Changing the engine oil and oil filter
is arguably the most important part of servicing your car. Using the correct type of engine oil and keeping it in good condition by changing it at the correct intervals will protect your engine from premature wear and keep it running smoothly and efficiently.
Before you get started I can't stress enough how important it is (especially on new cars) to use the correct engine oil. Gone are the days where you can just put the cheapest 10w40 oil into it. Modern engines, especially ones fitted with Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF's) use the engine oil as an integral part of the emission control systems. Using the wrong oil can not only damage the DPF but the engine itself and it can result in total engine failure - the bill for which will land at your door if the wrong type of oil is discovered in your engine.
To pick the right grade of oil for your car use the TOTAL oil finder
. It will not only tell you which engine oil your car needs but how much of it you will need.
Tools & Equipment Required:
- Engine oil
- Oil filter
- Sump plug washer
- Oil filter removal wrench (for spin-on style oil filters)
- Oil drain pan
- Jack & axle stands or ramps
- Socket set inc extension and torx bits
- Torque wrench (ideal but not absolutely essential)
It's a good idea to warm the engine up a bit (not so much that you will burn your hands) before you start the oil change as warm oil will flow out more easily. You will also need a level surface to work on.
Never work on a car or go underneath a car that is supported by a jack, make sure the car is firmly supported by axle stands. As an extra precaution you can also lay the spare wheel on the ground under the raised car so there is something solid in the way should the worst happen.
The video below shows you the step-by step process of changing your engine oil and oil filter and lists the tools we needed on this particular car (the tools you need may vary slightly depending on your car make and model) The car we used for the demo was a 2005 Volkswagen Passat with the popular 1.9TDi engine, one of the most common engine on the road, you'll find this engine has been fitted at some stage to most models from VW, Audi, Skoda & Seat.
If you don't have this engine then what you see under your bonnet will of course look a bit different, but don't worry, the basic principals of changing the engine oil and oil filter are basically the same for most cars. If you search YouTube it's pretty likely that you will find a 'How To' video for your specific make and model of car.
Check your levels
keeping your oil level topped up is as important as changing the oil at the correct intervals. Most engines actually use a certain amount of oil. Some engines will use quite a lot and some very little. It wouldn't be uncommon for certain engines, even new ones to use up to a litre of oil per month! Engine oil is not a 'fit and forget' product, you really do need to check it on a regular basis, every couple of weeks would be our recommendation. If an engine runs low on oil it can cause all kinds of damage in a very short amount of time. It's a good idea to keep a 1 litre top up bottle of oil in the boot to avoid paying the astronomical prices garage forecourts charge for engine oil. This very weekend I didn't heed my own advice and ended up paying almost €20 for 1 litre of non-branded engine oil (more than double the cost of the equivalent TOTAL product on our site) because my car had almost run out.
At MicksGarage.com we stock Total, Castrol & Carlube engine oils. We have a full range for all makes and models of car and light commercials and regularly run special offers, discounts and promotions, so don't get stung like I did! stock up when the price is right!