It is important that you read over your vehicles owner manual. Here you will learn important information about things such as Location of Oil Dipstick, Location of Oil Filter, Proper Oil Type and Weight, How Much Oil Your Vehicle Takes, and other helpful information. If you do not have your vehicles manual, you can usually find this information from calling the dealership service department.
Things You Need Before You Start:
Oil- Check Owner's Manual for Correct Applications.
Once you have most of the above, like the socket set, drain pan, and extra plug gaskets, this list will seem much shorter and cheaper. The initial investment of everything is highly worth the price as you will save yourself a lot of vehicle problems by performing this simple 15 - 20 minute job. You will also save yourself about $80 a year by doing it yourself, as well as impress your friends and family!
You May Need:
If you are unable to comfortably fit under your car, you can either use car ramps or jack stands to lift the vehicle. NEVER work under a vehicle supported by only a jack, ALWAYS be safe!
Assuming you have everything you need from the list above and it has been around 3000+ miles since your last oil change, then you should be all set to continue on. Don't be intimidated, it's actually pretty simple and can be accomplished in just a few steps. The first time may take you 20 - 30 minutes but you will get faster the more you do it and can get it down to about 15 minutes.
It is good to warm up your vehicles engine to help with draining the oil, but you don't want it so hot that you will burn yourself when changing the oil. Take your vehicle for a small spin, maybe around the block. Find a LEVEL place to park where you can change your oil. Let your vehicle sit for a couple minutes allowing the oil to settle in your oil drain pan.
During this time, you can take some old newspaper and place it on the ground under your oil drain plug and under your oil filter. Also, place your oil catch pan under your oil drain plug.
Put your safety glasses on! This would be a good time for those who don't like to get dirty to put on those latex gloves.
With your vehicle safely in park and e-brake on (safely supported on stand or ramps if needed), "pop" your vehicles hood. Remove your Oil Cap and place it on your valve cover or aside (remember where you put it). Check you're Oil Level (if you're the curious type and like to know if you are burning or leaking oil).
Bring your socket set (or wrenches) with you and slide under the car far enough to comfortably reach your Oil Drain Plug. Find the right socket to fit the Oil Drain Plug. Once you have worked the Oil Drain Plug loose (it may be tight and require some force), SLOWLY remove it from the Oil Drain Pan (watch your hands) and allow dirty oil to collect in your Oil Catch Pan.
While dirty oil is draining (takes a couple minutes), this is a good time to locate and change the oil filter. Once you have located your oil filter, work it loose with your Oil Filter Pliers and finish removing it by hand (watch out for hot oil as it will drip). Make sure the Oil Filter Gasket has come off with the Oil Filter (VERY important).
Drain old oil filter into your oil catch pan and place it in a zip lock baggie or plastic bag. Before you replace the new Oil Filter, make sure you coat the Oil Filter Gasket with new or used oil. Spin the new oil filter on and tighten it as tight as you can with your hand. NEVER use a tool to put your oil filter on, you may damage or puncture the filter.
Your dirty oil should be drained by now. If it is not, give it more time. Once drained, take your Oil Drain Plug, wipe it clean with a rag, replace the gasket if needed and tighten it back into the Oil Drain Pan using your socket set or wrenches.
Take your Oil Catch Pan and drain it into some milk jugs or something similar to this that you can tightly close.
Fill your car with the proper amount of oil as stated in your manual (or you can call a dealership). It is very important that you do not overfill your vehicle with oil. This can cause a lot of problems with gaskets and such.
Once filled to specifications, replace your Oil Cap that you put aside. Get in your car, put your foot down on the brake pedal, start your car and allow it to run for a couple of minutes. While the car is running and SECURED in park with the e-brake on, look around at the Oil Filter and Oil Drain Plug to check for leaks.
Shut off the car, let it settle for a couple minutes and then check your oil level. If your oil level is low, you need to top it off to the safety mark. If your oil is over full, you need to drain some out and get it to the safety mark. If your oil is on the safety mark, you are all set!
CLEAN UP YOUR MESS!
You can take your dirty oil and old oil filter to most any fast lube place and they will dispose of them for you (usually FREE). This is also a good chance to take your vehicle out for a spin and double check your work. That's it! You have now finished changing your oil and have added more life to your vehicle.