Engine oil is the 'life blood' of your vehicle. Keeping your oil in working order determines whether your car will have a long and happy life or not. Every time you turn on your engine to start up the car, the engine oil is working hard to make sure your vehicle is running.
There are three primary functions that engine oil performs: lubrication, cooling, and protection. Firstly, oil serves to prevent engine components from grinding against each other. Engine oil can finish lubricating the bearings, crankshaft and pistons in less than seven seconds; During this lubrication cycle, oil also absorbs the heat which is produced by engine operations. Because of this heat absorption, remember that if you plan to change the engine oil, let the engine oil cool before draining it from the oil pan; Lastly, engine oil’s ultimate function is to protect the engine itself from damage. Therefore, if you change your oil regularly, your engine will have a longer life. (More information about motor oil can be found at the previous blog.)
Changing your motor oil by yourself saves a lot of money and is a lot more fulfilling because you won’t have to send your car to an auto repair store anymore. Learning this can increase your understanding for car mechanics which can help you solve other auto issues that you might run into down the road.
Here are the Top 10 most important tools needed for an oil change.
The most common tool used when changing motor oil is the combination wrench. This kind of wrench has both an open side and a closed side. The open end can be used to remove the wrench and position it on the nut. The other side can be used to strip the corners off the nut. A 13mm or a 15mm wrench is required when it comes to removing the most common drain plugs. These two sizes are the most commonly used lengths in car maintenance in general as well.
In addition to standard wrenches, you still need a torque wrench used to apply a specific torque to a bolt and an impact wrench which can be used to remove lug nuts.
Ratcheting wrenches are very similar to combination end wrenches. Both of them are used to tighten and loosen the drain plug. With ratcheting wrenches, you can do half turns, rotate it in the opposite direction and then do the other half of the turn. Compared to combination end wrenches, the latter one is much easier to work with.
The oil drain pan can be used to collect the waste oil when you remove the drain plug. If you do not prepare a container to collect the oil, oil will spill and stain your floor or turf.
There are basically two kinds of pans, with one having a deep saucer and the other one having a pour spout. If possible, you can create your own drain pan by simply cutting a coolant jug.
A light source is not a necessity, but it’s very helpful if you are working in a relatively dark area. There are also many dark crannies in a car, so a reliable light can help you see clearly while you try to check your car.
The autoAlert LED flashlight by Ingear is a multifunctional, innovated light that is highly recommended for working in dark conditions. The flashlight includes a wide-angle work light which is designed for any under-the-hood work and a magnetic base which can attach to the car so that you can work freely you’re your hands. Additionally, it can be used as a red strobe light to alert other vehicles during an emergency.
When refilling your engine oil through a small hole, you need a funnel to avoid spillage. The funnel, which can be threaded into the oil hole, is the perfect choice since you do not need to hold it with your hands.
When doing an oil change, you will need to replace the oil filter. It is usually screwed in really tight, so a special tool is required to remove it. An oil-filter wrench is a tool to remove spin-on oil filters which are difficult to grip, especially when covered with oil.
There are two basic types of filter wrenches: Band wrenches and Filter Cup wrenches. The former type has three sizes: small, medium and large, which are used for different sizes and brands of oil filters. The band is initially loosely fitted around the filter but when you apply the force, it tightens around the filter and allows you to remove it. However, the wrench may damage the filters if you do not use it properly. On the other hand, the filter cup wrench is a cup which can match a specific oil filter. The shortcoming of this kind of wrench is that it is more expensive compared with band wrenches and can only fit in one filter size. If you have more than one car, you will need to buy different ones to fit different oil filters.
Many new vehicles use “splash guards” to cover the bottom of their engines, which can prevent water and dirt from entering your engine compartment. You need to remove those protectors to get access to the drain plug and you may need other special tools to do so, like specialized sockets or square-bit screws. Simply check the brand and model of your vehicle, and look online for the right tools you need to purchase before you start changing the motor oil.
If you have vehicles like a BMW, the oil pump is a useful tool that we recommend that you use. These cars are designed to have a vacuum pump to suck out the oil through the tube. If you have an oil pump, especially an electric oil pump, it is much easier and cleaner to change your oil.
Depending on the type of vehicle you own, you might need a floor jack as well. You can easily crawl into the bottom of some taller vehicles like trucks, but you may also need floor jack to raise the vehicle so than you can lie beneath it. Most jacks can lift the vehicle over a foot, which gives you plenty of room to get under the vehicle and have a thorough check.
Before changing the motor oil, it is important to know the capacity of your engine so that you do not over or under the fill limit. Your vehicle owner manual will tell you the fluid types and all vehicle systems’ capacities. If you are still not sure about the capacity, consult with your dealership for more information.
So this is the Top 10 tools which will be helpful during an oil change. Hopefully you learned something new from this article. Depending on different types of vehicles, you may need additional items to help you conduct an oil change. If you aren’t sure how to solve some specific problems about your vehicle, check your own owner manual or even ask your car dealership.
None of us like to imagine that such tragic circumstances could happen to us. But wise drivers make the effort to prepare themselves for such a possibility, however remote it might seem.