Down N'Dirty: How to Change Your Oil

Down N'Dirty: How to Change Your Oil

At HP Motor Sports, our Katy automotive specialists love nothing more than to get dirty and unleash a car’s inner potential. With that being said, we understand that automotive maintenance is a completely foreign area for many people, with even basic fixes such as oil changes being intimidating for the average Joe. What many do not know, however, is that changing your vehicle’s oil is actually quite simple and can be performed with few tools and little to no automotive knowledge. With oil change shops charging more and more these days, doing some DIY maintenance is a great way to connect with your vehicle and save a considerable chunk of change throughout its lifespan.

Changing your oil involves the following basic steps:

  1. Check the type and amount of oil needed: Before you head out to the store to buy oil, check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to determine the type and amount of oil needed. Following your car manufacturer’s recommendations for oil viscosity is especially important, as using the wrong oil can result in engine damage, reduced performance, or even a “check engine” warning. Your owner’s manual will also let you know how often you need to change your oil.
  2. Gather supplies: In addition to oil, you will need an oil filter, an oil-filter removal wrench, a wrench to remove your vehicle’s drain plug, a funnel, a drain pan, plastic sheeting to protect against messes, and some rubber gloves. Since you will also likely need to raise your vehicle to gain access, you may also need a floor jack and safety stands. To protect yourself from injury, never use the flimsy jack supplied with your car!
  3. Prepare your vehicle: You will want your vehicle to be warm when you get started. If the engine is cold, start it and let it run for about 5 minutes. If it is hot, wait at least 30 minutes to protect yourself from potential burns.
  4. Drain the old oil: Now it is time to get started. On the top of the engine, you fill find a cap that says “oil.” Unscrew this cap, as it will help to quickly and completely drain the old oil. Next, locate the oil drain plug on the underside of your vehicle. This may be found on the bottom rear end of the engine sump or oil pan. Place the drain pan under the drain plug and use your wrench to turn the plug counterclockwise until it rotates freely. Remove the plug by hand and reposition the pan if necessary to catch all dripping oil.
  5. Remove the oil filter: Next, loosen the oil filter by turning it counterclockwise with your filter wrench. Finish removing it by hand while being careful not to touch the hot exhaust manifold. Since the filter may be filled with oil, drip its contents into the drain pan.
  6. Replace the oil filter: After wiping the filter seat on the engine, take the new filter and use your finger to apply a small bit of oil to the new gasket (the circular edge of the filter) to act as a sealant. Next, gently screw the new filter onto the threated oil line in a clockwise fashion and tighten it by hand. The filter should be mounted snugly, but do not overtighten. Use a rag to clean the copper gasket and oil plug and reinstall the drain plug. Again, do not overtighten.
  7. Add the new oil: Using a funnel, pour the recommended number of quarts of new oil into the filler hole on the top of the engine. Be careful not to spill, as spilled oil can cause your engine to stink or even ignite if spilled onto your vehicle’s exhaust system. Check with a dipstick to ensure you have filled it to the proper level and replace the filler cap.
  8. Start your engine: The last step is to start your engine. Your oil light should go out as soon as your engine is started, though if it does not, turn off your engine and re-check your oil level with a dipstick. Finally, check underneath for spills.
  9. Dispose of your used oil: The final and most important step to changing your oil is to safely and responsibly dispose of your used oil at an authorized recycler. Most auto part stores which sell motor oil will take your waste oil for free.

High-Performance Auto Specialists in Katy, TX

If you are looking to perform a slightly more complicated or performance-oriented modification to your vehicle, look no further than the team of professionals at HP Motor Sports. Backed by more than 20 years of experience, our Houston high performance automotive technicians can provide the premier-quality workmanship and service you need to achieve the vehicle of your dreams.

Call (281) 231-9950 or contact us online today to discuss your automotive needs in detail.


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