The oil change is one of the most basic and universal steps in any car service. While it’s not all that expensive, it always pays to have the power over what you’re putting in your car, and if you have the time and the patience, it’s always rewarding to do a little bit of DIY. Spares Box is here to show you how.
Wait, what? Does my oil even need changing?
Having fresh oil going into your engine is rule numero uno of making sure your engine is running smoothly, stopping vital parts from grinding together, heating up and potentially breaking in the process. Just to be safe, you want to be changing your oil around every 10,000km. You could probably get away with doing it every 15,000km, especially if you’re running a newer European car (provided you’re using fully synthetic oil), for everything else though, most people in the know will tell you to do it every 10. If in doubt, always consult the manual your vehicle came with.
What do I need?
First and foremost, you want to make sure that the stuff your putting in your car is of the highest quality. For this change we’ve gone all-Aussie, with a premium Ryco oil filter and Nulon 10W-40 oil (a 5L bottle will do for most vehicles). Most oils will come in either a fully synthetic or semi-synthetic option. We’ve gone for a fully synthetic oil to maximise the life of both the oil and your engine, as they are controlled down to every chemical strain that they’ve been formulated with. Like we said, this is especially important if you’re running a European car.
Aside from this, some wheel chocks or a jack (with stands of course) will assist you greatly in getting the front end of your car raised high enough to make it accessible.
You can shop our full range of value, performance and premium oils and oil filters over at sparesbox.com.au. As always, make sure you consult with our site’s vehicle filter to make sure the stuff you’re getting is exactly right for your vehicle. Also, grab a pan to catch the oil you’re draining and some cardboard. You don’t want oil all over your floor. Trust us.
Step 1: Find your filter/oil sump
First things first, you want to line your floor with cardboard and get a good pan to help catch any oil that you’re removing from the car. The oil sump is sealed with a single bolt that’s screwed into the bottom of your oil tank. Here you can see it poking out of the bottom at a 45-degree angle. The oil filter comes in the form of a cartridge that you can see to the right of the image. This is what we’re going to be replacing.
Step 2: Run your engine for a little while
Running the engine for a while will warm up the oil. Once it’s up to normal temperature on your gauge, it means it’s warm enough to change. Having it warm will make the oil run easier, and take any of the junk that’s accumulated in the bottom of your oil tank with it. After doing this, remove the oil cap. This will release any pressure that’s built up in the crankcase and will allow the oil to run freer out of the engine.
Step 3: Crack the nut, drain the oil
The initial turn is the hardest. Cracking the bolt on the sump requires a bit of elbow grease, but afterwards, it’ll come off with just finger turning. After you get to the end of the bolt, you want to pull it away as quickly as possible to avoid getting oil all over the bolt and costing yourself 5 minutes of clean up duty. After it’s been removed, check to see if there are any washers that need replacing.
The oil should run freely out of the sump, then all you have to do is wait for it to stop draining completely, and replace the bolt. Typically, tighten to 25-30nm of torque. Be careful though, because the sumps are generally made of either aluminium or tin, and as such are very easy to strip. Unlike our mystery hand here, it’s probably best to wear gloves during this whole process, because engines get hot and burnt hands aren’t fun.
Step 4: Replacing the filter
Replacing the filter is super easy as well. It can be done up quite tight, so you might need a special tool for a little more leverage. Most of the time though, it’ll unscrew with simple elbow grease, but you’ll get some oily hands in the process. Make sure you move the pan underneath the filter, because Oil will come out of here as well.
After it’s all drained, give the surrounding area a wipe to clean everything up. Also take this chance to check the thread for any damage.
Before you install the new filter, wipe a little of the new engine oil around the gasket. This will form a tighter seal and allow it to unscrew easier next time you need to change it.
After that, all that’s left is to screw the new bad boy in. If, like you see above, the filter is a new canister, just screw it in. If your oil filter uses removable cartridges, slide the old one out and replace it with the fresh filter. Always follow the instructions on the canister to see how much to screw the filter in.
Step 5: Fill ‘er up
You’ll see the oil cap pretty easily in the engine bay of most cars. Make sure you check in the manual how much your car needs before you go throwing an entire bottle of oil in. Like we said before, 5L bottle of oil will do most cars just fine, but in the case of this small hatch, we only needed around 4.
Put a funnel in the hole to prevent any spillage, and feed your engine the good stuff it needs. Start the vehicle and run it for 30 seconds to let the oil settle into the new filter. When you check, make sure you have your car off the stand and on level ground to give yourself an accurate measurement. Check the dipstick to see if it’s at it’s maximum.
Once the oil has hit the second hole, it means it’s ready to go. Keep in mind that some dipsticks have lines, dots or bumps, but it’s pretty easy to tell either way. Screw the cap back on, run the engine for for a few minutes and have a quick double check under the car to make sure there’s no dripping or leaking. Voila! You’ve just done an oil change and your manliness factor has just increased at least 30%.
Happy motoring! Your car will thank you later.