Since we are starting to get a lot more younger people on here, or people who are new to owning and modifying vehicles, I thought a thread like this couldn't hurt. For those of you who do change your own oil, perhaps you might learn something, or have something to offer this thread as well.
This is not intended to become a discussion about which oil or filters you should use, we already have threads for that. So lets get started!
All brands and models of vehicles are different regarding the viscosity and amount of oil you should use, the filter size and location, tools needed (sometimes), and some other variables. This how-to is to show you the basics that apply to any make or model. Our demo vehicle in this case will be Shaun's 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX with the 2.5L DOHC, turbocharged and intercooled flat 4 cylinder engine.
Here's what you'll need:
- A drain pan.
- Rags or towels
- Something to lay on, like cardboard
- A socket/wrench set for removing any splash shields or factory aero to access the oil filter, and for removing the drain plug
- A filter wrench is often handy, especially if you've had your oil done at a shop or dealer (they tend to crank the filters on insanely tight)
- Gloves are highly recommended, you can get a pack for cheap from Costco, CT, anywhere. The oil is, or should be hot when you change it, and used oil is a carcinogen (cancer causing agent)
- A floor jack and stands, or ramps, will help to get the car in the air. USE THE STANDS, DON'T CRAWL UNDER YOUR CAR WITH JUST A JACK HOLDING IT. Follow all safety precautions/jacking instructions in your owners manual. Cars have specific points on where to jack them.
- Beer and friends are always good to have.
The stand is holding the car, the wheel is not. We kicked it under to get out of the way.
First I always remove the engine oil cap and dipstick. This helps vent the crankcase and drain the oil out smoothly. Like loosening the little cap on a jerry can of gas.
We've already removed the underbody splash shield/aero panel, so we can access the drain plug and filter. The drain plug is located on the bottom of the oil pan, usually at the rear of the pan. Put your gloves on, and crack it loose with a wrench or socket. Take it out with your fingers and place it in a rag, while the oil drains into your drain pan, pail, whatever you have. Careful not to burn yourself.
The drain plug washer is 50 cents. If you want to reuse it and it looks in decent shape, reuse it. If its cracked and beat up, get a new one.
Let the oil drain into your pan. Take a rag and wipe the plug and washer clean. During this time you can check your tire pressures, fill your washer fluid, check your transmission oil, check your air filter, etc. Wait until the oil is a slow drip to put the plug back in.
After that you can find your oil filter and remove it. The filter on this vehicle is tucked behind the exhaust pipe/manifold, roughly in the center of the engine. Since it is so close to the exhaust on this application, (
) the filter also gets quite hot.
If its on there good and tight, use your filter wrench to remove it and dump it into the pan.
Look at the filter base on the car and make SURE the old gasket came off with the old filter. If you put a new filter on and the old gasket is still on there, it will leak all the oil out in a manner of minutes.
Wipe the filter base clean.
We are using a Napa Gold (Wix) filter, along with Shell Rotella T6 full synthetic oil.
Take your new filter and lubricate the new gasket with a thin smear of clean engine oil.
Spin it on and hand tighten it a few turns.
You can lower the car back down and start filling it with clean oil. Don't empty the whole jug into it, look up your cars oil capacity. If you're confident about your depth perception, you can risk not using a funnel, lol. Didn't miss a drop!
Once we had 4L or so in the car (capacity is 4.2L I believe), we put the cap and dipstick back in.
Since this vehicle is turbocharged
, we don't want the turbo to run dry of oil, so we have to prime it (this is not required, this is something I do because I'm fastidious about such things). We do that by removing the fuse for the fuel pump. Without fuel, the engine will crank and pump oil without starting. This is not required for vehicles that are naturally aspirated or supercharged.
Go inside the car and turn the key to the RUN position. Your cluster will light up, and you will see the oil pressure
(not oil LEVEL) light turn on. You can start your car, or in our case, crank the car over for 5 seconds or so. Let your engine run until you see the light go out, meaning the oil pump has built up sufficient oil pressure.
Once the light goes out, usually after running for 10 seconds or so, you can shut the engine down (and put the fuse back in, if applicable). If the light does not go out after 5-10 seconds, shut the car down immediately and check for leaks/oil level. Pull the dipstick out, wipe it clean, then re-insert it, and pull it out again to see the oil level.
The pictures didn't focus well at all, but you should see two small holes at the end about 2cm apart. The distance between the holes is equivalent to 1 litre. If your level is at the lower hole, it will take exactly 1L to bring up to recommended level. If it is halfway, 1/2 a L, and so on.
After you're done adding (or draining, if you added too much), put the cap in, check all your other fluid caps, put the dipstick in, close the hood and check for leaks, you're done!
Remember to dispose of your used oil in an environmentally friendly way! Yes, those are my rolled up crappy jeans, it was hot out!
It might even cost you less to have your oil changed at Walmart/CT/the dealer/Jizzy Lube or whatever other place. This way you can say you did it yourself, learn about your car, and take pride knowing YOU did it and not the oil change kid at wherever you used to go.