The CarHub Guide to Oil Changes
Posted on May 4, 2021
How Do You Change the Oil in Your Car?
Do you know what the easiest thing in the world to do is? Well, it’s simple. It’s to bring your vehicle into CarHub to let a certified technician perform an oil change for you. We’ve talked in the past about the benefits that regular oil changes have on your vehicle. We’re big believers in regular car maintenance. Why wouldn’t you want your car to be a well-oiled machine?
We also believe in education here at CarHub and want to give you our car maintenance tips so we’re going to break down how to perform a car oil change. We want you to understand your driving machine. It will make you a better driver, it will lead to better vehicle maintenance and it will keep a high standard of vehicles on the road, which is better and safer for everybody.
Step 1: Know Your Car
The first thing that you’re going to want to do is familiarize yourself with your car’s owner's manual. Do you know what kind of oil your car takes? If the answer to that is no, no problem, your owner’s manual contains all of the answers.
Some other items to have on deck before you get started: an oil filter, an oil-filter wrench the proper size wrench for your oil drain plug and some latex gloves. This job can get messy, gloves are always a smart item to have on standby.
Step 2: Lift It Up
The first thing that you’re going to need to do to change the oil in your car is to get under it. You’ll need to find a way to lift the car high enough to accomplish your work. Assuming that you don’t have a fully functional garage at the ready, this will likely be accomplished with jack stands.
DISCLAIMER: This is where some safety hazards can come into play. NEVER work under a car that is not properly raised. This is one reason that we recommend bringing your vehicle to CarHub for your oil change. We have the facilities to do the job properly.
Step 3: Remove the Undertray
When you have the car properly lifted, you’ll need to remove the plastic undertray that most modern vehicles are equipped with to access the oil pan and the oil filter. Most undertrays are fastened with bolts that can be easily loosened with hand tools. Once the undertray is removed, check for oil leaks. If you find any, we recommend bringing your vehicle to a CarHub professional.
Step 4: Drain the Reservoir
Next, get a five-gallon drain pan or another receptacle ready and place it under the oil reservoir. Unplug the cap on the reservoir and let the oil drain. Be advised, there will be a lot of oil in there! Make sure your receptacle is read or you’ll have quite the mess on your hands. Allow the engine to drain until the oil slows to a trickle.
Next, locate your car’s oil filter. It’s a cylindrical item that is screwed onto the engine. Some engines allow the filter to clip in like a cartridge but the majority will be a screw. If you can unscrew it with your hand, do so. If not, use an oil filter wrench to latch onto the filter and turn it. This will cause a flow as well so make sure that you have a receptacle handy.
Make sure that you wipe the area free of any excess oil before you replace the oil filter with a new one. That way you’ll be able to see if there is any detritus in the way that may prevent your new oil filter from fitting into place properly.
Step 5: Replace the Plug and Filter
Next, replace the drain plug onto the oil reservoir and tighten it - not too much though, the optimal amount here is just snug. You don’t want to be in a situation of having to strip it when the next oil change comes around.
Before you replace your oil filter, apply a dab of oil to the rubber gasket at the top of it. This helps create a seal for the filter as you tighten it into place.
Step 6: Replace the Oil
Next, fill ‘er up! Replace the oil that you’ve drained using the aforementioned method, from the top of the engine, into the oil reservoir. You’ll know it by the cap that will have an oil can symbol on it.
Let the oil settle into the pan and then use the dipstick to check the levels, just as you would have in step one of this process. Check under the vehicle for any signs of leaks, before and after starting the vehicle.
How Often Should You Change the Oil in Your Car?
As per usual, consult your car’s owner's manual for specifics but the general rule is to change your oil every 5000kms. Make sure you keep a record of when your oil changes are so that you know when the next one should occur.
Can Low Oil Prevent a Car From Starting?
Your car’s engine consists of a series of moving parts. These parts are not able to move without proper lubrication. When the oil is low in your car’s engine, the components can seize. If they do, your car won’t start, and worse - it could lead to serious damage to your engine that could be irreparable. The moral of the story is to keep your engine well-oiled for the best results!
Low oil levels can cause the engine to seize, or not turn over. An engine seizing because of no oil often results in the engine being taken apart. Not only can low only levels cause a car to not start, but it can also damage the engine.
How do You Check the Oil in Your Car?
Make sure that your car is parked on level ground and that the engine is cold. Some automakers recommend that the engine be warm when it is checked but the main point here is that you don’t do it while the engine is hot, for the risk of burning yourself on hot components under the hood.
With the engine off, pop the hood and locate your car’s dipstick. Pull the dipstick out of the oil tank and wipe any excess oil off it. Then insert the dipstick back into the tube. When you pull it out again, look at both sides of the stick to see what level the oil is at. Some dipsticks label the levels differently than others. There will be either two pinholes, the words ‘low’ and ‘high’ or the words ‘min’ and ‘max’. You’re in the clear if the oil is anything other than below the minimum level.
It’s always best to keep your car well lubricated to keep it running to its full potential. Even a well-lubricated machine will need to swap out the old oil after a while though. That’s when the next step comes in - the oil change.
Let Us Take Care Of It!
There you have it! You’ve changed your oil. Now that you know how to do it, you may still choose to leave it to a professional though, for the sake of time and ease. If that’s the case, you can make an appointment today to have an oil change and general car service with a CarHub registered technician!