Taking your vehicle for an oil change at your local auto shop will have the job done in a matter of minutes and have you back on the road, but if you're interested in doing this essential task yourself, you can do so. Changing your vehicle's oil isn't difficult, especially if you take the time to read the detailed steps for the project online. As with many projects, the ease of completing it increases when you have the right tools. You already know that you need a wrench and a drain pan, but here are some items that will help you get the job done with minimal struggles.
One of the challenges that you could face when you're changing your own oil is loosening the oil filter. Although it's often just tightened snugly by hand, the size of the filter (and your oil-slicked fingers) can sometimes make it difficult to loosen. The simplest way to get this part of the job done is with a strap wrench. This special type of wrench has a durable rubber strap that you set to your desired length and then pull on the wrench's handle to loosen the oil filter with ease.
Shallow Oil Pan
While you can technically collect the old oil as it drains in an empty plastic container of any type, it's best to have the right tool for the job. You might wish to use plastic kitty litter tub, for example, but you'll have trouble fitting it into place under the oil pan's drain because if the tub's high walls. It's far easier to buy a shallow oil pan. This type of pan is just a few inches in height, meaning that you'll have no trouble fitting it beneath your car — and then sliding it back out again once it's full of oil. Some pans even come with covers that you snap into place afterward to avoid spilling oil.
You should be able to reach under your vehicle to loosen the oil drain plug, but doing so is significantly easier when the front of your vehicle is raised off the ground a few inches. Investing in a set of tire ramps will help you get the job done quicker. Position the ramps in front of the car's front tires, move the car up onto the ramps and then reach the oil pan without having to contort your body. You should also invest in a set of tire chocks to place behind the tires to prevent the vehicle from rolling off the ramps.
For more information, contact Jack's Auto Service Center or a similar location.