Changing engine oil is one of the most simple maintenance jobs you can do to keep the optimum life of your engine. Engine oil lubricates the moving part of an engine and prevents it from overheating and breakdown. An engine oil change will only take a couple of minutes, but will result in increasing the shelf life of your engine. Always remember, the cost of engine oil is very less compared to the cost of rebuilding an engine.
Here is our step by step guide to changing the engine oil on your car.
Things you will need –
- Owner’s Manual
- Oil Drain pan
- A socket wrench set and a hex wrench set
- New oil filter
- O ring
- Crush washer
- Recommended grade oil
- Cloth rags
Step 1 – Check the oil level on dipstick
The dipstick will tell you when is the right time to change the oil or top off engine oil in your car. Dipsticks come with a marking at the bottom end that will guide you to the current level of oil. Refer to the marking, if the oil is less than the maximum mark, you can just fill up until it reaches the maximum level. If the oil has turned completely black with particles and dirt, it is time you replace it with new engine oil.
Ideally you should change the engine oil on your car after 10,000 kms. However, it is recommended to change the oil after 7500 kms that will improve the life of the engine resulting in excellent performance and efficiency.
Step 2 – Let the engine run for 5 minutes
Oil tends to settle down when the engine is cold along with the dirt and metal particles. Turn on the engine for 4 – 5 minutes before draining the oil. This will heat up the oil and will drain out of the sump faster completely. Remember the turning on the engine also fills it up in the oil-ways. So turn off the engine and leave it to stand for another 5 – 10 minutes before you begin draining the oil.
Step 3 – Raise the car
If you plan to maintain your car yourself, we would suggest you invest in a hydraulic jack to help raise your car. It is very safe compared to the standard jack that comes along with the spare tyre. You could also use the standard jack to raise the side of the car closest to the sump plug. Make sure you have parked on a levelled surface before you begin lifting your car. Use the handbrake as well to make sure the car does not slip.
Step 4 – Drain the old oil
The sump plug needs to be removed to drain the old oil and is located under the engine. Modern cars also come with a sump guard more commonly known as the splash guard to protect the under body of the vehicle. If your car has one, you will first have to remove the sump guard to get to the sump plug. The sump plug would be warm by now because of the oil and is easier to locate that way.
Use the wrench to unscrew the sump plug. The oil will start to drain immediately once the plug is removed, therefore place the oil drain pan directly below the sump plug. It is always a good idea to first spread some newspapers in case the oil falls directly on the ground leaving a nasty stain. It is a good opportunity to clean the sump plug and change the crush washer on the sump plug to avoid leakage. Don’t forget to screw back the oil sump plug before filling up the new engine oil.
If getting under the car is too much of a task for you. You can also purchase an oil extractor that will pump and drain the oil from the top itself. Look for Pela650 oil extractor.
Step 5 – Remove the oil filter
The oil drainage will take a couple a minutes. Change the oil filter once drained. The oil filter is located near the engine itself and would be marked. It is always recommended to change your oil filter along with the oil.
The cap of the oil filter is very tight and will take a bit of effort to unscrew. You also get oil filter remover, a device that will provide the needed grip to unscrew the filter cap. You can also use sand paper to grip the cap and use muscle force to spin the cap. The oil filter is very messy and it is best to first cover the area with some plastic to avoid spillage. Remove the filter carefully and also clean the oil filter compartment with rags of cloth till the remainder of the old oil is removed.
Step 6 – Replace with new oil filter
The owner’s manual will tell you the oil filter details or you can ask the seller for the right filter for your car. You just need to replace the old oil filter with a new one. Change the gasket (O-ring) on the filter cap to avoid any kind of leakage. Dip the tip of your finger in the new oil and lubricate the gasket creating a good seal for the new filter. This will also make sure the gasket comes off the next time you replace it. If the older gasket gets stuck, use a screw driver to carefully scrape it off. Carefully screw back the oil filter cap and tighten again to avoid any leakage.
Step 7 – Add new oil
Now carefully open the sealant on the new oil that has been recommended by the owner’s manual for your vehicle. The oil cap will be located on top of the engine and will be marked with an oil can sign. Make sure no plastic or dirt or smaller particles enter the engine accidently when pouring the new oil. Use a funnel to pour the oil in order to not make any mess. The owner’s manual will also tell you the amount of oil needed for your car. Depending upon the requirement, keep checking the level of oil with the help of a dipstick, so that you don’t overfill, this also is not good for the engine. Close the oil cap when done.
You can choose from mineral, semi-synthetic and synthetic oil. There are plenty oil companies offering various types of oils, best ones being Castrol, Shell, Mobil 1 and so on.
Step 8 – Start the car
If you changed the oil, when your oil pressure light went up, you should check if it goes off after the change. Start the car and let it run idle for a few minutes, allowing the new oil to run across the engine, pipeline and the oil filter. This also a good time to check for leakages, while the car is running. If you have tightened everything, there shouldn’t be any. Make sure, there aren’t any leakages. If there are, turn off the car and tighten the same.
Step 9 – Reassemble all the tools
You need to crew back the sump guard on the under belly of the car. Reassemble all the tools that were used and put it back. You will also have 4 -5 litres of old oil in the oil pan. It is best to transfer it into a bottle that can be sealed to avoid spillage. The funnel will come in handy once again to avoid spillage. If you accidently spilled oil, during the process; make sure you wipe it off using the rags of cloth.
Step 10 – Dispose the old oil and give it to a local garage
Please do not drain the old oil into the sewer or drainage or put it at the nearest bush. It is an environmental disaster. Most local garages would take it from you. They can then use it for their purposes. It remains of no purpose to you as of now.
Changing the oil yourself will save you easily thousands of rupees that you would end up paying at a local garage or after sales service unit. You should also source the oil and the parts yourself and look out for good deals or places where they will charge you lower than the MRP. Over all you will end up saving a substantial amount on a yearly basis, with only having to devote a maximum of 30 minutes over the whole process.
Things to remember –
- Check your oil at least once a week.
- Changing your oil is a good opportunity for cleaning your air filter as well.
- Choose the best grade oil available or given in the manual, that you can purchase. It’s worth the investment for the long life of the motor.
- If you plan to DIY the change of oil, purchasing oil in large quantities like 7.5 litre or 10 litre cans will get you a good deal in the market.
- If unsure ask for assistance, especially when under the car for draining the oil.