Changing the engine oil yourself is a great way to save money on car maintenance. We often have members ask what tools I need to change oil and filter on my car.
To help our readers, we have put together a list of the most commonly used tools to change the engine oil on a car.
1. Oil filter wrench
You need an oil filter wrench to remove the oil filter. If you know the size of the oil filter, the best oil filter wrench to use is a cap design that sits on the filter. If you don't, you can use a universal oil filter wrench.
There are several oil filter wrench designs, such as Three leg oil filter wrench, Rubber strap oil wrench, Oil filter pliers, chain oil filter wrench.
Our recommendation is to use oil filter pliers that have a wide application and cover almost all different filters designed with the exception of certain European cars that require a special tool.
2. Oil Drain Pan
You will need an oil pan to collect all the old oil. Make sure the capacity of the drain pain is larger than the oil in your engine.
For example, don't buy a five-quart oil catch pan if you know your engine holds seven quarts.
Don't bother buying mechanic's gloves for changing the oil on your car. They will get dirty, and you will never use them more than once.
Instead, get a box of latex gloves that you can use over and over.
4. Mechanic Toolset - Metric
You will need a socket set with a 10mm-19mm socket and ratchet. The engine splash shield is typically held in place with 10mm bolts.
In some cases, it is held in place by plastic retainers.
You will also need a 13mm, 15mm, or 17 mm socket to remove the oil drain pan.
If you don't have a good toolset, spend a few minutes reading our article on Choosing the best toolset for DIY auto repair.
5. Ramps or Floor Jack
Car ramps are handy if you start with DIY auto repair.
Even if you use ramps, you should still place jack stands under the car to secure it and wheel chocks to prevent the vehicle from rolling back.
6. Jack Stands
Jack stands are a must. Do not get under a car if it is not supported by jack stands. Always secure the vehicle with jack stands.
7. Torque Wrench
Using a torque wrench to tighten the oil drain plug is essential if you are new to changing the engine oil. It is easy to strip the threads if you're over-tightening the bolt. Another common problem with beginners is that the drain plug doesn't get tightened enough, leading to oil leaks. In some cases, the drain plugs come off completely, which can be catastrophic, especially if you continue to run the engine with no oil.
A digital torque wrench is very easy to use and strongly recommended for beginners.
Torque, the oil drain plug needs to be torqued between 25 to 30 foot-pounds.
While using a funnel may not always be necessary, some engines have the oil fill hole so low that a long funnel is required.
If the oil cap is at the top of the engine and it isn't a windy day, place a rag around the oil fill hole, and you will be able to add engine oil without a funnel.
9. Engine Oil
Read the owner's manual to determine what oil grade and viscosity the automaker recommend for your car. It may also suggest different oil depending on whether you live in a hot or cold climate.
The most important thing is to use oil that's the proper viscosity for your car's engine. Also, if full synthetic oil is required, switching to conventional oil or semi-synthetic blends is not recommended.
10. Oil Filter
Filter manufacturers sell several filters, including the good, better, and best. If you change from mineral oil to synthetic oil or want to change engine oil less frequently, you may want to invest in a better-quality filter and full synthetic oil.
Use this cross-reference oil filter tool to determine which filter fits your vehicle.
You will need a new oil and oil filter. Synthetic oil is strongly recommended. To find out the oil grade, look at the cap of the engine filler hole. It will say 0W-20 or 5W-30.
You can also find the required oil type and capacity in your owner's manual.
When you go to your auto parts store, they have catalogs where you can look up the oil filter you need.
How to change engine oil yourself
Is changing your oil worth it?
- With the expectation of luxury and sports cars, changing the engine oil yourself is not cheaper than going to an auto repair shop. The first time you do your oil change, you may need to buy a few tools that range you in the $100 to $200 range. Knowing exactly what's in your engine and the pride of knowing you did the oil change yourself makes DIY oil changes worth the time, money, and the initial investment on the tools you need. While you may first need to invest in tools, that investment pays for itself if you plan to change your oil regularly or do other car repairs.
Which oil is better, 5w30 or 5w40?
In general, 5w30 is one of the best multi-grade oils for various temperature specters. It is also more fuel-efficient. 5w40 is a thick motor oil at higher temperatures and is generally better for higher mileage vehicles. For this reason, it is most common on diesel engines but can also be used on gasoline cars. 5W-40 may have a slight (insignificant) impact on the fuel economy.