How to Change an Oil Filter

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Oil filter (Photo: @kinek00 via Twenty20)
Sure, you know you have to change your oil, but do you know you have to change your oil filter? New oil won’t do you much good if your filter also needs changing. Here’s how to change your oil and replace your oil filter.

Run the engine

Running the engine warms up the oil, making it easier to drain. It will also make contaminants circulate in the oil instead of staying lodged in the pump or oil pan.

Remove the old oil

Before you can change the oil filter, you will have to get rid of the old oil. For this, locate the oil drain plug and use a wrench to loosen it. Once it is loose enough, you should be able to remove it by hand. Make sure to place a pan beneath it before removing the plug and have it ready to catch the oil. If you are having a hard time locating the oil drain plug, consult your owner’s manual.

Replace plug

Now that the old oil is drained, replace the oil plug and tighten it by hand. Ensure that it is not cross-threaded and then secure it with a wrench.

Remove the old filter

Although you’ve drained the oil, the old filter could still contain hot oil. Place the oil pan under the old filter and carefully use your oil filter wrench to remove the old filter. Clean the mounting surface on the engine with a rag. Before moving on to the next step, make sure the old filter’s gasket isn’t stuck to the mounting surface.

Place the new filter

Before you can put the new filter in place, lubricate it by lightly coating its rubber seal with fresh oil. Now, screw on the new filter by hand. Make sure not to over-tighten so that you don’t deform the rubber gasket.

Pour the new oil

Pour in the new oil according to your vehicle’s specifications. Once full, replace the cap.

Run the engine

Run the engine for a few minutes and check for leaks. If everything goes well, there shouldn’t be any; however, if you happen to see one, turn off the engine and identify where it’s coming from.

Check the oil level

The last thing you need to do is check the oil level. For this, remove the dipstick, wipe it clean, dip it, and carefully remove it one more time. The oil should reach the “full” mark. If it doesn’t, add more oil.

Dispose of the old filter

It’s not a good idea to throw the old filter in the closest garbage can. Instead, dispose of it at an authorized drop-off center. If an oil filter is left to break down in a landfill, it could cause unnecessary damage to the environment.