in partnership
(Image: John Prentice)

Bored? Change your oil!

We're calling this the "Auto Basics with with John Prentice" series! First he taught us how to wash our car - the right way, and now he's taking us through changing your oil. Because you can't (and shouldn't) put off oil changes until it's safe to get back out there!

Is your car due for an oil change? Have you been putting it off because you don't want to stray too far from the house? Good news, you can do it yourself! Changing the oil in your car's engine regularly is one of the best ways to ensure your vehicle will be running strong for years to come. And it's pretty easy.

Every car is different, but I made a retro-tastic training video explaining the basics to get you started (click the arrow in the photo above). Take your time, follow the directions, be safe, keep sand and grit away from your tools, and the inside of your engine, and it'll be ok. You can do this!

Warning: It's common knowledge within the car nut community that your first DIY oil change can be a sort of gateway to the greater auto repair hobby/addiction. Once you get a little grease under your fingernails, you might start taking the rest of your car apart. You've been warned.

What you'll need

  • funnel
  • basic mechanics' tools
  • floor jack
  • jack stands, ramps or lift (be safe)
  • drain pan
  • the correct amount of the correct oil for your car
  • new oil filter (vehicle specific)
  • dipstick (some new cars don't have one)
  • clean rags
  • shop manual

A good place to purchase all these items together is an auto parts store; your local grocer might also stock a small collection of oil and filters. Be sure to do this job safely and correctly, failing to do so can result in seizing your car's engine or other problems including injury or death. Be safe. Be smart. Have fun!