Anyone who owns a car and runs their life under DIY ethics should change their own oil. I have no problem changing my oil, until it comes down to the brute force needed to complete the task.
I buy the oil at Wally World ’cause that corporation keeps more money in my pocket by undercutting the little guys. Bless Capitalism. I go for the top notch stuff, the synthetic. I buy the filter. I look in the guide if some slow douchebag isn’t already hogging it and find the one that fits the car I’m working on. I buy the best filter. The synthetic will be running thru the vehicle for at least 5,000 miles, so I make sure to get the a durable filter.
I change my oil in my parents’ driveway. The lease contract clearly states that it is prohibited to do vehicle maintenance on their property. I pull in, jack up the car and pop open the hood. Sometimes, I let it cool off for half an hour or so ’cause the oil’s hot. I get the socket wrench and the oil drain pan together. I find the socket that fits and remove the plug to let the oil drain into the pan. After it finishes, I pour a little bit of new oil to get some of the old stuff out.
Here’s the fun part, especially for cars I haven’t changed the oil on before and most likely have had their oil changed at a shop of some sort. Removing the oil filter can be an absolute pain. The best way I’ve found in removing an oil filter without using one of those tools that grasps the filter is to use a sturdy leather belt. I keep one in my parents’ garage.
I struggled with the filter on the car I was working on today, because I couldn’t find the belt. I strained my arm a bit, got frustrated and went in search for a belt. I found one of my sister’s belts, but it must have been cheap or poorly made ’cause it broke as I tried to remove the filter. I found the belt I’ve had the most success with in the garage eventually and loosened the filter with it.
My uncle and mother showed up while I was changing the oil. I thought the filter was stuck after giving it a huge tug with all of my might. My uncle went for the twist, and it had loosened up. Again, removing the oil filter is the most frustrating part of changing oil in a car.
After removing the filter, I grease the rubber ring on the side of the new filter that twists into place. This will make it easier to remove on the next oil change. I tighten the new filter on by hand… again, to make it easier to remove the next time. I put the plug back in place and hand-tighten it, too.
I pour some of the new oil in and take a look under the car to make sure nothing is spilling out. I pour in the rest and then check the dipstick. The level should be good. I take the car off of the jack, put the jack away and start up the car. I count down from ten, turn off the car and check the dipstick again.
Once everything is done, I put the tools away. I funnel the oil from the drain pan into the container the new oil came in and worry about dropping that off at an auto shop another day.
I do not take my car to auto shops for these reasons:
- They use air-powered tools which can crack your oil pan. This will cost you a good chunk of change to repair if this happens. It may not happen the first time, but over time of removing and replacing the plug can make the oil pan crack. The idiots that work in those places will tell you that oil is leaking, and you’ll know why.
- The oil they use in those twenty-dollar oil changes is the bottom-of-the-barrel generic stuff. It robs your car of horsepower. Plus, they use generic oil filters which along with the crappy oil will lead to deposits in your engine which will lead to a shorter life span of your vehicle.
- Putting synthetic oil in your car is the best thing you can do for your engine. Synthetic lasts longer ’cause it doesn’t break down as fast, maximizes your horsepower and prolongs the life of your engine. Newer, better cars are filled with synthetic oil by default. Bringing your car to an oil change place and having synthetic put in is highway robbery, and you can’t be sure if they’re really pouring synthetic in unless you watch them the entire time. You’ll save $$ doing it yourself.
- I like to know for an absolute fact that the work done on my car is done right, and as the saying goes, “If you want it done right, do it yourself.”
Don’t be lazy and change your own oil. Protect your investment.