and it causes less mess.
- You can also use disposable gloves, but don't use latex as it dissolves in oil. Nitil rubber is a better option.
- Be careful not to accidentally pour engine oil into the gearbox oil opening. This can seriously damage your gearbox.
- Be careful not to burn yourself. Your engine, oil and other parts of the car can stay hot for a long time, hot enough to cause severe burns.