Changing your oil in a steep driveway can be a pain but is necessary if you don’t want to get ripped off by the oil change service centers.
We show you ALL the supplies, tools and steps that you need to change your oil in a steep driveway.
Your car needs an oil change every 3,000 to 10,000 miles depending on factors like its make, year, engine oil type and your personal driving habits. Considered necessary maintenance, oil changes up engine performance and increase the longevity of your vehicle.
However, heading to your local mechanic or specialty shop for regular oil changes can quickly add up. That’s why learning to change you own oil is useful to help cut costs.
Right now, you may be questioning whether you have enough car knowledge to tackle the job yourself or if your home offers the proper set up. Keep reading to learn where to start and how to change car oil in steep driveway settings.
Can I change my oil in my steep driveway?
Many people choose to change their car oil from the comfort of their own driveway, saving time in addition to cutting costs.
When changing your oil from home, it’s important to invest in tools like an oil wrench, standard wrench set, a funnel, safety glasses and gloves. You should also have an oil mat or newspapers on hand to protect your driveway from oil spills.
Changing oil on an incline
Changing oil on a flat surface is often easiest but not all driveways provide the ideal location. However, this does not necessarily mean you have to hang up the towel and head to the auto shop. Changing oil on a steep driveway just requires a little extra preparation and some help from additional tools.
The bigger factor that will determine ease and safety is the texture of the driveway you are attempting to change your oil on. Opt for smooth surfaces like concrete or pavement over unstable and slippery gravel and dirt.
Purchasing oil and filter
Your work first begins in the store not on your driveway. While a little extra research on the manufacturer’s viscosity recommendation will point you in the direction of the best oil to use in your car, choosing the right filter is not the same for everyone.
After all, the filter you will need depends on your personal habits. If you are planning proper upkeep with routine oil and filter changes, there is usually no need to invest in a top-of-the-line filter.
On the other hand, if you are trying to get the most miles out of your filter and are looking to change it every other oil change, opt for the higher quality option. This is especially important for older cars.
Process –>Setup 1st…
- Before doing an oil change, it is best to warm up your car. Accomplish this by driving around the block a few times or on the highway for a short period. During this process, your car reaches its full temperature and the oil heats up, stopping debris from settling and making the oil less thick and easier to empty.
- Pull into your driveway.
- Set the brakes! Set the parking brake.
- Chock the tires as well.
- When working on an incline, park your car with the front end positioned on the uphill part of the slope and turn off the engine. Then, let it sit for about five minutes to let the hot oil drip down.
- Don’t forget to set your emergency brake. If your brakes fail – the car will roll downhill away from you. If you backed the car into the driveway and were at the bottom of the driveway, you would be risking the car rolling over you in the event that the brakes failed.
- Don’t jack up your car. It is already on an incline.
- During a normal oil change on level ground, you would traditionally jack the front of your car up during this step because the work is done from the front end.
- Don’t use ramps either.
- It is very dangerous to lift your car onto ramps while it rests on a slope because the additional weight transferred to the rear wheels can cause them to slide backward.
- Check the oil before.
- Oil vacuum extractor – Using an oil vacuum extractor is great for a quick oil change and offers the safest option when operating on an incline.
- To correctly change your oil using an oil vacuum extractor, follow these instructions:
- 1. Use the small vacuum hose attachment.
- Extractor pumps often come with capabilities to extract fluids other than oil and can also be used on vehicles like boats and lawn mowers. For this reason, they often include multiple attachments. When it comes to changing the oil on your car, use the small attachment.
- 2. Remove the dipstick, set aside.
- Once you’re set up, pop the hood of your car and locate the dipstick. Remove it and set it aside so you have the means to feed in the extraction hose.
- 3. Put the small hose into the dipstick tube and feed it all the way to the bottom of the engine.
- Often the concern with using extraction instead of drip methods is removing all the old oil and sludge. To ensure you move all the used material out of your engine, feed the hose into the tube until you feel the bottom. Typically, slight leftover oil from an extractor is insignificant in determining performance quality.
- 4. Pump several times to begin the suction and remove the oil.
- Oil vacuum extractors require a little manual labor to get them going. The mechanism operates through your use of a hand pump, which moves the old oil through the hose.
- 5. Remove the small hose.
- After you pump all the old oil out of your car’s engine, it is time to prepare for replacing it with the fresh oil you purchased from the auto store.
- 6. Remove oil cap, add new oil.
- Now removing the oil cap, slowly pour your new oil into the opening. During this step, it is useful to have old newspapers and rags around just in case. While in general pumping leaves less mess than draining, there are occasional spills when it comes to the refilling process.
- Avoid overfilling your oil, which can cause problems for your engine like wear from inconsistent pressure and the need to change your spark plugs more often.
- 7. Return dipstick to its tube. Remove to check the oil level.
- Don’t forget about the dipstick you removed in the beginning. To finish everything up, replace it in its original spot.
- An easy way to make sure you did not overfill your oil is checking your levels. This is best done when your car is on even ground. Move it off the driveway and onto your level street to provide a more accurate read.
- To check, put your dipstick all the way into the tube and then pull it out again. Do this a second time and then look at how much oil is left on the stick. The oil should not extend more than an inch above max level.
- If you accidentally forget this step or do visit a specialty shop for an oil change, leaking oil, foul smells and black exhaust can signal over filling.
- 8. Screw oil cap back on.
- It’s also important to screw your oil cap back on. Similar to the cap on your gas tank, an oil cap seals the fluids in your engine. Running your car
Don’t throw your oil away!
Next, comes items you will need to transport the used motor oil. These may include things like pails and a leftover plastic milk container.
After all, you can’t just throw old oil away.
One pint of oil can produce a slick of approximately one acre of water. EPA.gov
While you may think your inclined driveway at home disqualifies you from doing the work yourself, it is also possible to learn how to change car oil in steep driveway settings.
What about the oil filter?
- When changing your oil filter, it is useful to have an oil pan handy because removing old filters may drain additional oil from your vehicle.
- While extractor pumps save you from crawling under your car, you will still need to approach the issue of changing your oil filter, which requires it.
- You can leave the filter on for another oil change.
- Like we mentioned above, it is not necessary to change your filter with every oil change. While you had to work on an incline this time, waiting until next oil change to switch filters gives you a few thousand miles to find a level space to do so.
- Other Considerations
- Oftentimes, your car is just another day’s work to local shops, meaning they likely will not go above and beyond to make your car run at its highest quality. After all, they want you to keep coming back.
- On the other hand, doing oil and filter changes yourself ensures that the best parts are being used and your car stays its most reliable from your personal touch.
- After you pat yourself on the back for a job well done, remember to record your mileage on your car maintenance log
How do you get rid of the oil?
There are only a few option you have for disposing your own oil.
- Recycle at local landfill. Most landfills accept used motor oil from homeowners. At our local landfill they have designated areas for paint, oil and other chemicals. It is usually free (paid for with your taxes).
- Take it to an oil change shop. They may charge you so this would be your last resort but it is an option.
- Take it to your local auto store. Your local Auto Zone or Advanced Auto Parts both accept used motor oil for free.
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