How To Change Motor Oil

Dawson Barnard

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Turning 16 and getting your driver’s license is one of the highlights of many students’ highschool careers.  Getting your license and your own vehicle comes with many responsibilities.  A major one is vehicle maintenance. With an average oil change cost ranging from $30 at the cheapest for conventional oil to over $100 at the most for full synthetics, it makes you wonder if it can be done cheaper.


There are many advantages that come with changing your oil yourself.  It’s rewarding to know you have the ability to change your oil.  You also can be sure the job was done right, instead of just blindly trusting a car shop.  Most importantly, you will save a lot of money by doing personal oil changes.


The first step in being able to change your oil is figuring out what weight of oil you need for your vehicle and how much of it you need.  You can usually find the weight and quantity of oil needed for your vehicle in the owner’s manual.  When changing your oil, you will also want to change your oil filter.  The easiest way to figure out what filter you need is to go to the Autozone, Napa, or O’Reilly’s website, put in your vehicle information, and search for oil filters.


After determining the weight of oil needed, you have to decide if you want conventional, synthetic blend, or full synthetic oil.  All of them have advantages and disadvantages.  Conventional oil is the cheapest, but it lasts the shortest amount of time before needing to be changed again.  Full synthetic oil will last the longest and provide the best protection for your motor, but it is the most expensive.  Synthetic blend falls somewhere between synthetic and conventional.  It will last longer and be more expensive than conventional oil, but it will be cheaper and not last as long as full synthetic oil.


Once you have your new oil and new filter, the next step is draining the old oil.  With a jack and jack stands or ramps, raise the front end of your vehicle and locate the drain plug.  Place an oil drain pan under the plug, and then remove the plug, allowing all the old oil to drain from the vehicle.  Once all the old oil has drained, replace the plug, and then unscrew the old filter.  Hand tighten the new one.  Old oil can typically be disposed of wherever you bought the new oil.

Now that the old oil has been drained, you can lower your vehicle back down and add the new oil.  Pop the hood, find the oil fill cap, remove it, and pour the new oil in the motor.  Once you’ve added the new oil, put the fill cap back in place.  Next, start the vehicle, let it warm to operating temperature, and check the oil to make sure you added enough.  Finally, look under the vehicle and check for leaks around the drain plug  If there are no leaks, you’ve successfully changed the oil in your vehicle, know the job was done right, and most importantly, saved money.

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