Disclaimer: Collective Bias, Inc. and Quaker State compensated me for this post, but I also learned a heckuva lot through the experience! You can catch more of what they’re up to on their website, or their Facebook and Twitter accounts! All tools supplied by myself were purchased at Walmart Canada.
But yes, the opinions are mine alone — if you’re looking for me, you can find me over here getting my grown-up on, learning what I can to do this “adulting” thing like a champ! You can catch me on my Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube accounts!
I wouldn’t exactly call my upbringing “sheltered”, but there were a number of things around the house that my parents usually took care of, not really trusting my brothers and I to manage them correctly. Cooking meals. Hanging Christmas lights. Mowing the lawn. As children, our focus was to do well in our studies so we could perform well in our adult lives… but adult Casey realizes in retrospect that perhaps he needed more balance.
School doesn’t teach us everything* — it doesn’t teach us how to manage a household budget so we don’t suffer the ills of credit card debt; it doesn’t teach us how important it is to invest early to secure a better future. Adulthood is rife with so many curveballs and undocumented lessons that it often takes us decades to get our acts together, forever learning on the fly how to do things that’ll improve our lives.
And for me, changing my oil was yet another skill to add to the list.
Though I knew I’d be changing my oil from the comfort of our driveway, I knew that we likely paid mechanics to do it for a reason, and sought advice from my neighbour Jon who used to do this for a living on what I should do. I mean, you can watch YouTube videos all you want, but there’s really no substitute for someone walking you through the steps, pointing you in the right direction when you start going astray. So over I went, looking to learn a thing or two about giving our SUV the TLC it needs to keep it in GR8 condition!
But when Jon started breaking out the hardware for this grand operation, I’ve gotta say — I was really glad I didn’t try doing this on my own! He told me to bring two things:
- The Quaker State 5W-20 motor oil (I obviously checked my owner’s manual to figure out what kind of oil I’d need); and
- The Quaker State oil filter that’d fit my 2011 Ford Edge (there’ll usually be a reference guide or associate in the store to help you figure out which one you’ll need)
A good $50 or so invested. But what he brought to the table was:
- two car jacks
- a jack support
- socket wrenches
- an oil filter wrench
- plastic tarp to put on the driveway
- a grease pan to hold all the old oil
- a funnel to get the oil in the right place
I think it’s easy to say one of us was prepared for the task at hand, and it’s safe to say it wasn’t the one who showed up in a dress shirt and jeans to get it done!
Equipped with the right stuff for the job, Jon wasn’t about to do the work for me — he was my teacher, not hired help, so I rolled up my cufflinked sleeves and got to it.
How to Change Your Own Oil in 19 Easy Steps!!!
- Knowing that this could get messy, you’re likely going to want to lay a plastic sheet down wherever you’ll be working. Drive onto this sheet with your vehicle and park, making sure to put the parking brake on so the car won’t roll while it’s hoisted up.
- Make sure you’ve got everything I listed above! You might not need it all, but it’ll make your life a heckuva lot easier!
- Figure out how much clearance you have under your vehicle — you’re going to want enough room to comfortably sidle in and out of that space to do some things.
- If you need more room (which will be most of y’all), get a jack on each side of the car under the strongest part of the undercarriage — i.e. not a piece made from plastic moulding. Once located, jack the vehicle up a decent height, put the jack support underneath next to the jack, and gently lower the car onto the support. Make sure the support’s sturdy — no one wants a vehicle falling on them! (NSFL!)
- With the car in position, pop the hood (or wherever else your engine might be located on your bizarro car) and make sure you know where the oil filter and oil filler hole are located.
- Put some gloves on — it’s a good idea. Definitely a good idea.
- Get under the vehicle and put that pail in place to catch the old oil that’ll flow out of your engine — but make sure it’s sizeable; the oil’s going to come out in an arc, not straight down, so you’re going to want to account for that! (FUN FACT: Clean oil’s a golden brown. As you run your engine, the oil cycles through and keeps residue from accumulating — go too long without an oil change, and that oil’s coming out pitch black. You want to change your oil long before that point!
- Unscrew the drain plug — it may be on tight enough that you’ll need a socket wrench to pull it off (pun!), but you’re going to want to be careful — that plug could come out at any time, so make sure you’ve positioned your hands to avoid the oil that’ll come out — not get covered in it.
- Let that bad boy drain for a good 20-30 minutes to make sure all that old gunk that could slow your engine down is out, leaving plenty of room for the clean stuff you’ll pour in!
- Meanwhile, remove the cap for your oil filler hole at the top of your engine and unscrew the oil filter (using an oil filter wrench if you need to), being fully aware that it’ll have old oil in it. Drain it into the oil pan!
- Wrap the old oil filter in some newspaper and put it aside to drop off at a recycling centre
- Open your new oil filter and set it aside somewhere handy — you’re going to need it in a sec!
- Dip a (glove-tipped) finger into the new oil — use said finger to rub the oil on the rubber ring at the filter’s rim
- Screw the new filter onto the spot where your old one was — twist until the filter’s snug, then give it another three-quarter turn or so. A mistake many make is twisting the filter on too tightly, not realizing that the rubber ring on the filter absorbs oil, designed to create a seal between it and the vehicle. If you overdo it, it’ll be a huge paid to take it off the next time, so watch yourself!
- When all that old oil is drained from your engine, wipe off any excess oil around the drainage hole and surrounding area, then put that drain plug back in, making sure it’s nice and snug. You’re about to put a lot of oil back into your engine, so trust me — you don’t want that plug popping out and making all sorts of messes!
- The next part is a little trial and error — you want to pour a generous amount of oil into the engine, but not too much, and then replace the filler cap, running the engine for 30-60 seconds. Then shut it off, give the oil 5-10 minutes to settle into the oil pan and check the level with the dipstick, like so:
- Remove the dipstick
- Wipe it down with a clean, lint-free rag
- Put the dipstick back into its hole
- Take the dipstick back out and check the level
- If the oil has not reached the “Full” line on the dipstick, add a bit more oil and repeat the checking process until you’ve hit “Full”
- Remove the drainage pan from beneath the vehicle — slowly — and take the car for a little spin! (You literally only need to go around the block a couple of times.)
- Let the oil settle another 5-10 minutes and check the levels one more time. If the level’s still at “Full”, congratulations — you have successfully changed your oil!
- Carefully pour the old oil into an old oil container (of sufficient capacity) and bag it up with the old oil filter so you can drop it off at an auto centre or hazardous materials recycling centre to dispose of properly!
THE VERDICT: A Successful Quaker State Quest!
While it’s cool to think that I’ve gone from three decades without driving to changing my oil in the span of three years, it’s a skill I likely won’t employ anytime soon. We have less leisure time than ever these days, and I’d be more prone to hiring a good garage to change it than to do it myself! If you want something to last, you need to invest a sufficient amount of time into caring for it, and the hours it’d take to do the job properly would likely be better spent playing with my kids while they’re still young enough to let me.
But it gave me a new skill to consider should the Zombie Apocalypse come to fruition (see The 2016 100 #76 — building an emergency preparedness kit for the family), and helped re-establish a friendship with neighbours we don’t see nearly enough.
Quaker State, I’d say this is a job well done!
So with another notch on my grown-up belt, I drove our Edge home, fresh from its maintenance, and returned to the rest of my life. As with most things, changing one’s oil is something I recommend everyone try at least once — things often seem much harder than they actually are, and Quaker State gave me just enough of a kick in the butt to remind me!
And with that, I wish you all amazing weekends! May your vehicles take you all from Point A to B without a hitch, and if not? Well — then may Quaker State do for you exactly what it did for me.
Until the next,