How to be a pro at changing your oil

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Changing the oil in your car isn't actually as intimidating as some other aspects of auto maintenance. While many people will choose to pay a professional to perform a quick check and change of their car's oil every few months, you may be surprised at how simple it is to complete the task yourself.

Here is an easy checklist you can follow step by step. Once you get the hang of it you may never pay someone to change your oil again.

Before you start

It is important to remember that before you do anything you need to make sure your vehicle hasn't been driven in at least an hour and the hood feels cool to the touch.

Find the plug

Underneath your car you'll find a large nut or plug located under the oil pan at the bottom of the engine. You may have to jack up the car or crawl underneath to reach it. If you've never used a jack before, you'll want to ask a professional or ask someone who knows how to use one to help you.

Place a catcher

Make sure you put some kind of container under the drain plug to catch the oil. You'll want one large enough to catch all of the oil.

Drain the oil

Protect your hand with a rag or some paper towels, and be ready to move your hand out of the way. Unscrew the plug so the oil drains from the engine into the container.

Unscrew the filter

Remove the cap from the oil filter hole at the top of your engine and unscrew the oil filter counterclockwise. Use a wrench if you can't do it by hand.

Out with the old

Remove the oil filter. The filter will have oil in it, so be careful not to spill when you remove it. Pour the oil from the filter into a drain pain. Wrap the filter in newspaper once it's empty, and set it aside to take to a recycling centre.

Open the new

Open a new bottle of oil and dip a finger into it. Use the oil to moisten the gasket on the top of the new filter.

Replace the filter

Screw the new filter into the engine where the old one was. Follow directions on the filter, or turn it gently until it seats then give it another three-quarter turn clockwise.

Tighten the plug

Replace the oil drain plug and use an adjustable wrench to tighten it. If your vehicle uses an oil drain plug gasket, make sure the old one has been removed and lay a new gasket on the pan before you replace the plug.

Pour the oil

Funnel all but one quart of the fresh oil into the oil filter hole. Pour slowly to allow the oil to run down.

Run the engine

Replace the filter cap and turn on the engine for about a minute. Check for leaks from the oil drain plug and around the filter.

Take a break

Shut off the engine and wait 5 to 10 minutes, then check the oil level again. Remove the oil dipstick and wipe it with a clean, lint-free rag. Now re-dip and check the level again.

Top it up

Continue adding oil a little at a time. Keep checking the oil level with the dipstick until it reads 'full'.

Test it out

Remove the drain pan from under the car and take it for a short drive. Circling a few blocks should be enough.

Check the stick

Turn off the car and let the oil settle down again for 5 to 10 minutes, then recheck the dipstick. If the stick still reads 'full', then you have successfully changed your oil!

Another part of being a responsible car owner is to make sure you've got a good auto insurance plan. PC®auto insurance compares rates from up to nine different auto insurance companies, to give you the best rate we can find for your situation. Get your no-obligation quoteright now.

How to make a claim

Call 1-877-251-8656 to speak with a Claims Advisor.

Renewing your policy

Call 1-877-251-8652 for information regarding policy renewal.

Buying a new policy

Call 1-866-660-9035 for information on obtaining a quote.

Need help?

Take a look at the top 5 FAQs:

  • What are my choices in terms of auto coverage?

    What are my choices in terms of auto coverage?

    If you own or drive a vehicle in Canada, you must be insured. Different provinces have different requirements, but the four mandatory elements of auto insurance are:

    1. Liability - if you cause an accident and someone sues you
    2. Accident benefits - if you or someone in your vehicle is hurt in an accident
    3. Direct compensation – property damage (Ontario only)- if your vehicle gets damaged (and it's determined you're not at-fault or only partly at-fault)
    4. Uninsured motorist - if you're in an accident with an uninsured or hit-and-run driver
  • How do I reduce my insurance costs?

    How do I reduce my insurance costs?

    There are several things you can do to reduce your insurance premium costs:

    1. Work on your driving record
      Here's an easy, yet effective way to bring down your insurance costs: build a consistent accident and conviction-free track record with an insurance company.
    2. Choose your automobile wisely
      Do your research before you invest in a new car. Read consumer reports, and check with your insurance company to find out which cars tend to be targets for theft and vandalism. Remember, if you buy a car with a high theft rate, your premium will be higher.
    3. Adjust how you use your car
      By adjusting the way you use your vehicle, you can also bring down the cost of your insurance rates. If you live in a metropolitan area:
      • can you take the subway, train or bus to work?
      • has your job changed, or have you moved recently?
      • do you use your automobile to drive a short distance to work?
      • does your vehicle get used for low annual kilometers?
        If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be entitled to lower insurance costs. Another consideration is whether you let others use your car. It is sometimes possible to exclude certain high-risk drivers from your policy so that good drivers are not penalized with a higher premium.
    4. Choose a higher deductible
      If you choose a higher deductible up front, your premiums will be lower.
    5. Review your coverage
      Take a closer look at your coverage to make sure you're not paying for things you don't need.
  • How can I earn PC® points?

    How can I earn PC® points?

    When you use your President's Choice Financial® MasterCard® to pay your PC auto insurance premium, you'll get 20 PC points per dollar of your premium. If you use your President's Choice Financial bank card to pay your PC auto insurance premium, you'll get 10 PC points per dollar of your premium.

  • Are other drivers insured to drive my car?

    Are other drivers insured to drive my car?

    Yes, as long as he/she has your permission to drive the vehicle, has a valid driver's licence and has not been specifically excluded from driving the vehicle. However, all licensed drivers in your household must be listed on your policy—regardless of how often they use your vehicle.

  • What is a deductible?

    What is a deductible?

    A deductible is the amount that you agree to pay towards the repair or replacement of your vehicle before your insurance pays the rest. You choose your deductible amount when you purchase your auto insurance. The higher your deductible, the lower your premium.

See all Auto Insurance FAQs

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