A couple of years ago, one of my co-workers was complaining bitterly about the cost of calling a plumber to unplug his toilet. I asked if he owned a plunger or had ever used one and he said no. I asked why he didn’t run out and spend ten bucks to buy one and do it himself, to which he said “are you kidding? That’s gross, there is shit in there.” Ok, so let me get this right, you don’t want to plunge your own toilet, because it is gross and filled with your own bodily refuse and yet you complain that some guy charged you $100 to do nothing more than plunge a toilet? My response: “I would have charged you double, just to teach you a lesson!”
The circle of gents involved in the conversation went on to discuss. Of four guys in their Twenties, none of them knew how to use a plunger. None of them knew how to light a campfire or change a light fixture. None of these self proclaimed car guys had ever performed an oil change. Once upon a time, these simple tasks were sort of a right of passage. It was part of growing up. It would be an embarrassment to call a “professional” to solve a problem, not to mention a waste of hard earned money. It meant a Father had failed to do his job as a parent.
Obviously, the family dynamic has changed drastically over the years, but I maintain that my kids should know how to do this stuff. So when the folks at Purolator Filters asked me to put together a how to video and post, I jumped at the chance to make my 15 year old do his first oil change. He hates doing chores, but LOVES getting his hands dirty while learning a new mechanical task.
To start off, here is a written how to, with our little video below.
- Jack & jack stands – if you are a skinny guy with a tall truck, you might be able to do the job without these.
- Wrench to remove drain plug. Remember that traditional domestics usually require Imperial measurement while traditional imports will be Metric.
- Oil filter wrench – If it has been a while since your oil has been changed or you were at a hurry lube type of place, chances are you might need one to remove the filter. If not, you should be able to remove it by hand.
- Oil drain pan
- Clean shop rags
- Oil – check your car’s owner’s manual to verify what weight is specified for your model.
- Oil filter – use a premium brand filter like the ones sold by Purolator. A cheap filter can disintegrate and block your oil pump.
- Air filter – while you are under the hood, it is a great time to change your air filter. Purolator makes great air filters too and you will notice a difference a clean filter makes at the gas pump.
- Apply the parking brake and chock the rear wheels so your vehicle cannot move.
- Using your jack, positioned on a frame point (see your owner’s manual), lift the front of the vehicle high enough to insert stands under the vehicle. Lower vehicle on stands and then gently try to rock the vehicle to ensure it is steady on the stands. If there is even the slightest bit of motion, do not get under the vehicle. Re-position the stands and try again.
- Locate the oil drain plug on the bottom of the oil pan. Position the drain pan under the bolt, remembering that the oil will come out in an arc, rather than straight down. Remove drain plug with the correct sized wrench, being careful not to strip the head of the plug.
- While oil is draining, clean the plug with a cloth and inspect for cracked threads and damaged metal gasket. If you see either, then use a new drain plug and gasket. Re-install plug, being careful not to over-tighten it, which may damage the threads. Wipe clean.
- Move drain pan to underneath the oil filter and remove filter by loosening counter clockwise. Remember that filter will be full of oil and oil will also pour out from the engine side too. This can quickly become messy if you are not careful.
- Once oil has finished draining from filter mount, wipe area clean with a cloth and look to make sure there is no old filter gasket stuck on the engine. If there is, remove it and wipe clean.
- Lube rubber gasket on new filter with clean oil. This prevents the filter from fusing itself to the side of the engine. Life is not pretty when this happens.
- Spin filter on carefully until it is snug on the block. Once snug, give the filter another half to full turn by hand only. Never tighten it on with a filter wrench or you will regret it the next time you try to remove the filter.
- Carefully lift the vehicle off the jack stands and remove stands before gently lowering vehicle onto the ground.
- Pour fresh oil into the filler tube using a funnel, to the amount listed in the car’s owner’s manual.
- Check oil level using the dip stick.
- Start engine for about thirty seconds to allow oil pressure to build and then shut engine off.
- Inspect oil drain plug and filter to ensure there are no leaks.
- Check oil level again, remembering that some oil will remain in the filter after engine is started. If level is a bit low, then top it up a bit.
- Put your tools away and feel proud that you have now done your first oil change.
For the record, Purolator and Burst Media paid me to produce this how to, along with supplying a few filters. That being said, I am no newcomer to the brand, having used them in my first job as a lube jockey way back in the early Eighties. They sell great products that I still use today.