CAR MAINTENANCE TIPS: HOW TO CHANGE OIL
Just follow these steps to do it yourself.
By Kathy Sena with Ford Senior Master Technician Jim Twitchell
Your Ford Dealer Service Center offers fast, inexpensive oil changes. But if you’re interested in DIY car-maintenance tips and how to change oil, read on.
1. Buy the oil and filter. Check your owner's manual for the recommended Motorcraft® motor oil and Motorcraft® filter. The amount of oil is important, as both under- and over-filling can cause problems.
2. Safely jack up your vehicle. You must raise the vehicle so you can get under it to drain the old oil. This can be done with a floor jack and jack stands. Use four stands to keep the vehicle level; if you lift only the front of the vehicle, some oil may remain in the pan.
3. Remove the plastic engine cover (if you have one). This cover, on the underside of the car, helps with air flow. But not all vehicles have one. Once it’s removed, you should see the oil-drain plug, located on one side of the vehicle’s oil pan, and the oil filter.
4. Position your drain pan. Place it about a foot away from where the oil will drain out.
5. Pull the plug or “bolt.” When the drain plug is removed, the oil will gush out at an angle. As the oil drains, the stream will shorten and you may need to move the pan in closer.
6. Return the oil-drain plug. Once all the oil has drained out, replace the plug and tighten it securely by hand. Don’t over-tighten.
7. Remove the old oil filter. Move the drain pan as needed to catch any additional oil, and check that the old O-ring has come off with the filter. The new filter will need to make a good seal, so be sure that nothing is in the way.
8. Insert the new filter. With oil on your finger, lubricate the new O-ring to help the filter slide into place. Tighten it as much as possible by hand.
9. Wipe up any oil from around the filter and plug.
10. Put the engine cover back on, if applicable.
11. Remove the jack stands and lower the vehicle.
12. Open the hood and pull out the dipstick. This acts as a vent, helping the oil to drain.
13. Remove the fill cap. Both the dipstick handle and the fill cap are generally yellow, or have yellow lettering, to make them easy to spot.
14. Pour the new oil into the filler neck, using a funnel. At this point, use about a quarter to a half quart less than the amount of oil recommended for your vehicle.
15. Run the engine for about 15 seconds, then turn the engine off. Unusual noises or leaks indicate a problem, and the cause should be investigated.
16. Add more oil as needed. Stop when you’ve reached the “full” level shown on your dipstick.
17. Recycle your used oil and filter. Do an online search for the phrase “hazardous waste disposal,” along with your ZIP code, to find your nearest drop-off location.
18. Repeat in a few months. Check your owner’s manual for the proper oil-change interval for your vehicle. On newer Ford models, the Intelligent Oil-Life Monitor® will gauge remaining oil life and alert you when it’s time to change the oil. Also, Ford’s SYNC® Vehicle Health Report provides diagnostic and maintenance information, including oil-change notifications. In the past, three months or 3,000 miles was the recommended interval, but now 7,000 to 10,000 miles is common—so you probably won’t need to do this again too soon.