I think its a good idea for a diy’er inclined owner to change their own oil. Not so much b/c its gonna save a boatload of money vs having it done at JiffyLube or their local inde shop, but b/c of these benefits:
- You’ll warm the engine first, then allow plenty of time for the old oil to drain out.
- While the oil is draining out you’ll inspect the underside of the car for any problems, especially the cv boots.
- And you’ll lube the door hinges and hood latch.
- And you’ll top off any other fluids which are low.
- You’ll know the brand and specs for the oil that was used, and keep the receipts in your car file, w/date of oil change and miles on the odometer.
- You’ll know what brand of oil filter was used, and keep the receipts.
- You’ll double check the oil level on the dipstick is at the full mark before starting the engine, and again after you’ve driven a few miles, and again the next morning.
- You’ll look carefully for any signs of leaks, either from the oil filter, or from the drain plug before starting the engine, and after.
- You’ll know the torque spec for the drain plug & won’t overtighten it or cross the threads.
As far the procedure, it varies car to car. Ramps are the easiest way for me. It’s a good idea imo to replace the drain plug gasket w/ a new drain plug gasket w/every oil change. Buy 10 of them next time you visit the dealership parts department. If you’re objective is to “top off the other fluids”, then no draining or flushing is required, just add enough to bring it to the full mark. The only one I don’t recommend to top off to the full mark is the brake fluid, b/c the amount it is down gives you an estimate of how much wear you have on your brakes. And when you replace your brake pads, if you’ve added brake fluid in the meantime, the fluid will overflow the bottle and make a mess. When I change oil I put a piece of vinyl flooring material under the car, which makes it easy to wipe any oil drips from. I wear latex gloves and keep a roll of paper towels on hand. You can save yourself some clean-up time by lining the oil catch pan with a plastic garbage bag liner. Then when done pour the old oil into a container for disposal, and put the old filter into the plastic garbage bag, tie a knot to prevent oil leaking out, and toss the bag with the old filter into the garbage can.
I don’t pre-fill the filter. MY reasoning is that the oil from the pre-fill area goes directly into the engine when you start it. It doesn’t go through the filter first. If you accidentally get debris in that area while pre-filling, it could damage the engine. It’s a risk benefits ratio thing. Not pre-filling to me is the better compromise.
I think the “wrench off nut” refers to a type of oil filter design where a nut is welded to the oil filter. Then in theory you can remove the oil filter with a standard wrench or socket/ratchet. In practice I’d guess it is easier to just remove an oil filter using an oil filter wrench. The reason is b/c the oil filter wrench applies torque on the whole diameter of the oil filter, rather than just a small nut. Suggest to ask someone who’s done this before to be on hand to provide assistance the first time. They’ll make sure you drive the car up the ramps safely, and stop before going over the top, and don’t accidentally remove the drain plug without the pan underneath the car first, don’t accidentally drain the transmission fluid out instead of the oil, stuff like that.