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Single Mom DIY | Changing Your Car’s Oil

If the thought of changing the oil in your car freaks you out, then think again. It’s an easy job, and women are just as capable of completing the task as men. With the right tools and supplies, you can do the job quickly and keep from getting covered in oil during the process.

First Thing’s First

You’ll need the following items before you get started: four quarts of new oil, a new oil filter, a filter wrench, a socket wrench, a car jack, latex gloves, a rag, a creeper (work bench on wheels to slide under the car), a towel, the owner’s manual for your vehicle, and a drain pan. Your closest male friend should have many of these tools handy; if not, stop by your local auto shop.

Start by taking your car out for a five-minute trip around the neighborhood. This will heat up the oil in your vehicle, which makes it easier to drain from the oil pan. Once you get back home, make sure to park on a flat surface so that the car doesn’t slide when you lift it up with the car jack. When you find a good spot, use your car jack to lift the front of your car. If you’re unsure of where to place the car jack, your owner’s manual will tell you exactly where it should go under your car. You should raise your car to a point that gives you enough clearance to get underneath the engine.

Ready, Set…Go!

Now that you have the car raised, use your creeper to slide under the car. You can lay a towel on it to keep from getting dirty. Get underneath the engine along with your drain pan, socket wrench, new oil filter and filter wrench. You’ll want to start by positioning the drain pan under the oil pan to catch the old oil. Next, you’re going to use the socket wrench to unscrew the drain plug for the oil pan, and you’ll need to turn the socket wrench counter-clockwise.

Out with The Old

Make sure that you’re wearing a pair of latex gloves, because the oil will come out fast. Let the oil drain into the pan and wait for a couple of minutes for the rest of the oil to come out. Once all of the oil has drained, you can replace the drain plug and tighten it with your socket wrench. (If at any time you have trouble finding any parts mentioned in this article, just check your owner’s manual.)

Changing the Oil Filter

Now that you have the oil drained, you’ll need to replace the oil filter. The oil filter should be near the oil pan, and it has the shape of a can of soda. Using your filter wrench (make sure to ask for this when buying your supplies at the auto parts store), you can now remove the oil filter. Again, make sure to have your latex gloves on and have your oil pan in position to catch any dripping oil.

Now you’ll need to “prime” your new oil filter. While wearing the latex gloves, open a bottle of the new oil, and dip your finger into the bottle. Take your finger and rub the oil into the seal of the filter – the part that comes into contact with the engine. Once the new filter is ready, you just need to screw the filter in by hand.

In With the New

Now you can finally get out from under the engine and add the new oil to the car! Most cars need four quarts of oil, but check your owner’s manual just to be sure. Using a funnel, you can add each quart of oil to the engine. Wipe up any spilled oil or it will start burning off when you start the engine. There should be a cap with an oil symbol to indicate where the oil goes. After adding the four bottles of oil to your engine, wait a few minutes to make sure that there are no leaks, and then lower the car off of the jack.

At this point, you can now start your car and check your dashboard to make sure that everything’s fine. Make sure to dispose of the oil (search Google for locations in your area) and congratulations on a job well done!

[author][author_info]About the Author

Guest writer Stephen Patterson is a content contributor for online car insurance companies, which offer rate quotes from popular carriers such as USAA car insurance for military families.


This post was written by a guest writer for Prime Parents Club. We are not currently taking new guest writers.

1 Comment

  1. Margaret

    July 13, 2011 at 8:20 am

    This is awesome. Next time it’s time for an oil change, I may just give it a whirl…

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