How Do I Change My Oil?

How do I change my oil? What do I need to know about my vehicle's oil? How often should I be changing my oil? We hear these and other oil related questions a lot. We want to make the oil change process an easy one for you!


An oil change is something every car owner has to contend with, but there is a great debate about how often oil should be changed. How do you know what is best for your vehicle? It is recommended that a vehicle’s oil be changed every 3,000 to 7,500 miles, depending on driving styles and conditions. There are a number of factors to consider when deciding how often is right for your vehicle. Regardless of how often your vehicle will require an oil change, the basic process remains the same.


The experts at Car Pros Kia Tacoma are here to walk you through some oil change basics! Before beginning the process of an oil change, there are a few tips that will make this process easier.


  • Using purpose-made steel ramps or safety stands is one way of making sure your oil change goes smoothly.

  • When purchasing your oil filter, ask if you’ll need a new drain plug and washer as sometimes they are included while in other instances they are purchased separately if required at all.

  • Buy smaller quarts of oil rather than big, value jugs. While the smaller jugs may cost a bit more, it will make the oil easier to pour.

  • Have an oil pan with a screw-on lid and pour spout for easier transportation and recycling of old oil.

  • If you find yourself without a funnel, an old plastic water bottle with the bottom cut off and lid removed makes for a cheap and easy substitute.

  • When changing your oil, it is best to work on the vehicle while the engine is still warm, but not hot. Working on it while it is completely cold is not ideal either.


Changing your own oil can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how comfortable and familiar you are with what you are doing. Prior to purchasing items for your vehicle, consult your owner’s manual to find out the proper oil viscosity or weight for your vehicle and whether you will need synthetic or non-synthetic oil. It is also important to know which oil filter your vehicle requires. Finding these facts out in advance will save you a headache later. Having the proper tools assembled before you begin work is also vital to having your oil change go well.


Once you have the correct materials, it is time to start changing your oil.


Step 1:


Use a jack to Put the vehicle up on the safety stands to stabilize it. Alternatively, use steel ramps and make sure the vehicle is secure. Once the vehicle is up, remove undercover if necessary. Many undercovers have built-in, labeled access hatches. If this is not the case, most undercovers are held in place with a few clips, making it easy to remove and reinstall.


Step 2:


Locate the oil filter and drain plug. Most vehicles have bottom-mount screw-on filters. Be prepared to have to reposition the drain pan between draining the oil and changing the filter, as both leak oil and can make a mess.


Step 3:


When placing the oil pan beneath the drain plug, keep in mind that the drain plug often releases oil at an angle. Offsetting your oil pan placement by a few inches can prevent oil splatter and a big mess. If outdoors, do not forget to factor in the wind. Put on your latex gloves and remove the oil filter cap before draining. This usually makes the oil flow out more smoothly and quickly.


Step 4:


Remove the drain plug with a wrench. Remove this slowly, attempting to keep your hand out of the path of the expected stream of oil. As the oil drains, clean the plug and apply the new washer over the plug if needed. Some plugs no longer require washers. If a washer is required, be sure to check the engine oil pan after the oil has finished draining to ensure the old washer is not stuck to the pan.


Step 5:


Put the drain plug back in and tighten. Adjust your oil pan to begin work on the filter.


Step 6:


Remove the oil filter. Use the filter wrench to loosen, but only loosen enough to be able to unscrew by hand. Once it is free, complete removal by hand. This step does get messy, but will be worse if you rely too much on the tools, which allows the oil to come out faster and also allows for the potential of lost control over the filter, allowing it to fall into the oil pan and splatter everywhere. Have rags at the ready to clean your arms after removing the filter. Once it is removed, use rags to also clean away as much oil as possible from the filter site. Check for old O-rings which have become stuck. Remove any if you find them. Smear some oil on the O-ring of the new filter.


Step 7:


Remove your latex gloves at this point and install the new filter. Gently guide the filter until you feel the O-ring make contact with the sealing surface. At this point, it should only be turned ¾ to 1 full turn to be properly tightened. Do not use a wrench to tighten beyond how far you can turn it by hand unless your hands are too oily to position the filter properly.


Step 8:


After the drain bolt and filter are in place, add oil. It is best to add about 1 quart less than what is recommended at this point. Use the funnel for a smooth pour. Replace the oil cap and start the engine for 30 seconds, after which you should check for leaks. Once you have verified that everything appears to be installed properly, take the vehicle off of the jack stands or ramps.


Step 9:


Once the vehicle is flat on the ground, check the oil level and add oil as needed. At this point you have successfully changed the vehicle’s oil. When it comes to disposal of old oil, most places that sell oil will take old oil at no charge, or check for local municipality hazardous waste drop offs.


Have questions about your vehicle's oil, how to do an oil change, or any other auto service things? The experts at Car Pros Kia Tacoma are here to help! Give us a call or stop by our dealership. We're a short trip from Lakwood and Federal Way!


Categories: Service
Tags: oil change

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