Changing your own oil is a service for which you should never pay. It doesn't matter if you consider yourself to be a hopeless case when it comes to working under the hood, this job is so simple that anyone--including you--can do it. Pocket the $20 or so you'll save and go out to dinner or to the movies with the satisfied feeling of having earned it by changing the oil on your Ford Freestar minivan.
Things You'll Need
- 6 qts. oil
- Oil filter
- Oil filter wrench
- Oil collecting container
- Car jack
- Jack stands
Changing Your Own Oil
Plan on a couple of expenses if this is your first time changing the oil on your Ford Freestar. They will more than pay for themselves over the course of their useful life span. First, look around your garage for an oil filter wrench and an oil collecting container. These are the type of objects that get tucked away into corners for years. If none are found, head down to your local auto store and buy these items. Get a container that can collect old oil and then be sealed and taken to a recycling plant. Get yourself some jack stands as well. These will support your car once it has been jacked up off the ground. These are a good idea, as depending simply on your car jack can result in slippage. Many people are seriously injured each year when their jack fails.
Buy 6 qts. of above-average motor oil. Go synthetic if you like, just don't buy the bottom-of-the-line stuff. Finally, buy an oil filter. Simply tell the clerk behind the counter the year of your Freestar, and he will give you the proper filter.
Drive the Freestar for about five miles to warm up the oil. Find a flat place to park your Freestar. The garage is ideal, but if that isn't possible, find as flat an area as you can. Jack your car up so that the front end is off the ground. Place the jack stands under the car for safety. Spread newspaper under the car.
Remove the oil cap where you normally add engine oil. This will greatly speed the draining of the oil. Locate the drain plug on the bottom of the engine oil pan on the underside of your vehicle. The plug will be a hexagonal head that can be removed easily with the proper ratchet set or with some difficulty using a wrench. The hex will be between 14 and 17 mm depending on the year of your Freestar.
Position your oil collecting container and remove the plug, carefully setting aside the washer that was under the plug. You will get some oil on your hands at this point, but remember, oil isn't corrosive, and you'll be fine if it stays on your skin for an hour or so. Just wash with hot soapy water at some point, and you'll be fine.
Give the oil plenty of time to drain. It will gush out initially but drip out for a good 45 minutes after that. It isn't critical, but if you have the time, let it drip until the dripping stops. While that is happening, slip the oil filter wrench over the oil filter and loosen it by tugging counterclockwise. Remove the filter and put the new one in by hand, then tighten it with the oil filter wrench. You just saved yourself the $15 markup most oil change stations charge for a new oil filter. Pour any oil in the old filter into the drain pan and set the used filter aside.
Replace the washer and drain plug using your ratchet set or wrench. Tighten it by hand as much as possible, then give it a few twists with the socket or wrench until it feels as if it is in there tightly.
If you were using a drain pan, get a funnel and a plastic bottle of some kind, and transfer the oil into the bottle, sealing the bottle afterward.
Leave the newspaper, but lower your Freestar and remove the jack and jack stands. Pour 5 qts. of oil into the oil receptacle, and put the sixth quart in your trunk in case you need it down the road. Check your oil level using the dipstick. It will read high at this point because your new oil filter is empty. Start the engine and let it run for 10 minutes. Check under the car frequently to see if there is a leak. If there is, turn the car off, jack it back up and tighten the drain plug.
Put the used filter in a bag of some kind, make sure your used oil is sealed, and then take a ride to the nearest oil recycling center.
Tips & Warnings
- You can use the same car jack you use to change your tires.
- Photo Credit Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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