Alberta & BC Rockies Vehicle Maintenance: Oils & Lubricants - Change Oil & Filters
Changing your oil and oil filter is one of the simplest (a dn most important) car-care operations you can perform, saving money in the process. Check your Owner's Manual for recommended frequency. Most vehicle manufacturers recommend oil replacement usually every 5,000 to 15,000 kilometres, or more frequently, if you are doing mostly stop and go driving. Some extended-life motor oils let you significantly extend time between oil changes. Even so, be sure to consult your car warranty requirements for compliance.
First of all, if oil gets on your hands or arms, it's not like acid. You may get dirty, but everything washes off with soap and water.
Here are the key steps to change your oil
- Buy motor oil at your auto parts store or gas station. If you buy 6 litres (quarts) at a time, you'll have enough oil for the change (5 is typical, heck your Owner's Manual) and have a spare for your trunk for top-ups. You should stick to one brand since mixing oils is not good for the engine. While you are at it, buy a replacement oil filter for your car, as recommended in the Owner's Manual, which you should replace at the same time.
- If you've never done an oil change before, you need to buy a decent oil container pan to put under the car to receive the oil. Don't use the old dishpan or bucket, since you need a close-able container, so that you can take the oil to an appropriate recycling location (don't dump it in the trash, on the ground, or into the sewer).
- Raise front of car and support it on jack stands unless working clearance under car is adequate. Never depend on your car jack while you under the car. Place pan beneath drain plug. Loosen plug with wrench, then remove plug by hand.
- Locate the oil fill cap on the engine (usually on the valve cover) (usually where you add oil to the engine). Remove it and set it aside. Locate the engine pan plug on the lowest part of the engine oil pan which lies right below the engine, and loosen it and then remove it completely..
- Let old oil drain into the drain pan. This may take a few minutes, so take a short break. Clean the drain plug (which may be magnetized to trap metal particles) and the washer with rags.
- Replace plug and washer as soon as the oil has drained. Start the plug by hand and tighten it as far as possible. When plug is seated, tighten it with a wrench until snug (you don't want to strip this thread!).
- The old filter must be loosened (counter-clockwise ) with a filter wrench. After loosening, it should be removed carefully by hand so that no oil is spilled. Let its oil drain into the oil drain pan, too. Lubricate the gasket of the new filter with clean engine oil, and thread the new filter on by hand. Follow the filter manufacturer's instructions for proper tightening procedures, typically an extra ¼ or 1/2 turn with the filter wrench. Remove your drained oil and its container for proper recycling.
- Put the car on the ground, so it no longer is in the UP position. Release the jack and remove the car from the jack stand.
- Find oil filler, add amount of oil given in Owner's Manual, typically 5 quarts. Cap the oil fill hole. If you pull the engine dipstick and check the oil level, you'll notice it reads one (US) quart high, because the new oil is still empty.
- Start engine a (the engine oil warning light might stay on for a few seconds.) and let it run for about 5 minutes to let the oil circulate. The new oil filter will fill, which drops the indicated oil levels to the correct point.
- Turn the engine off and check under the vehicle to make sure you are not leaking oil onto the pavement.
- Check with the local fire department or your local gas station for where you can deposit your old oil.