The Oil Change


This procedure is fairly simple. You drain the dirty oil from your engine, replace the oil filter, and then fill your engine back up with clean oil. Sounds easy enough, eh?

It can be tricky, but most people who can operate a socket and don't mind getting a little dirty will have no trouble changing their own oil. You'll also find how inexpensive it is!

The owner's manual for my 1996 Town Car says it holds 5 quarts of oil. Check your owner's manual for your car! You don't want to over or under fill your oil.

I went to my local auto parts store and found an oil filter that is supposed to fit my car. It's made by Pennzoil and is model number PZ-42, comes in a yellow box, costing less then $5. Fram, in the orange box, is also a good choice at similar prices.

I also picked up a oil filter wrench to remove and install the filteron the car. You usually can't turn them by hand because they're too tight--you need this wrench to grip the filter and then turn it with a socket. These tools look like a little bowl with a square hole in the bottom. They can be found for less then $10.

  • Drive your car up on ramps. It is too low for most people to squeeze under there. (including me)
  • Locate the oil drain plug. It is halfway between the front wheels and it drains to the rear. It's a bolt that you can remove with a socket or wrench. Loosen the plug (it's usually very tight).
  • Position your drain pan slighty to the rear of the plug. The oil will some streaming out, and you don't want it to go all over the floor. Loosen the plug the rest of the way and watch your oil come out. You may have to move the pan forward once the oil flow slows. Once the oil has finished flowing, wipe the plug and the hole with a rag and put the plug back in and tighten it as hard as you can.
  • Locate the oil filter. It is slightly to the rear of the pan, about a foot up into the engine, mounted horizontially. Put your oil filter wrench on the filter and loosen it. Once loose, position your drain pan under it, as some oil will drip from it. You can twist it off the rest of the way with your hand. Remove the filter.
  • Screw on your new filter and make sure it is tight. Wipe up any oil that dripped on the car. You're done under the car!
  • Add two or three quarts of oil to the car. Lower it off the ramps. Finish filling with oil until it reads full (read your owner's manual for how many quarts your engine takes). Start the car, let it run for 15 seconds, and shut it off. Check your oil level again. Check under the car to ensure no oil leaked out from the plug or the filter.

Properly dispose of your oily rangs and oil filter, and mark in your service records your work done today. You're set for another 3000-4000 miles!


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