Change Your Oil

By Jack Cooper

Carfacts and CHANGING YOUR OIL……….

The first thing you should do is go to your local discount auto store or WalMart and purchase your oil and filter.

I would suggest getting a good synthetic or synthetic blend (I have used Castrol Syntec for many years) most good brands have them. Use a synthetic oil for newer vehicles under 40,000 miles and a blend over 40,000 miles.

These oils will help with saving your engine and saving fuel. Also purchase a good oil filter, one with a check valve in it to keep oil from running back into oil pan when engine is shut off. This will also help the life of your engine as there will be oil on critical parts when engine is restarted, Fram, AC and Purolator makes good ones.

With this purchase you have the best you can put in your engines oiling system. A typical engine will take 4-5 quarts of oil on a change, so it will cost you around $15.00-$20.00 depending on synthetic or blend oil. This is about the cost of a regular oil change at the Speedy Marts. They would charge $40.00-$50.00 for the synthetics and best filter. So now you have saved $20.00-$30.00 and you have the best you can put in your engine.

Think of your car as one of your children or grand children you want to keep it for a long time so don’t skimp on putting good products in it, it will pay off in the long run with less major breakdowns.

Engine repair or the new cars can run from $1,500.00 to around $7,000.00 depending on what you drive. From a Geo Metro to a big SUV or Diesel Pick-up.

O.K. now you have your oil and filter, time to get to work. Find a solid spot on the front or side of vehicle undercarriage (frame or engine cradle) put jack under vehicle and raise it up high enough to get your jack stands under it then let car down on stands and remove jack. Always, always be safe and use the jack stands whenever you are working under your car.

Your engine should be warm when changing your oil so that most of old oil will drain out.

Find the drain plug in the deep end of the oil pan, it will probably take a 1/2″ or 9/16″ standard closed end wrench, if metric should be a 13mm or 15mm closed end wrench.

Put your wrench on the plug and turn counter clockwise (make sure your drain pan is close) remove plug and let drain into pan. After all the old oil is drained, put the plug back in and tighten (clockwise) make sure this plug is TIGHT.

Then find your oil filter they are in several different places depending on your vehicle and engine, they are located on either one side of the engine or in the front of the engine (belt area).

Most filters are now small so get a small or adjustable filter wrench put it on filter (as close to top as possible) it also turns off counter clockwise after it is loose you can take wrench off and spin it off by hand. Have your drain pan under filter area to catch remaining oil.

Make sure the old filter rubber seal comes off with filter if not make sure you reach up and pull it off then wipe filter housing clean this makes for a good seal for the new filter. Then fill new filter with some new oil and put some oil around the rubber seal on new filter and spin it clockwise onto filter housing. Make sure it’s TIGHT.

Raise your car again and take out jack stands and let car back down.

Raise hood and find oil fill, most will be in the valve cover of the engine or a tube with a cap that says “OIL” on it, remove the cap and add remaining oil to engine (should be around 4 & 1/2 quarts, you put aprox. 1/2 quart in filter).

After all oil is put into the engine replace the oil cap and start engine, let it run for a couple of minutes while looking under vehicle to make sure you got everything tight and have no leaks.

If you are satisfied nothings leaking shut off engine and locate oil dipstick, pull it out then wipe it off clean and stick back into dipstick tube all the way in, then pull back out and make sure it’s close to the full mark.

If your oil checks o.k. you are almost done. Make sure you keep a log or put a sticker on windshield when next change is due. Then get an old empty milk jug or something like it and use a funnel and put your old oil in it, seal it tight and take it back to where you bought your oil and they will dispose of it for you.

This sounds like a lot of work but total time if you have never done it before should be less than a half hour. After you do it a few times it will take 10-15 minuets, and you will feel good knowing you actually done this yourself and that you saved money doing it.

More carfacts tips will be available on an on going basis here on the carfacts article pages. Also the carfacts newsletter will have numerous carfacts tips in every publication, and when my new carfacts book is published you will have a wealth of carfacts tips at your fingertips.

I will be adding additional articles on this and other Automotive subjects, so if you found this interesting and informative go to and click on the Article button bottom left to read more CarFacts and information. While you are at check out the other information there.

Jack Cooper is the owner of where he reveals several Automotive secrets that can save you money and inform you on a variety of Automotive topics.