Tag Archives: DIY

How to Change a Headlight Bulb

How to Change a Headlight Bulb

Replacing the headlight bulbs on your car is not as difficult or time-consuming as you may think. Read on to learn more about headlight bulbs, how you can find the right one for your vehicle, what tools you’ll need, and more.

Changing the bulb in the headlight of your vehicle is a simple repair you can do yourself, and you don’t need any fancy tools to do it. In fact, depending on your vehicle’s make and model, you may not require any tools at all.

How Do I Change My Car Headlight Bulb?

The steps to replace your headlights will also vary depending on your vehicle. However, in general, these steps can help to get you started:

Remove the Burned-Out Bulb

To begin extracting a burned-out headlight bulb from your vehicle, lift your car’s hood, and remove the lamp connection at the back of the headlight housing unit you need to replace. Grab the bulb casing and turn it counterclockwise until the tabs line up, then pull it out straight. Be aware that some cars have an additional hinged or rotating panel that will make it easier to access your headlights. Others may have splash guards or air cleaner housings that will need to be completely removed before you will be able to get to the headlight housing and put in the replacement bulb.

It is almost always easier to replace the headlight bulbs in an older car model. Older headlights usually have a square or circular cover that is larger than that used in modern cars. The metal rings can be loosened from the front of the car so that you do not need to reach into the dark and crowded area under your car’s hood.

Insert the Replacement Bulb

Insert the Replacement Bulb

When you are carrying the new bulb and screwing it in, you will need to be very careful that you do not touch the glass of the headlight bulb. The oils in your skin and the small amounts of dirt and dust carried on your hands can hurt the bulb and cause it to fail early. This is another good reason to purchase a pair of work gloves and use those to handle the new headlight bulb.

When putting in one or more new headlight bulbs, replace one bulb at a time. Simply place the new bulb where you removed the old one and turn it a quarter turn until it clicks in. Repeat with all other bulbs. Put back any part of the housing you needed to remove and make sure everything is secure.

Even if your vehicle’s corresponding high beam or low beam headlight is not burned out yet, it may be better to also replace the other bulb than to go through the replacement process a second time—especially if you’ve previously replaced both bulbs at the same time. Since both bulbs turn on at the same time, they will likely fail around the same time unless other elements cause your headlights to stop functioning, such as water that became trapped in the covering or an accident on one side of the vehicle.

Test Your Car’s New Headlights

The last step is to get into the car, turn it on, and test the headlights to see if they are working. If they are not and you replaced more than one type of bulb, you may want to check whether you put the high beam and low beam headlight bulbs in their correct spots. If the problem persists, the issue could be within the electrical components of your car. If that’s the case, schedule an appointment at an automotive repair shop so that a professional can check into other issues that may have caused your headlights to stop working, like a problem with the vehicle’s wiring.

Test Your Car’s New Headlights

Can You Change a Headlight Bulb Yourself?

You can purchase most headlight bulbs at an auto parts store. If you aren’t sure what kind of headlight bulb you need, the employees there will likely be able to look up your vehicle to find the correct replacement bulb. Often, these stores can also provide you with advice regarding the brightness and color that suits your needs, as well as any additional tools you might need.

Larger problems with headlight repairs usually only arise if replacing the bulbs does not restore your headlights to proper working order. If that is the case, you may want to have your car inspected by professional automotive repair specialists. They can tell you if your car is having other issues, which in the case of a headlight bulb malfunction, would most likely be a malfunction in the wiring harness or another electrical component of the vehicle.

If this is the case, a professional shop is your best choice to continue addressing the issue. Problems with the wiring or electrical systems in your car are always better handled by professionals who know how to make the proper repairs without risking injury.

Do You Need Tools to Change a Headlight?

The only tools you need for replacing the headlight bulb on your vehicle are a flathead screwdriver and the replacement bulb for your car’s make and model. However, to help protect your hands and ensure you don’t get fingerprints on the headlight bulb or other lens parts, you might also want a pair of work gloves.

Gloves are always useful for vehicle repairs and a variety of other household maintenance projects, so it may just be a good idea to have gloves in your toolbox for any number of repairs that you can do at home and any future projects. If you don’t have a pair of gloves on hand, most auto supply shops can furnish you a pair of disposable gloves to use while you change your headlight bulb.

Other tools that might be helpful for your repair include:

  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Extra sockets
  • A flashlight

Pliers can be useful for some specific cars that need extra grip because the headlight housing unit is screwed in tightly. A flashlight is a universally useful tool that can help you be able to see into the darkest areas of your car. Depending on the layout of your headlight’s housing, a flashlight can help you better pinpoint any parts you need to remove and where you need to put the replacements back in.

Picking the Right Headlight Bulb for Your Vehicle

Picking the Right Headlight Bulb for Your Vehicle

When considering getting new headlight bulbs, the most important aspect to pay attention to is that it fits your vehicle’s make and model. Other components to decide on for your replacement bulbs include how far in front and to the sides the bulb can light up, the color, and how long it is supposed to last.

Your local auto parts stores will likely carry a variety of different headlight bulbs for whatever you need, including HID or LED bulbs. You may also need to purchase two different kinds of bulbs if you want to install replacements for both your vehicle’s high beam bulbs and its low beam bulbs. Be sure to also pick a bulb package that is crisp and unbent to reduce the risk that you end up purchasing a broken bulb.

More Vehicle DIY

If there are cracks, fogginess, or other damage to the headlight housing unit on your vehicle, or the whole headlight including the plastic covering, you will need to have the whole unit replaced before you will be able to change a damaged or burned-out headlight bulb. When it is just the bulb that has gotten old or has burnt out, that is a simple repair that can be done at home with minimal tools that are available at any store that carries auto parts.

In addition to replacing your headlights, there are many at-home maintenance tasks you can perform to ensure your vehicle is in top shape. Take a look at our blog to learn more vehicle maintenance tips, tricks, and how-tos.

Everything You Need to Know to Fix Your Own Car

This entry was posted in Car Maintenance and tagged on by .
Everything You Need to Know to Fix Your Own Car

Disclaimer: Some links on this page are affiliate links. We may receive a commission if you make a purchase through these links. See our full disclaimer here.

Fixing your own car has been somewhat lost to time nowadays. As cars get increasingly complex electrical systems with sensors and parts, many people might feel overwhelmed at the thought of fix your car yourself. The good news is that many of the small and common issues that cause your car to break down can actually be done yourself as long as you have the right tools.

Fixing your car can be a daunting task for some, but the process isn’t that difficult. Here, we’ll go through all the steps you’ll need to start taking care of your vehicle yourself without relying as much on a mechanic.

We’ll cover everything to help you get started taking care of your vehicle yourself! In this post we cover:

And answer all of your other DYI car maintenance questions:

DIY Engine Oil Change

DIY Engine Oil Change

Changing your oil is actually really easy and can save you money in the long run.

Before you get started, you’ll need a few things:

  • One-to-two-gallon bucket/pan for old oil
  • Wrench for the oil drain plug (Usually 3/8 inch)
  • Oil to refill your vehicle (check manual for the amount)
  • Funnel
  • Bricks/stoppers (optional)
  • Jack (optional)
  • Oil Filter Wrench (optional)
  • Oil Filter (optional)


Before you start draining the oil, you’ll want to make sure you can reach the plug and that your pan/bucket can fit underneath the drain plug. If you cannot reach under your vehicle or the pan won’t fit, you might need to jack up your vehicle to access it. Make sure that if you jack up your vehicle, you have stoppers at the back of your tires that are still on the ground to prevent rolling. Once that is set up, open the hood and undo the oil cap—not the plug but the cap where you put your oil. Doing this will prevent a vacuum from forming when you are draining the oil resulting in slow or incomplete drainage of the old oil.

You’ll also want to make sure that your engine is cool. This doesn’t take too long, but you can risk burning yourself with hot oil if you don’t let it sit for a while. To make sure it is cool, you can quickly and gently press your hand to the oil pan where the drain plug is located. If it is not hot to the touch, you should be ready to continue.

Draining The Oil

Once you have your bucket under the oil drain plug, slowly unscrew the drain plug. Let it drain a bit before you unscrew it completely to avoid getting covered in oil. When it starts to slowly drip out, you are free to put the plug back on and remove the bucket/pan with the old oil in it.

Replacing the Filter (optional)

Replacing the filter isn’t always necessary, but it should be done after every couple of oil changes. Above the oil pan (the part that you took the oil plug out of), there should be an orange or black-colored part. If you don’t know what an oil filter looks like, most auto part stores will have them readily available. Take the oil filter wrench, which should look like a thick metal belt around the oil filter and take it off. Then all you have to do is put the new filter back and tighten it with the wrench.

Refill The Oil

Once all the oil is drained out, you’ll need to refill it before starting it. The oil cap should be unscrewed still, so all you have to do is funnel or pour the new oil into your car. After you’ve poured the required amount in, screw the cap back on, close the hood, and lower your car back on flat ground before checking the oil stick after a few minutes. If it reads where it should be, you are done!

Changing your oil is really easy once you know how. The steps here outline everything you’ll need to do to get it done, but it likely won’t take you more than 30 minutes to complete your oil change.

If you’re doing your own oil change for the first time, click to check out our previous post to find out where you can buy for the right tools to perform your own oil change at home.

Is Fixing My Own Car Easy?

A lot of the difficulty in repairing a vehicle depends on the vehicle itself. If you own a brand-new current-year model vehicle, it will likely be harder to repair yourself. This is because electrical systems have gotten increasingly complex, and as a result less room to operate and more potential mistakes. Older vehicles—especially small vehicles—that are pre-millennia around 1995 and older will be easier to repair. Many auto part stores still carry all of the pieces to complete any job on these older vehicles, and they are often easy to work on.

Probably the most difficult repair step for a new or veteran mechanic is diagnostics. Trying to figure out why your vehicle is not running, making a noise, or any other problem can be harder than actually fixing it. Older cars have fewer sensors so they can be easier to diagnose, but it doesn’t change the fact that diagnostics will be the most difficult part of fixing your vehicle.

Experience plays a lot in diagnostics. As you get more familiar with your vehicle and what sounds or problems indicate what problem, you’ll become an increasingly better mechanic. If you started with older vehicles, a lot of the problem-solving transfers to new models so long as you know what and where to look for information.

How Do I Start Learning To Repair Vehicles

Learning To Repair Vehicles

If you are interested in learning how to repair vehicles, how much you invest at the start will be the deciding factor. If you are looking to make it more of a career than a hobby, try to find a mechanic shop that is hiring or look for a course in vehicle repair. If you are looking to make it more of a hobby or want to have the skills to repair your own vehicle rather than rely on a mechanic, here are a few crash-course tips:

1. Buy an Old Car

You will need somewhere to hone your mechanic skills, and an old clunker is the best place to start a crash course.

It will be more expensive, but it’s best if you can find an older vehicle that still runs. Ensuring that it runs—even if it’s just barely off the lot—means that you have a bit of a template to work with. It also means that there is nothing so terribly wrong with it that the place you bought it from couldn’t repair it either. If you bought a rust bucket or a car that has been sitting for a long time, you might be trying to bite off more than you can chew. You are looking for something that is old but still has the bare minimum parts with it to run and will be reliable with a bit of work.

Here are some makes and models that are old but are reliable:

  • Buick Roadmaster (1991-1996)
  • Subaru Wagon (1990-Present)
  • Toyota Corolla (1996-Present)
  • Ford Ranger (1983-2011 2019-Present)
  • Geo Prizm (1984-2010)
  • Jeep Cherokee (1987-2001)

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You might not be able to find one of these makes or models available immediately, but they are some of the most reliable in the market’s history. When you look for an older car, mileage is less relevant than it running or any serious issues.

2. Buy Some Tools

Tools are a mechanic’s best friend and the things they need to do their craft. Most repair jobs can be done with a set of standard wrenches, a small set of metric wrenches, a few screwdrivers, and some pliers. It is also recommended to get yourself a multimeter, a jack, some blocks or bricks, a set of sockets, a torque wrench, and a tire iron. With these tools, you should have everything you need to work on your vehicle.

3. Gather Information

Since you are just starting your journey into mechanic work, you will want to have some information about your vehicle and the process of repairing it.

Repair manuals are factory-made instruction manuals that cover just about any repair you would want to do and how to do them. These instruction manuals can be bought online or in part shops, and they have information on where a part is located and how to get to it if you are ever lost. As long as you know a little bit about the inner workings of your car and know what part you need to replace, you can follow the guide step-by-step to complete the repair.

YouTube is an excellent source, but don’t rely on it too much. Keep in mind that their process and way of doing things might be different than what is recommended, and you should always take their information with a grain of salt. Cross-checking with other sources such as another YouTube creator or a repair manual can help ensure that they include all of the steps in the process.

4. First Things to Check on Your Old Car

After you have your car, there will be some things you should check ASAP. The main reason for this is that many places that sell these cars fix them just barely enough, so they run. This means that it likely won’t last you long if you don’t get started working on its immediately, which makes it the perfect learning tool.

Here are the first things you should check either before or after your purchase:

  • Oil
  • Battery
  • Sparkplugs
  • Radiator Coolant
  • Fuses
  • Tires
  • Belts (Timing, Drive Belt, A/C)

If you know where to look, checking these things may only take you 30 minutes at most. You should ensure that the oil isn’t thick or gunky as that means it was sitting there for a long time and you risk putting a hole through a cylinder driving it. Whether it is thick or not, you should change the oil and oil filter ASAP on any old vehicle.

Your timing belt is an integral part of your vehicle. No matter the state of your vehicle, do NOT force your timing belt to turn. You can bend your valve stems doing that, and, at that point, fixing it might be more of a hassle depending on if it is an interference or non-interference motor. Simply check to see if it is worn down or starting to crack. This is one of the few parts that you will likely want to take to a mechanic to get fixed, as messing with it can seriously damage a motor.

You should also make sure that your alternator is working along with your battery. If the alternator is faulty, you may end up needing a new battery sooner than expected. You can do this with a multimeter by comparing your battery voltage when it is idle to the battery voltage when it is running. Ideally, your voltage when idle should be 12.4 or above and 13.7 to 14.7 when running. There is likely going to be some play in the range between the two, but you should make sure that it is not low either when running or idle as you might need a new battery or a new alternator.

Once you have these checked, you have started your crash course as a self-taught mechanic!

5. Safety First

Being a mechanic is not an easy job. There are many people in the field of mechanics that have been seriously injured. To avoid injury, always make sure that the negative battery cable is disconnected to prevent electric shock and that the vehicle is stable. Having a vehicle roll while you are under it or fall on you is one of the biggest causes of death and injury for a mechanic.

Always make sure that your safety is secured to prevent disaster.

How Much is Maintenance for a Car?

How Much is Maintenance for a Car?

A lot of the cost that you pay for a mechanic is labor. Usually, mechanics have a chart that tells them how long it should take to repair the issue then they charge you by the hour plus the material cost. Most mechanics can charge anywhere from $150 to $50 an hour for the job. They then multiply it by how long it takes to fix the part. Changing your oil doesn’t take that long, so the labor cost isn’t very noticeable, but once it takes a few hours to repair, the price goes up exponentially. This can mean that on some jobs, you are looking at paying way more than what is necessary to fix the part if you did it yourself.

Furthermore, older American cars are usually cheaper to repair than others. Parts from your home country don’t come with import costs, so the overall price of parts gets almost halved in the process. So, the cost of maintenance is directly correlated to how you get it repaired. Generally, don’t expect to pay less than $75 getting a mechanic to do something, even if it is extremely simple such as an oil change. Even a belt change can cost hundreds, while doing it yourself is less than $20.

The average cost of maintenance for a vehicle per year is $900-$3000, depending on where you live, type/model of your car, and whether you do it yourself.

Is it Worth Fixing Your Own Car?

Yes, in most cases, it is. You already know about labor costs from earlier in this article, so you know that getting something done can be much more expensive than doing it yourself. It all depends on what you need done and the amount of time it takes to do it. Changing something such as the oil, alternator, or starter is relatively quick and easy, so getting a mechanic to do it isn’t that much more of a cost, but it gets exponentially more expensive once the time it takes to have it done goes up. The drive belt might take them an hour or two to change, meaning you are paying anywhere between $100-$300 in labor costs while the part is less than $20. It all depends on what you need done and how much time you are willing to put into fixing it yourself.

What Car Maintenance Can I Do Myself?

With the right tools, you can do pretty much everything to repair your vehicle as long as you know-how. There are very few repairs that a mechanic is required to do, but it is important to know about them.

Cylinder, Valve Stem, or Head Maintenance is an extremely complex task that a novice shouldn’t undergo without training. A mechanic will have a much better success rate at getting your car back on the road.

Timing Belt is another one that you should have a mechanic do. We mentioned this earlier, but your timing belt is an integral part of your motor. The cylinders and valves are all connected to the timing belt, and turning it or getting the timing off can completely destroy the motor.

Undercarriage Maintenance is actually pretty easy; the problem is that you pretty much need the entire vehicle off the ground in order to perform it. This means having access to a lift that can give you the necessary space to work.

Engine Swap is another that requires tools that novices likely won’t have and knowledge on how to disconnect and reconnect your entire motor. Even then, it is not an easy task to pull off, so getting a mechanic or having someone help you is a good idea.

Serious Electrics Maintenance. We’re talking about things like computer setup and major wiring jobs. If you have the time, you could do them yourself, but you risk seriously messing up your motor.

Most of these you can do yourself if you have the experience necessary and the tools to do them, but if you are just starting out, you can seriously damage your motor or yourself attempting these repair jobs.

More Tips and DIY Car Hacks

Tips and DIY Car Hacks

Here at Red Mountain, we care about providing quality content for car lovers and those looking to maintain and protect their automobile investment. We create and share new DIY car hacks regularly, so be sure to subscribe to our monthly newsletter to never miss an alert!

And, if you love cars as much as we do, head on over to our car lovers merch shop to check out our custom swag. From stickers to trucker hats and muscle tanks, we have something for every gear head and speed racer.

Your Guide to DIY Oil Changes

This entry was posted in Car Maintenance, Tips & Tricks and tagged , on by .
DIY Oil Change

Disclaimer: Some links on this page are affiliate links. We may receive a commission if you make a purchase through these links. See our full disclaimer here.

Why You Don’t Have to Pay Premium Prices for Your Oil Change

Car maintenance doesn’t have to be a drain on your wallet. If you’re looking for the cheapest oil change, it may be closer than you think. More and more people each day are learning how to do a DIY engine oil change in their own garage or driveway. In fact, it’s one of the simplest parts of automobile maintenance to do at home, is truly a money saver, and doesn’t require a lot of tools or highly specialized skills. When even a Walmart oil change can cost $50 and up, it makes a lot more sense to spend a little bit of time, and much less money, on keeping your mode of daily transportation up and running. Failure to regularly change the motor oil being the leading cause of engine failure, it truly is the best way to maintain and extend the life of your vehicle. Here’s what you need to know to get started on your oil change at home.

DIY Oil Changes Vary by Car Brand

Different makes, models, and years of vehicles have different oil capacities in their motors. Most of the average passenger vehicles use around 5 quarts, with larger vehicles typically requiring a little more. For example, a late model Honda Civic has a capacity of 3.9 quarts, while a similar year of Subaru Outback would need 5.1 quarts. A Honda Ridgeline, or similar vehicle, may require around 6 quarts, while a full-size truck like a Toyota Tundra would require 8. In other words, the bigger the engine, the more oil the vehicle will need.

So, the first thing you’re going to want to do is figure out how much motor oil you will need or whether you’ll want any additives for your motor oil. Luckily, your local automotive parts stores can help you with this, and find this information for you, in addition to answering any other questions you may have regarding motor oils. They will also help you to figure out which oil viscosity is best for your vehicle, as this can vary depending on your vehicle’s make, mileage, your driving habits, and outside temperature, among other factors.

Motor Oil Change

The Benefits of Changing Your Own Oil

There are several benefits to doing your oil change at home, and once most people establish this habit, they will never see the inside of another Walmart oil change center again. Aside from being the cheapest oil change possible, the DIY oil change gives you increased control over your vehicle’s maintenance, saves you time, and lengthens your car’s lifetime significantly.

DIY Oil Changes Are Cost-effective

If one of the things that kept you from getting more regular oil changes was the price of oil change, you can rest assured that an oil change at home will save you money. If we compare the cost of a DIY oil change vs dealer oil changes, for example, we can see the huge savings it affords. For example, the average Honda oil change at a dealer could be well over $100, but when we look at what the oil, filter, and a little bit of time costs us, it could be as little as $20.

DIY Oil Changes Give You Customization and control

You get to decide exactly which motor oils you use in your vehicles and what oil filters are best – without anyone trying to upsell you or render unnecessary services to drive your bill up. Whether it’s winter and you want a lighter weight oil for the cold or you have a high mileage vehicle and want to use specialty oil, it’s your choice.

DIY Oil Changes Save You Time

Not only does it take less time to change your own oil, but you can do it at your own convenience, regardless of business hours. Rather than having to wait to get into a Jiffy Lube oil change or schedule an appointment at a shop, imagine being able to pop out to the garage after dinner and change your own oil in a half an hour. No lines, no dusty waiting rooms, no wasting your time.

DIY Oil Changes Help You Better Understand Your Vehicle

This is perhaps the biggest benefit car owners receive personally from doing their own oil changes at home. Aside from the satisfaction of learning how to do really important basic maintenance on your vehicle, it affords you the ability to better understand how the vehicle works and is running, overall. Being under the hood is also a great way to make sure there aren’t any other issues that need tending to, such as low fluids, cracked hoses, or corroded battery terminals. Staying on top of these kinds of things can (and do) add years to the life of any vehicle.

Supplies You Need to Change Your Own Oil at Home

While motor oil and an oil filter will need to be purchased for every DIY engine oil change, the rest of these supplies are one-time purchases, if you don’t already happen to have them at home.

Motor Oil

Deciding which engine oil is right for your vehicle is the first step in the process. Motor oils come in many different weights and compositions, so it’s important to use the right one. Some motor oil has additives, for example, to increase performance, or might be specifically formulated for high-mileage vehicles. Choosing the right one for your vehicle is really important, and something that your local auto parts shops can help with.

Motor Oil

Oil Filter

Usually, with every oil change, the oil filter needs to be changed, too. Oil filters do their job by removing any impurities that the oil accumulates as it runs through your vehicle. When they become clogged from use, it results in decreased engine performance, which is never good. Even if the oil in your engine is brand new, it won’t matter if your filter is clogged and not functioning properly. The owner’s manual of your vehicle can tell you exactly which filter number you’ll need. There are many brands to choose from, too. If you’re considering premium filters, for example, you can ask your local parts shop whether a K&N vs Fram oil filter would be the right choice for you.

Shop for deals on oil filters and other car care products.

Oil Filter Pliers or Wrench

Oil Filter Wrench

Most oil filters can’t be removed manually, so you’ll need a special wrench, or oil filter pliers, to remove the old one. This one-time purchase will be a life-saver in your DIY oil change process.

We recommend this Lisle Large Swivel Grip Oil Filter Wrench from AutoBarn.

Oil Drain Pan

10 Qt Plastic Covered Oil Drain Pan

You’ll need somewhere to drain the old oil from your vehicle, safely. Having an oil drain pan on hand is a must for any oil change at home. It also comes in handy when you need to transport your used oil to the recycling center. 

We recommend this 10 quart covered oil drain pan from Unbeatable Sale.


Using a funnel to transfer the new oil into the engine will keep your driveway clear of spills and your engine clean of oil on the external surfaces.

Wrench (for removing the drain plug)

Either a (box end or socket) wrench will allow you to remove the drain plug from your oil pan on the underside of the vehicle.

Jack Stands or Ramps

Most vehicles don’t have the clearance to get to the oil pan, so it’s generally necessary to elevate the front end to make it accessible. Most people use jack stands or ramps to achieve this, taking special care to stabilize the wheels of the vehicle with the emergency brake and/or blocks behind the rear wheels. If elevating the vehicle is not an option for you or if you want to cut out some steps in your DIY oil change process, you could also use an Oil Changer. Oil changers provide the huge benefit of not having to crawl around underneath your vehicle, which for many is very worth it.

We recommend these 3 ton jack stands at Unbeatable Sale.

How to Change Your Oil

To help take some of the guesswork out of your oil change at home, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to walk you through the process. Your first DIY engine oil change may take about an hour to complete, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll probably be doing it in half the time. It’s really that simple!

Step 1: Assemble Your Tools and Supplies

It’s important to have everything on hand before you start, unless you happen to live next door to your favorite parts shop. So, be sure to gather all your oil, filter, and tools beforehand. If you’re unsure about what kind of oil and filter your vehicle requires, your owner’s manual can tell you the exact specifications. Local auto parts stores can also consult with you on any specialty oils or additives you may want to consider.

We recommend that you shop Pep Boys for deals on all the tools and supplies you need.

Oil Change Tools

Step 2: Start Your Engine!

It’s better to start an oil change when the car has been running recently, so let it run for a few minutes, then cool down slightly before you begin. The old oil will drain more efficiently and completely this way.


Step 3: Elevate the Vehicle

After making sure the vehicle is parked on a flat spot and the hood is up, elevate the front end using your jack and jackstands or ramps. Be sure to set the emergency brake and block one of the rear wheels to keep it from slipping while elevated. Again, if using an Oil Changer, you get to skip this step.

Pro tip: If you remove the oil dipstick from the reservoir, the oil will drain better for you in the next step.


Step 4: Drain the Old Oil

Once you locate the drain plug, place the oil drain pan directly underneath it. Be sure your drain pan can hold the volume of oil in your vehicle, as it can really be moved once the oil begins to drain. Then, using the proper size wrench to loosen and remove the plug, drain the oil directly into the pan. Once the oil is completely drained, don’t forget to replace the drain plug, torquing it down to prevent any potential leaks.

Oil Drain

Step 5: Replace the Oil Filter

Find the oil filter, and move the drain pan directly underneath it. There will still be some oil in the filter, so it’s best to avoid it spilling onto the pavement or onto yourself. Using the oil filter wrench, loosen and remove the old filter.

Remove the oil filter gasket and apply a thin layer of fresh oil to it for better contact. Make sure it’s in good shape still before reusing it.

You can install the new oil filter by hand, turning it clockwise a few rotations. Once it’s on, it can be tightened down to specification with the filter wrench.

Oil Filter

Step 6: Add the New Oil

Now it’s time to add the new oil. Using a funnel to avoid any spills, carefully pour in the specified number of quarts of oil. This is a good time to double check your drain plug for leaks as well.

New Oil

Check out this Unbeatable Sale on Valvoline 10W40 All Climate Motor Oil 

Step 7: Start Vehicle to Check Oil Levels

Once the oil is back in your vehicle and the oil cap is tightened down, you can start the engine and let it run for a few minutes. If your oil pressure light remains on, it could be a sign that you didn’t add enough oil or that something is leaking. It’s good to troubleshoot at this stage, rather than after getting all four tires back on the ground.

After that’s completed, you’ve officially performed your first DIY oil change! Just one final step to go.

How to Dispose of Used Oil

I changed my own oil. Now what?

One of the most important aspects of doing an oil change at home is disposing of the oil, properly and responsibly. Illegal disposal can do serious damage to the environment and can also lead to hefty fines, so it’s even more important to follow these rules.

Luckily, motor oil is recyclable and most auto part shops and service stations have a place to do so. It’s usually as easy as taking the full oil drain pan to your local shop and utilizing their recycling drums. Bring your used filter along with the oil since those are also recyclable as well. 

DIY Car Care Saves Money and Gives a Sense of Pride 

DIY Oil Change Saves Money

Now that you’ve seen how easy it is to do an oil change at home, we hope you’ll consider trying it! Not only does it save you money, but it can also save time and create a sense of accomplishment in doing your own vehicle maintenance.

We hope you also lean on your local shops to make the job even easier for you.
Our family team at Red Mountain Funding is here to help.