Replacing your own oil filter can save you a lot of money, because it is the trickiest part of an oil change. It’s not a hard skill to pick up, but before you start working on your vehicle, you need to understand the right processes and supplies for your DIY oil and filter change. For most drivers, that means a small auto parts order a few days before you plan to do the job.
Research the Correct Filter
Oil filters are standardized in a lot of ways, but they are not universal. While you’ll find the same filters fit a cross-section of models from a variety of manufacturers, the engine’s size and design both influence the filter you need. Filters are designed for a certain volume of flow-through, and when you put a large filter on a small engine, the flow is slower than expected. Put a small filter on a large engine and it will be overwhelmed.
Luckily finding the right filter is not hard at all. If you have your vehicle’s VIN handy, you can often use it on a part retailer’s site to narrow down your choices. You can also try searching for the phrase oil filter and your car’s model and year. If all else fails, try a search for auto parts stores near me and go in to talk to someone about the right filter for your vehicle. Then if you want to order from home in the future, you can just look up the same filter online.
Follow Installation Instructions
The most common rookie mistake is skipping the instructions on a new oil filter. While you will probably pick up the procedure within a few rounds of changes, it’s not enough for most newcomers to look at the filter in place and the new one and intuit the right steps to take. You would never try to fix an electrical issue without a car wiring diagram, so you should also never change an oil filter without at least reading through the procedures from the filter manufacturer once.
The first step is to make sure the car is off. You need to drain the oil before changing the filter, which means loosening the cap, placing a drain pan, and then opening the oil drain plug. Once the oil has drained from the engine, you can work on the filter. The old oil filter should be easy enough to spot, it will be attached to the engine block, usually near but not on top of the oil pan. Before removing the filter, make sure you put the drain plug back in and tighten it. From there, it’s a matter of following the directions for the filter replacement and refilling the oil.
Order Your Oil Change Supplies Today
The nice part about routine maintenance is that it’s predictable. A repair might send you scrambling for parts, but oil changes and other basic maintenance should be something you schedule for your own convenience. That makes it easy to order your supplies well before you need them. If you have an oil change coming up, order your supplies today so you can fit the job into your schedule whenever it’s convenient.