Save your engine,
and some money
By Tom Beaman
WITHOUT REGULARLY REPLACING the
oil that cools, cleans and protects your engine,
you risk incurring a very unpleasant repair bill.
But have you ever considered doing it yourself?
The thought may be daunting, but with some
preparation, tools, materials and modest technical ability you can get the job done.
“Changing your own oil costs less, you
can do it on your own timetable and there’s
the benefit of being more in tune with your
car because you’re taking care of it yourself,”
says Costco member Dan Edmunds, director of vehicle testing at online automotive
Edmunds says a DIY oil change requires
a number of items. You’ll need a set of ramps
or a floor jack and two jack stands, a combination wrench (the kind with an open end
and a closed end) or a 14 mm to 17 mm
socket wrench, a strap wrench to loosen the
filter, an oil catch pan, plastic sheeting, a funnel, latex gloves, shop rags, wooden blocks, a
marker and, most important, the correct
amount and type of oil and filter as defined by
the vehicle’s owner manual.
“The ‘Find the right oil’ tab on mobiloil.
com can also help you identify the
types of oil specified by your vehicle manufacturer,” says Exxon Mobil spokesman
Christian Flathman. Many newer vehicles
recommend changing the oil every 7,500
miles. Some engines that use synthetic oil
might prescribe a 10,000-mile interval. Again,
let the owner manual be your guide.
Keep to the steps
Once your tools are in hand, just follow
; Let a cold engine run for five minutes to
thin the oil. If the engine has been running,
wait 30 minutes to avoid getting burned.
; Drive the vehicle onto the ramps or
jack it high enough to install two supporting
jack stands. Turn the engine off, put the
transmission in “park,” set the emergency
brake and place wooden blocks behind the
rear wheels. Vehicles with a high ground
clearance, like four-wheel-drive pickups,
may not need to be raised.
Place plastic sheeting under the vehicle to
The Costco Connection
You’ll find a selection of motor oil, shop
rags, tools and more at your local Costco.
DO’s and DON’Ts
; Follow the manufacturer’s
recommendations for oil type
and change intervals.
; Use motorcycle or marine
oil in a car.
; Let oil cool before changing to avoid burns.
; Use a catch pan with a lid
to prevent spills.
; Get under a car supported
only by a jack. Use jack stands.
; Skimp on the filter; the filter
must last as long as the oil
; Record the oil change date
and vehicle mileage.
; Overtighten the drain plug
; Check for leaks.
© PODIS / SHUTTERSTOCK
; Recycle used oil.
© PODIS / SHUTTERSTOCK
keep spills off your garage floor or
; Loosen the oil filler cap in the engine
compartment. This step allows the oil to
; Remove the drain plug on the bottom
of the oil pan under the vehicle with the
combination or socket wrench. The position
of the drain plug will cause the oil to flow out
at an angle, so be sure the pan is positioned
to catch it.
; Once the oil has drained, clean the
drain plug with a shop rag, reinsert it and
tighten with a wrench. If the plug’s O-ring is
worn, replace it.
; Use a strap wrench to loosen and
remove the oil filter. Some oil filters are
located in the engine compartment, which
makes changing much easier.
; Check that the old filter’s O-ring seal
fitted to the open end of the filter has been
removed (the new filter comes with its own
O-ring). Apply a light coat of new oil to the
new filter’s seal, then install and hand-tighten,
but don’t overtighten. Many oil filters require
only a three-quarter turn to secure, so draw a
reference mark on the filter to help you know
how far to turn.
; With the drain plug and new filter in
place, add new oil 1 quart at a time, using a
funnel to prevent spills.
; Run the engine for 30 seconds to let the
oil circulate. Add oil until the dipstick reaches
the “full” line.
; Reset your car’s oil-life monitor, if it is
equipped with one. Check the owner manual
; Dispose of old oil properly. If your local
trash recycler doesn’t accept it, search for one
It’s a good idea to check the oil again after
a day or two of driving, just to make sure
everything got secured correctly. C
APRIL 2016 ;e Costco Connection 61
Costco member Tom Beaman is a freelance
writer in Rochester Hills, Michigan.
8/22/16 2:31 PM