How to service your car: Part 1

How to change your engine oil

Knowing how to service your own vehicle is a handy skill that can save you a lot of money in the long run. If you are properly prepared and not scared to get a little dirty, then servicing your own vehicle can actually be a lot of fun. This guide is going to show you how to prepare yourself, and what you will need in order to do your own successful oil change.


When attempting an oil change, always be prepared to get a little oil on your hands, so it would be best to wear old clothes or even an overall if you have. Depending on your car and engine, you might be required to lay underneath the car, so leave the fancy clothes and jewellery out of the equation. For those of you who are new to changing their oil, the process is fairly simple, and the tools that are required are minimal, so don’t stress about not having all the right equipment.


Before getting down and dirty, make sure that you have all your equipment ready for the job. You will need an old container or bucket which will be used to collect the old oil and a funnel so that you don’t spill any of the new oil. You will need a tool to remove the oil filter, sometimes if you’re lucky you can loosen it with your hands, but most of the time you will need an oil-filter wrench, depending on the size of the filter.


Make sure that you have the right replacement oil filter, the last thing that you want is to drain the oil out of your engine, only to be stuck with an oil filter that is too large or too small. It’s important that you have enough oil for the job, you don’t want to run out of oil half way during your oil change.

To prevent mess and oil stains try to put paper towels or old newspaper underneath the vehicle. Lastly you will need an adjustable wrench or the appropriate socket wrench which you will use to loosen the oil plug in order to drain the old oil. If you are not sure what type of oil or filter to buy, then check your car’s manual, most of the information will be provided.


Before starting the oil change, check the temperature of the engine, cold oil is thicker than warm oil and will take longer to drain, and if the engine is too hot then you might burn yourself while attempting to drain the oil. You might need to lift your car using your jack, depending on how low your vehicle is to the ground and whether you have enough space to move around.

Locate the oil plug underneath your vehicle, loosen it with the wrench, and then continue to loosen with your hand, make sure that your bucket is placed underneath the oil plug for the oil to drain into. Keep the oil plug in visible range so that you don’t forget to put it back on before you pour the new oil in.



Once the oil has drained, use your oil-filter wrench and remove your oil filter, after you have broken the seal you can continue to loosen it with your hands. Before inserting the new oil filter, put some clean oil on your fingers and lubricate the seal. Now that our new filter has been screwed in, we can put our oil plug back.



Now that all the dirty work is done, all that’s left is to add your new oil, don’t forget to use your funnel when pouring.


Always check your oil dipstick, to see that you have the correct amount of oil and start your engine to check that there are no leaks while your engine is running.


After you have completed these steps, you will have successfully changed your oil filter. Remember to dispose of your used motor oil in the correct manner instead of throwing it down the drain. Used motor oil can be recycled, cleaned and reused, so you could take it to an oil change facility or a recycling facility. Hopefully after doing this once or twice you will be able to service your own vehicle when the time comes.

If you’re looking to buy a used vehicle, then visit for good deals on cars and bikes in your area.

Struan Langlands

Digital Marketing Channel Co-ordinator @ Junk Mail Publishing. My family, work, cars and sport are the 4 things that I am most passionate about and motivate me. I am a full blooded Petrol Head and always ready for a sport debate. "The day you think there is no improvements to be made is a sad one for any player." ~Lionel Messi

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