How to Change Your Car’s Oil at Home – DIY and Save $

By Jon Martinez:

Changing your own oil is a good way to save money over the quickie lube places, and it is fast becoming a lost skill.

Fortunately, doing an oil change is not rocket science. I change my own oil at home and I’d like to share a couple of tips that have helped me to make this process easier and less messy.

Here is what you need to get started:

  • Motor Oil. I use 4 qts for my Toyota Corolla. It costs $20.42 for 12 qts at Sam’s Club, which comes out to $6.81 for each oil change
  • Oil Filter $4.39 at Advance Auto Parts
  • Filter Wrench I use the kind that fits onto a ratchet wrench. Get the right size to match your filter. You can also get a dedicated oil filter wrench at the auto parts store
  • Funnel For filling engine with new oil
  • Crescent Wrench or Ratchet set For removing the oil pan drain plug
  • Oil catch pan with spout For getting rid of the old oil
  • Empty plastic bottles With wide mouth for taking old oil to be recycled. I use old kitty litter bottles, but you can use any bottle or container you like.
  • Rag For wiping up spills
  • Ramps or Jack For lifting the car. I use plastic ramps, a lot of people prefer metal. Your call.
  • Jackstands or cinder blocks For safety- keep the car from falling on you. I should really use these, but I haven’t yet…
  • Large piece of Cardboard for protecting your driveway (optional)
  • Rubber Gloves for keeping oil off of your hands (optional)

After all of the one time purchases on this list, it costs me about $11 for each oil change. Cheaper than the $20 or $30 of the quick lube joint. And I don’t have to deal with pushy salesmen trying to upsell me air filters.

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