Changing Your Oil Is A DIY Gateway Drug


Doing your own oil change can be the gateway drug to the never-ending world of automotive DIY-ing. No matter your skill set, anyone with a few hours and some basic tools can change their oil. Proper lubrication is essential to your engine’s health and longevity, so why not do it yourself, save some money and be sure that it’s done right? Better yet, think of all the mansplaining you won’t have to hear at the service counter! Your dad might even stop bothering you about it!

First things first. You’ll need to know the proper weight, type and quantity of oil for your particular engine, as well as which oil filter to use. The owner’s manual can point you in the right direction there. If you’re missing the manual, a quick Google search or a trip to your local parts store should get you all the information you need. As a bonus, that run to the parts store should be enough to warm your engine, which will help ensure that all the old oil flows out when you open the drain plug.


As for tools, you’ll need a floor jack and at least a pair of jack stands. If you don’t have a floor jack, you can use a set of ramps, like we did. A wrench or socket will make quick work of that drain plug, and knowing the size(s) you need ahead of time is an expert move. You’ll be able to find the correct size online. An oil-filter wrench is super handy should you encounter a seized filter, and a drain pan and funnel will keep oil both old and new off your driveway.

So, ditch the oil change shops and start getting comfortable with the inner workings of your car in the process. We’re showing you how on Jake’s 2004 Acura RSX Type S but the process is pretty much the same on all modern cars.


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Not changing your oil is also a gateway drug. I used to do all my own oil changes. Then I met my wife’s van.

My wife’s van doesn’t have a canister oil filter. To get to the filter, you need to take 2-3 plastic panels out of the way. Then you need a special tool to loosen the canister the filter sits in. Then there are multiple O-rings that have to be fit into the oil filter and the canister that have to be held just so, unless you have special tools. For my first oil change, it took 2 hours of cussing, being coated in oil and making up lame home made contraptions to hold the o-rings in place while I got the filter on. Then when I was done, I had to take everything to a quick lube for disposal.

For the 2nd oil change, I just went to the quick lube and spent $10 extra to let them change the oil. They had the right tools and had changed about 10 similar PITA filters that day and knocked it out in 15 minutes.

Now, I have pretty much given up on wrenching on a car.  There’s a million excuses not to (bad back, bad knees, don’t have/can’t find the right tools), but ultimately it comes down to figuring it is usually not that much more to let someone else bust their knuckles.