how to do simple engine oil change easy automotive for beginners

How to Change Engine Oil & Filter for Your Vehicle

Anyone Can Do This.

In this post we’ll go over how to do an engine oil change for your own vehicle, and how much it would cost you. 

Even if you’re a complete beginner fixing vehicles, changing out oil is something anyone can do. And you’ll find out if you save more money by doing it yourself vs going to a lube shop like Jiffy Lube.

The Basics of the Engine Oil Change

All gasoline vehicles work the same way; in which they all must use engine oil to lubricate and cool the engine during driving operation.

There are essentially 3 basic components when it comes to the engine oil change:

    1. Engine Cap Inlet 
      ◊ This is where you open the cap of the engine and pour in new engine oil.
    2. Engine drain outlet 
      ◊ Also known as the drain plug. This is where you pour out dirty engine oil.
    3. Oil Filter
      ◊ The job of the oil filter is to separate dirty particles in your engine oil so that only clean oil passes through the system.
      Many different types of oil filters exists, however they essentially work the same way.  Here are the many types of oil filters:

As long as you know these 3 basic components, you can do an engine oil change pretty easily.

How much engine oil your car needs.

First off, before deciding to do our own oil change you need to consult your owner’s manual. You’ll find the information you need in ‘Specifications‘ page (or a page similar to this). It will show you how much engine oil your vehicles takes in capacity. 

how much engine oil does my car need

Type of engine oil required.

Once you’ve identified which how much engine oil your vehicle takes, the next step is to determine what type of engine oil it uses.

You can easily spot that by looking at your engine oil cap.

Or if you don’t see the label on your engine cap, you can check in your owner’s manual for fluid specifications. 

engine oil cap label easy to spot

The steps to completing an oil change:

Now you’ve got all the information you need. You’re now ready to do an engine oil change.

Here are the basic step-by-step procedures below:

Lift the vehicle with a car jack and support it with jack-stands.
support your car with jackstands
Drain the engine drain outlet (AKA drain plug) to remove all dirty engine to drain engine oil 1
Catch all dirty oil in a drain bucket.
use drain bucket to collect dirty engine oil

Remove old oil filter.change oil filter

Replace new oil filter. Tighten to specifications.replace new engine oil filter

Replace drain plug back into oil pan. Tighten to specifications.plug in drain plug back into oil pan oil change

Pour fresh engine oil into the engine cap inlet (AKA engine block) to complete your oil to do an engine oil change much does it cost my car need with filter

And you’re all done!

Is it worth it to change my own oil?

Great. Now you know how to change your engine oil. But that begs the question, ‘Is it worth it to change my own oil, or to rather just let quick lube shops do it instead?’

Let’s break it down and determine for you whether or not it’ll be worth it to change your own oil.

Although changing oil is simple to do, this job requires the use of several tools. Which means you would have to spend a bit of money up front to be able to do oil changes.

But, you would buy them once now, and the tools would serve you many years on many oil changes (and other repairs).

Here is the list of tools you’ll need:

Therefore, in total it would cost you around $400 if you needed every tool required for this job. Next, you would have to add the cost of oil to get your final total.

Most vehicles only use 5 quarts to do an engine oil change. So that’s a safe number we can work with. You can order online with Walmart to get the best price for the engine oil you need.

Continuing on, we’ll use a KIA Sorento as an example. The KIA Sorento needs 5.2 quarts of engine oil and an oil filter. Therefore it would cost me $31 ($23 + $8) for the engine oil.

I would need to purchase 6 quarts of engine oil. Then $10 for the oil filter.

The total cost for tools and engine oil is $441

$400 + $ 41 = $441

Year 1

Compare DIY vs Jiffy Lube with 8 oil changes within Year 1 (a realistic number of times you might go for an oil change every year).

Jiffy Lube charges around $87 for synthetic oil changes.

DIY: $400 + ($41 X 8) = $728

Jiffy Lube: $87 X 8 = $696

In one year’s time you would pay $32 more to do your own oil changes. 

Year 2

Now compare DIY vs Jiffy Lube with 8 oil changes in Year 2.

DIY: $41 X 8 = $328

Jiffy Lube: $87 X 8 = $696

Now you’re saving $368 doing-it-yourself. Your tools are already paid for, so they don’t enter this Year 2 Equation as extra costs.

Every year afterward you’re saving around $368 on your engine oil changes. After 5 years you would save around $1,440 doing your own oil changes.

Final Verdict

So now you know how to do your own engine oil changes, and how much it would cost you in the beginning. 

So here’s the verdict as to whether or not it’ll be worth it to you.

For most people:

If you’re not really a car enthusiast, no. This is not really worth your time and effort to go DIY for the long haul. You may be better off going to Jiffy Lube using Coupons to get your oil changes done for you. 

The savings may not astronomical enough for you to do your own oil changes. You may have other things that you’re more interested in spending your time developing.

For car enthusiasts:

But if you are a car enthusiast, this is a great idea. Not only will you save a bit of money in Year 2, but you’ll now have tools to tackle other jobs in the future. 

So if you ever have to swap out new brake pads or something like that, you’ll save even more money when the time comes to do other repairs.

As you progress with your mechanical skills you’ll be able to tackle on tougher jobs and save even more money. That’s when the savings become astronomical

Check out this post to learn more about that.

How to Find a Repair Shop Manual 

If you need a repair manual specifically made for your vehicle, go here to learn more. I’ll also show you a quick tutorial on how to use them online.

Or Learn about the Secret Tool Mechanics Use to Fix Any Vehicle.

August 22, 2021