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The Art of:

Changing Oil


The Art of:

Changing Oil


05 07 09 17 19

Introduction . . . . . . . . Materials . . . . . . . . . . . Changing the Oil . . . . . Closing . . . . . . . . . . . . . Credits . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Introduction Changing your oil is one of the most important things that you can do to take care of your vehicle  —  it’s also one of the easiest. Over time the oil in your engine starts to break down and the filter can become clogged with contaminates. This increases the wear and tear on your engine. Depending on your vehicle and your driving habits the task of changing your oil may need to be done as often as every 3,000 miles (or 3 months) or as little as every 20,000 miles (24 months). Because this book focuses only on the steps of actually changing your cars oil there are some things that you should do before continuing any further. Check your vehicle owners manual – if you don’t have one they are typically very easily found and can be downloaded at little to no cost from online. The owners manual will tell you the specific parts that you will need to purchase or set aside for your make and model. Things like the kind of oil that is suggested, the oil filter that is needed, what kind of tools you will need, and where your oil tank is located. You can even consult your local auto shop mechanic for suggestions, alternatives, questions or help. They’re almost always happy to help in any way that they can. Changing oil can be a fun way to learn about your car, it’s easy, takes very little time, and is affordable. This book, hopefully will be an artful and helpful addition to any collection, featuring real black and white film photography accompanying each section as well as detailed explanations for each step. Remember that it at any point you do not understand something in this book to consult your vehicle’s owners manual as this is just a basic guide to changing the oil in any car, and your vehicle may be different. Have fun learning the art of changing oil and enjoy.


Materials Time Required

30 minutes to an hour.

Money Saved

Between $25 and $75.

Tools Required

Wrench (box end or socket) Oil filter wrench Oil drain pan Funnel Oil filter Oil

Optional Tools

Gloves Jack or Jack stands (check ground clearance) Replacement drain plug washer


01.Changing the Oil

Draining the Oil 01. Raise

your car by either using a jack or ramps. Be sure to brace your car with jack stands as it

is extremely dangerous to work under a car that is still on a jack. Check you manual for proper jack placement. You may not need to use anything if the area under your car will allow everything you need under it easily without obstruction.

02. Start

your car to warm the oil up. 3 minutes should be sufficient to churn some of the deposits in

the filter and cause the oil to flow out faster.

03. Open

your hood and find the oil cap on the top of the engine. Once the oil is drained you’ll add

your new oil here. Remove the oil cap, doing this will allow the oil to drain more easily as air can flow through.

04. Find

your oil pan. This is a flat metal pan that is found by the engine (not the transmission). The

pan has a plug that you will need to remove in order to drain the oil be sure to place your catch pan under before you do. ;;

If you can’t distinguish the oil pan from the transmission pan, let the car run for five or ten minutes. The oil plug should get warm to the touch by that time, while the transmission won’t.

05. Remove

the Oil plug by turning it counter-clockwise using a wrench or socket. Remove it’s gasket as

well – this will be made of paper, rubber, or felt; the metal washer can be re-used. ;;

As soon as you remove the plug the oil will pour out at a slight angle. In case you drop the plug when this happens use a funnel with a screen to catch the plug.

06. Drain

the oil for several minutes, until it’s all out of your vehicle. Once all the oil is gone you can

then replace the plug. Be sure to replace the gasket and washer if need be! Hand tighten as much as you


can then tighten the rest of the way with your wrench or socket.

02.Changing the Oil

replacing the filter 01. Locate

the filter. Filters are by no means put in a standard place. Try looking for a soup can that

unscrews. Usually they’re about 4-6 inches long and 3 inches wide and are typically blue, black or white. ;;

Some vehicles may have an element or cartridge instead of the simpler spin-on type. You will have to open the cap of a built-in resevoir and lift out the filter itself.

02. Unscrew

the oil filter. Twist the filter counter-clockwise with a good grip as often grease can

make it slippery. Using an old belt will sometimes help to get a grip on it. ;;

Make sure that the rubber gasket ring comes off along with the filter. If the gasket does stick the new filter will not seal to the car causing a leak. If this happens just peel it off.

03. Prep

the new filter. You’ll need to coat the new gasket ring in a thin layer of oil in order to create

a good seal.

04. Screw

on the new filter, being careful to not cross the threads. Pay attention to the

instructions on the filter as they will tell you how far to tighten it. A general rule of thumb is to let the gasket touches then turn a quarter more.


03.Changing the Oil

adding the oil 01. Add

the new oil by locating the engine cap. Check the owners manual for your vehicle to see how

much oil you need and what kind of oil. Adding the wrong kind of oil can damage your engine.

02. Replace

the fill cap and wipe away any remaining oil that may have spilled. While this isn’t

dangerous it can produce smoke when your engine heats up which can be alarming and can also leave a bad smell in it’s wake.

03. Start

your engine! Check that the oil pressure light goes off when you start the car. This is also a

good time to do a final check up to see if you’ve secured everything properly and that nothing is leaking. Run your engine for a few minutes to build the oil pressure back up.

04. Reset

the oil change light, if it is applicable to the make and model of your car. You will have

to refer to your vehicle owners manual for specific instructions on how to do this.


04.Changing the Oil

Disposing of the Oil 01. Transfer

the oil to a sealing container. Now that you’ve changed your oil, get the

sludgy gunk into a more permanent container. Adding it to the new container you’ve just emptied is the safest bet. Use a plastic funnel in the bottle and pour slowly to ensure you don’t spill any. Clearly mark the bottle “used oil” so you don’t mistake it for the real thing or use it for anything else. Put the oil in a container that can be sealed. Usually adding the used oil to the container you just emptied is your best bet. ;;

Don’t put old oil in containers that held other chemicals like bleach, pesticides, paint, or antifreeze. These will contaminate the recycling process if you choose to take your old oil there.

02. Find

an oil recycling center in your area these are designated for collecting used oil.

Places that sell motor oil should have this information. Places that sell more than 1,000 filters in a year are required to accept old filters, and many places that do oil changes will take your used oil, although they may charge a fee for this.

03. Try

recycled oil next time. Used motor oil is refined until it meets the same certifications and

specifications of new oil. The process requires less energy than pumping and refining new oil and recycling motor oil helps to reduce the need of foreign oil. In some cases, recycled oil also costs less than new oil.


Closing Now you’re finished. The last step is to pick up your tools and grab a tall glass of iced tea (or beer if you prefer) and relax after a job well-done. See, changing your oil can be a fun and rewarding process and it teaches you the basics about your car. It’s simple and cost-effective, and takes very little time at all. Now take a sip of your beverage and give yourself a pat on the back, you’ve just learned the art of changing oil.



Credits Photos

Kat Flaherty

Content written

Kat Flaherty

Special Notes

This book was written based off of an online article and is not meant in anyway to be a complete step-by-step instruction manual on how to change oil. Please consult a licensed, trusted mechanic and/or your owners manual for vehicle zzzspecific instructions.


Thank you to Carson for actually changing my oil and for being my model for a day as you did so!

The Art of:

Changing Oil By: Kat Flaherty Š 2015

Profile for Katelyn Flaherty

The Art of Changing Oil  

A small, basic and general, how-to guide on how to change your own oil at home.

The Art of Changing Oil  

A small, basic and general, how-to guide on how to change your own oil at home.