Your Life in Gear

The 8 Ridiculously Simple Steps to Changing Your Own Oil


Stop paying dudes to do this for you, because it’s way simpler than it may seem. But just in case you don’t believe us, we got the step-by-step instructions on how to change your oil from the pros at Valvoline. Read on and get ready to become incredibly familiar with your dipstick.


1. Get your tools together

You’ll need a jack, wheel ramps, or another secure way to raise the front end of your car, a new oil filter, a funnel, a container or other pan to collect oil drainage, an oil filter wrench, and the correct oil for your car. Now that you’re armed and ready to go, you've just got to figure out how to pop the hood. There's a button, right?

2. Read your manual  

Don’t worry, not whole thing. In addition to telling you how to pop the hood, you’re looking for a couple things: one, how many miles your carmaker recommends between oil changes, and two, what type of oil, from a conventional oil to a high-mileage synthetic, is recommended for your car, and in what amount.


3. Prep the car

You’ll want to start the car and let it run for five minutes in order to warm up the oil, which allows it to help flow freely when you’re draining it. Then park on a level surface, set the parking brake, and jack the vehicle. Raise the hood. Pump your fists a few times, cup your hand around one ear, and say “Are you ready for this??” to your garage wall.   

4. Replace the filter  

Find the engine’s oil pan and its drain plug, then place your empty catch pan underneath it. Unscrew the old oil filter, then let the excess oil drain out in your catch pan before setting it aside for recycling. Use a touch of your new oil to lube the new filter’s gasket ring, then screw it on.


5. Drain the old oil

Make sure your catch pan is still directly beneath the drain plug, then loosen its bolt and remove the plug. Let the oil drain out until it stops dripping. Careful! The oil might be hot. You could get burned. This is an important moment for you, but get a tattoo about it later! Replace the drain plug and tighten it up.


6. Add in the new oil  

Get under the hood, remove the oil cap, and insert a funnel (not the one from your kitchen.) Pour the recommended amount of oil in. Be smooth with the oils so it doesn’t bubble. Try to be smoother than your uncle nodding his head at a jazz brunch. So smooth.


7. Start your car up

Bring your car down from being jacked up, pick up all your tools, along with your beverage cans, and the underwear that’s likely been tossed at you by the adoring crowd. Start your car and let it idle. If you added the correct amount, the oil pressure gauge should go off quickly. Confirm you hit the proper oil level by checking the dipstick.

8. Clean yourself up

Your job is done, but if you want the feeling of accomplishment to linger, wash up a little but leave a few black stains on your tee-shirt, so you look like someone that knows his way around the garage and gets things done, has never eaten avocado toast in his life, and is a born master of machines -- a kind of mechanical horse whisperer, if you will.

Always consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for compatibility and warranty information.

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