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I have a confession to make. There is a task that every driver should learn how to do, but something I’ve never done. It’s an easy DIY task that can save you lots of money and helps keep your car in peak performance. Can you guess what I’m talking about?
If you guessed a DIY oil change (the picture kind of gives it away), you guessed right! I am a forty-something-year-old that has never ever learned how to change the oil in my car. Yikes, when I see those words, I can’t believe that I’ve never learned how to do such an easy and essential car maintenance task.
Lucky for me, my husband is very disciplined when it comes to changing the oil in his truck to keep it at peak performance. So when it was time for my husband to change the oil in his car, I asked him to teach me how to do it. And since we have kids old enough to drive, I decided it was important for them to learn too and took everyone to Walmart for the DIY Oil Change supplies.
Walmart had a lot of different oil brands to choose from, but we opted to purchase Pennzoil Platinum full synthetic motor oil. Why Pennzoil? A good quality oil is needed to lubricate the moving parts of an engine and absorb engine friction heat that can cause major engine troubles. Pennzoil is a high-quality oil that is specially designed to give your car engine complete protection. No other leading motor oil provides better protection from friction or keeps pistons up to 40% cleaner than industry standards. Plus, Pennzoil Platinum full synthetic motor oil is backed by a 10 year/300,000 mile lubrication limited warranty. Pretty impressive, right?! I think so.
Before we jump into the steps of changing the engine oil, I want to mention to please use standard safety procedures at all times. You should always refer to your owner’s manual before attempting to change your oil.
Step 1: Lift car
We did not have to use a car-jack to lift our truck, but you may need to use a car-jack to get under your car. If a car-jack/ramp is needed, please learn how to safely use these tools properly before proceeding to the next steps.*
*A link is provided in the video description below to show how to safely lift and support your vehicle. Click to view the video on Youtube to see the link.
Step 2: Drain oil
Once it is safe to get under your car, slide the oil collection pan under the oil pan to collect the old oil. Then, use a wrench to remove the oil pan plug and let the old oil drain into the oil collection pan. This part was a bit messy because the old oil splashed outside of the collection pan, so be careful of the collection pan placement and have rags/towels ready to clean up the mess. Replace the oil pan plug and tighten.
Step 3: Remove/Replace filter
Locate the oil filter and move the oil collection pan under it. Unscrew the oil filter and let the oil drain into the collection pan. If the filter is on too tight, use an oil-filter wrench to remove it. And if you’re wondering, my husband had the entire family as an audience.
Then, before screwing on the new oil filter, dip your finger in the old or new oil and rub it around the rubber seal of the new filter. Using engine oil on the filter seal is an important step that prevents it from sticking to the engine block.
Step 4: Refill oil
Now that the oil is all drained, open the hood of the car and remove the oil cap. Place a funnel in the opening and pour in the Pennzoil Platinum full synthetic oil. Make sure you refer to your car owner’s manual to find the correct amount of oil to place into the engine. Replace the oil cap.
Step 5: Check oil level
On level ground, check the oil level on the oil dip stick. The best time to check the engine oil is about 5 minutes after shutting off a fully warmed up engine or before starting an engine that has sat overnight.* The oil mark on the stick should be in the “safe” zone marked on the stick. Overfilling or underfilling can cause oil aeration or loss of oil pressure, which could damage the engine.
*Information from our car owner’s maunal.
Step 6: Dispose of Oil
NEVER dispose of the oil down the drain or in the trash. Most car part stores will properly dispose of old engine oil. We take our old oil to the local AutoZone store for disposal.
And that’s it! I can’t believe how easy it was to do a DIY oil change. I’m not sure how long it took to change the oil, but I’m pretty sure it was under 45 minutes. It probably would have taken my husband less time if he was alone and didn’t have to freeze for still photo shots – you’re welcome honey.
If you would like to keep your engine in peak performance and learn how to change your engine oil from an ASE Certified Master Technician, watch this video and scroll down for my DIY oil change supply checklist.
Printable DIY Oil Change Supply Checklist
Keep this in your car for quick reference when shopping for engine oil supplies. You can print this out and write down the number of quarts your car needs, type of oil you use, filter brand/size, and last oil change mileage. Click on the image to print.