Changing your vehicle's oil is a necessary part of maintenance, but there isn't one right way to do it. Many people choose to take their vehicles to a dealership or auto repair shop when they need their oil changed. Some drivers prefer to change their oil themselves. At Apple Nissan, we want our customers to have all the information they need to care for their vehicles, which is why we've compiled this list of steps, tools, and materials you can use to change your Nissan's oil on your own.

Gather the Necessary Materials

Image via Flickr by Ivan Radic

The first step is to gather all the materials you'll need to change your vehicle's oil correctly and safely. You're going to want to buy at least four quarts of new oil to ensure you have enough to replace what you're draining. To know which oil is best for your engine, refer to your Nissan owner's manual. You'll also need a new oil filter to replace your old one and remove contaminants that might dirty your engine. Ramps or jacks are also necessary for lifting up your vehicle so you can access its underside and find the oil drain plug.

To drain your oil with minimal messiness, have an oil drain pan ready. You may also want to carry an old towel or rag with you to wipe up small messes. It's also a good idea to have a pair of rubber gloves on to protect your skin from chemicals and heat. In terms of tools, you'll need a socket wrench to screw and unscrew your oil drain plug and a funnel to guide in the new oil. Once you've acquired these materials, the next step is to get your vehicle ready for maintenance.

Prepare Your Vehicle

Next, it's time to prepare your vehicle for the oil change. Since the oil change requires you to have access to the vehicle's underside, you'll have to find a way to lift the front end of your vehicle high enough that you can fit beneath it and see what you're doing. You can use ramps to elevate your vehicle or floor jacks to lift it up. Once your vehicle is lifted, open the hood and remove the oil cap from the engine. Search for the oil drain plug on the vehicle's underside and place your drain pan directly beneath it.

Let the Old Oil Drain

With your socket wrench, your next step is to loosen the oil drain plug until you can completely remove it from the vehicle's underside. The oil will drain out of the vehicle as soon as you take out the plug, so make sure to have your drain pan ready. Let the oil drain out until there's none left. Grab your rag or towel and wipe the opening of the drain plug to remove any excess oil. Once the opening is all cleaned up, grab your socket wrench and screw the plug securely back into place.

Change the Oil Filter

After you've screwed in the oil drain plug, the next step is to change your oil filter. Oil filters are important for ensuring that the oil that cycles through your engine is always clean. To do this, start by locating the oil filter below the engine. Once you find it, place your oil drain pan directly beneath it. With your hand, unscrew the oil filter from its place if you're able to do so. You can use a wrench or pliers to loosen the oil filter if it's too tight to remove by hand. 

Once you have the oil filter completely free from the vehicle, set it aside. With your rubber gloves on, dip a finger into some of the new oil and use it to coat the washer on the new oil filter. Now that your new filter is ready to use, you can screw it back into its designated place. With your new oil filter all set up, the next step is to add your new oil and get the whole system running as it should.

Add the New Oil

The next step is to add the oil into your Nissan. Start by grabbing your funnel and placing it into the oil hole underneath the hood. Slowly pour the new oil into the funnel and make sure to replace the cap when you're done. Start your vehicle's engine to check for the oil change light. If it turns off, this is a good sign that you've successfully replaced the oil.

With the engine still on, check underneath the vehicle for possible oil leaks. If everything looks good, turn the engine off and leave your Nissan alone for about 10 minutes so the oil can properly settle. Navigate to the hood once again and use the dipstick to ensure that your vehicle has enough oil. If your oil levels look good, you can begin lowering your vehicle from its ramps or floor jacks.

Safely Dispose of Old Oil

The final step when changing the oil on your Nissan is to responsibly and safely dispose of your old oil. To do this, pour the drained oil you collected in your pan into the oil bottle you just emptied into your vehicle. With your old oil and filter in tow, find a collection site in your area that is properly equipped to take in such materials, such as a recycling center or local auto shop.

With these steps, anyone can take the necessary measures to change their own vehicle's oil. Being able to change your own oil can improve your understanding of how your vehicle works and potentially save you time and money. The next time the "change oil" light turns on inside your Nissan, you can feel confident that you know how to correctly and safely change your oil on short notice. And if you'd rather have the professionals take care of your vehicle's maintenance needs, feel free to schedule a service appointment online or contact us at Apple Nissan of York today. 

Categories: Service, Parts

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