Whether you’re just sick of paying your mechanic to do it or you have recently adopted a DIY ethos, changing your oil at home doesn’t have to be either intimidating or difficult. Allow us to demystify this most basic of car maintenance rituals, one of the few you can still accomplish on modern vehicles regardless of whether you drive an old Packard Caribbean or a new F-150.
The first thing you’ll need to do is consult your owner’s manual and/or the web to find out what type of oil your vehicle calls for. Also note the level of viscosity, whether it’s a synthetic or not, and the total amount of oil your vehicle takes.
You’ll also want to determine how frequently you will want to be changing your oil. Since ranges can vary so widely based on your manufacturer’s recommendation, driving habits, and type of vehicle (anywhere from three to eight thousand miles), running time should be your key gauge, not total mileage. The more stop-and-go driving you do, the more often you’ll need to change your oil. Our advice, since you’re already saving on the cost of a mechanic, is to go ahead and splurge on the more frequent oil changes.
The next thing will be to visit your local auto parts store for the requisite supplies. These will include the following:
Additional optional supplies might include: a creeper, plastic gloves, an apron or coveralls, an oil filter wrench/tool, and wheel stops. Remember, depending on your vehicle’s height you may or may not need jack stands. Your old Ford Bronco should be fine without them, whereas accessing the oil pan on your Chevy Camaro might prove trickier.
Now that you’ve gathered your supplies and cleared your calendar (because if this is your first oil change, its best to leave yourself some time for troubleshooting), you’re now ready to get to business.
Any other at-home maintenance you want to see explained? Let us know in the comments!