Preventative maintenance, big or small, is essential to keeping your vehicle operational. Changing your motor oil is the most basic maintenance to ensure that your engine will stay dependable and work every day you need it. It is important to know when to change your oil as it also depends on your location, your vehicle’s type, and your driving habits:
- Difficulty: Easy
- Duration: 30 minutes
- How often: Recommended every 6000 - 8000km
Why Change Your Oil and Filter?
Today’s engines are marvels of high technology. But they still need protection from the rigors of stop-and-go driving, dusty or muddy roads, extreme temperature changes, and other severe driving conditions.
Oil filters play a key role in providing engine protection by helping keep dirt, metal shavings, and sludge out of your oil, and out of your expensive powertrain. This is why experts recommend that you change your motor oil and oil filter in your vehicle every six months or 5,000 to 8,000 kilometers, whichever comes first, to maximize engine protection.
Always refer to your vehicle’s owner manual for recommended procedures and maintenance schedules.
Tools & Equipment You'll Need to do an Oil Change:
- Safety glasses
- Garage jack and jack stands with sufficient capacity for your vehicle’s weight (or drive-on car ramps)
- Wheel chocks
- Creeper (optional)
- Wrench or ratchet wrench and socket to remove the oil drain plug
- Oil drain pan to collect your used oil
- Oil filter wrench or oil filter end cap
- Funnel or spout
- Rags to clean up spills and drips
- Fresh engine oil (according to your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended type, viscosity, and capacity)
- New oil filter
Proper maintenance and service procedures are vital to the safe, efficient operation of all motor vehicles and the safety of the person performing the work—you. Whenever you’re working on your vehicle, we recommend that you follow these important safety rules:
- Have a first-aid kit and fire extinguisher nearby.
- Be careful when working around hot or sharp objects.
- Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for all products.
- Ensure your jack stands are supporting the vehicle’s frame if you must raise your vehicle.
- Don’t run the engine without proper ventilation.
- Don’t smoke when working around the engine.
How to do an Oil Change in Five Easy STEPS
Make sure to READ these instructions COMPLETELY before starting!
A spin-on filter is perhaps the most commonly replaced service part on your car, SUV, or pickup truck. Timely and proper installation can help prevent costly engine damage and oil filter leakage. To ensure proper installation, most filters have instructions printed on them. Follow these five steps when changing any spin-on oil filter:
Step 1: Get Setup
- Warm up your vehicle to operating temperature to loosen contaminants in your engine and make the oil flow easily.
- Turn off your engine.
- Secure vehicle (emergency brake, wheel chocks, jack stands, ramps, etc.) to protect accidental rolling and to provide better access to the oil filter.
Step 2: Drain the Old Oil
- Slide your oil drain pan under the drain plug.
- Loosen the drain plug by turning it in a counter-clockwise direction with a wrench or ratcheting wrench and socket (see Figure 1).
- Remove the drain plug by hand by keeping inward pressure on the plug until it is completely free. Quickly remove it to avoid getting yourself dirty or burning yourself with hot oil.
- Allow the oil to completely drain from the engine.
- Clean the drain plug and drain hole.
- Reinstall the drain plug with a new crush washer by hand to ensure correct threading, then tighten with your wrench or ratcheting wrench and socket.
Step 3: Remove the Old Oil Filter
- Place the oil drain pan underneath the filter.
- Remove the filter by turning it in a counter-clockwise direction with an oil filter wrench or the correct oil filter end cap.
- CAUTION: The oil filter and oil may still be hot!
- Removing the old filter’s gasket if it’s still attached to the base and wipe off any residual oil from the oil filter housing.
Step 4: Install the New Oil Filter
- Make sure the rubber gasket on the new oil filter is secure and in place.
- Apply a thin layer of clean motor oil over the entire gasket surface.
- Spin on the new filter onto the filter housing stud and make sure the gasket makes contact with the oil filter housing.
- ATTENTION: Tighten the filter by hand only and follow the oil filter’s installation instructions.
Step 5: Fill the Engine with New Motor Oil
- Remove the oil cap from the valve cover.
- Fill your motor with the recommended type, viscosity, and capacity of oil.
- Check the oil dipstick to verify if your oil is at the proper level.
- Reinstall the oil cap.
- Start the engine for 10 seconds and then turn off your engine.
- Check for leaks around the filter and drain plug.
- Once again, check the oil dipstick to verify if your oil is at the proper level.
- Properly dispose of your used oil and filter.
- While the hood is open, take this opportunity to check your air filter.
Things to Know About Motor Oil
- Milky brown engine oil is an indication of coolant mixed in with the oil. This can be a symptom of a blown head gasket, a failing transmission cooler, or cracked casing. This condition is very serious and needs to be checked by a professional technician quickly.
- Synthetic motor oils can be a good choice for high output, turbocharged or supercharged engines, vehicles that are used for towing (especially during hot weather), or vehicles that are operated in extremely cold or hot climates.
- Synthetic motor oils, though several times more expensive than mineral-based motor oils, can improve fuel economy and provide longer intervals between changes. They also provide instant lubrication on start-up.
- Short trip driving is especially hard on oil because the engine never warms up enough to boil off the moisture and acids that accumulate inside the crankcase, so be sure to change both the oil and oil filter as your vehicle manufacturer recommends under the “Severe Service” maintenance intervals.
- Higher motor oil viscosity numbers do not necessarily provide better protection; follow your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations for your motor and driving conditions.
- Experts recommend changing the oil and oil filter in your vehicle every 6 months or 5,000 km (whichever comes first). It’s a simple, inexpensive, and essential way to extend your engine’s life. Oil changes at 15,000 km are usually too long an interval for most common driving conditions in Canada.