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Oil Change 101

Did you know that changing the oil in your car is a relatively simple task that lots of people do themselves? Perhaps you’re intrigued. Perhaps you’re thinking you’d rather continue depending on someone else to take care of that for you. Perhaps your vehicle came with a temporary service contract so you haven’t had to worry about oil changes beyond making a few appointments at the dealership. If you are in search of a service center to take care of oil changes for you, check out the listings on Cars.com. If you’d like to try changing the oil in your vehicle by yourself, keep reading.

The first thing you’ll need to do to change the oil in your car at home is to shimmy underneath the car and locate the drain plug that keeps oil from leaking out of your car. This is a metal bolt that should be relatively easy to locate. Once you’ve found the plug, place a bucket or oil pan directly underneath it before unscrewing it. Unscrew it and allow all the old oil to drain from the vehicle directly into the container.

Shimmy out from under the car while the oil is draining. Open the hood and locate the screw cap where you add oil to your car on top of the engine. The cap is usually yellow and it should be very clear that it’s where the oil belongs. Open the cap and remove the oil filter by unscrewing it slowly. Replace the old filter with a new one and replace the oil plug once the oil is done draining. The used oil must be disposed of properly so do not throw it in your garbage cans.

Using a funnel, begin pouring new oil into your engine. You will probably need 5-8 quarts of oil to fill the reservoir. Pour one quart at a time until you can see the oil level rise. Replace the oil cap and tighten it. Next, you’ll want to run your engine for several minutes to warm up the oil. Once the engine has been warmed up, you can get a true measurement of the oil level using the dipstick that is part of the engine. If it reads as full, your job is done minus a bit of cleanup. If the oil level is still low, add more oil and repeat these steps before measuring the oil level again with the dip stick. You can learn more about changing your own oil, recommended oils by car professionals and other routine maintenance topics at Cars.com.

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