There is no bypassing the fact that if you own a car, and then you need to change its oil. Instead of paying a mechanic for it, you should consider doing it yourself. You probably have the tools you need, and it is not as chaotic or boring as you might think.
How often you are likely to change your oil depends on who you ask. A mechanic can suggest changing your oil every 3,000, 5,000, 7,500 miles, or even when an oil gauge is lit. Your instrument manual may even suggest changing the oil at a different interval. However, no matter how often you change it, remember that the cleaner the engine oil, the more efficient the engine will be. Consider changing your oil more often than recommended if you tend to make shorter trips, encounter stop-and-go traffic, drive in dusty or dirty conditions, use your car for towing, or drive at speeds in excess of 55 miles per hour for extended periods. Read our new article about Toyota Camry 1997-2011: How to change the automatic transmission oil!
- Up to six quarts of oil (depending on how much oil your car consumes)
- New oil filter and O-rings
- Jacks and jack stands
- 14mm socket wrench insert with 3/8″ drive ratchet wrench
- 3/8″ extension bar for the actuator
- Oil filter wrench
- Container and drip tray
- Small flat-head screwdriver or tweezers (optional)
Step 1 – Prepare to change oil and lift cabin
Turn on your car and let the engine run for a minute or two. This will heat your engine and help drain your old oil faster. Apply the parking brake and lock the rear wheels, and then turn the car off. This will help prevent the car from moving when you actually change the oil. Open the hood and remove the oil filter cap. Remove it by turning it counterclockwise.
Use a jack to lift the passenger side of your Camry and secure it with stands.
Step 2 – Locate oil pan, oil drain plug and oil filter cartridge housing
Go under the passenger side of your Camry engine and look for the oil pan (probably made of black metal), the oil drain plug (probably silver) and the oil filter cartridge housing (probably black plastic). The oil drain plug on most Camry models faces the rear of the vehicle; the oil filter housing is on the side of the oil pan closest to the front bumper.
Step 3 – Remove and replace oil drain plug
Using a 14mm socket wrench and ratchet, loosen the oil drain plug (turn counterclockwise). Position the container under the oil pan and completely remove the oil drain plug with your fingers. The oil may be warm, so be careful not to let it touch your skin. After removing the oil drain plug, the old oil will run out of your car.
Drain the oil completely or until nothing drips out of the sump. Then reinsert the oil drain plug. Use the 14mm bushing to tighten the oil drain plug.
Step 4 – Remove oil filter housing drain plug
Remove the drain plug from the oil filter housing using your 3/8″ ratchet wrench and extension rod (turn counterclockwise) and set aside. Place the container under the filter housing to collect the oil leakage.
Step 5 – Remove oil filter housing and O-rings
Use the oil filter wrench to remove the oil filter housing (turn counterclockwise) and then remove the oil filter. You can throw it away as you will replace it. Then remove the old rubber O-rings. If you cannot remove them by hand, use a small flathead screwdriver or tweezers to impale the O-rings (there are two: a larger one under the threads of the filter housing and a small one under the threads of the drain plug). You can throw them away when you have removed them, as you will replace them.
Step 6 – Reinsert the oil filter housing, O-rings and drain plug of the oil filter housing.
Rub your new O-rings with some engine oil and place them on the new oil filter housing. Insert the new oil filter. Use the oil filter wrench to retighten the filter housing. Replace the drain plug of the oil filter housing and tighten it by hand until you can no longer turn it by hand.
Step 7 – Prepare to add oil and add oil.
Remove your tools and containers from the underside of your car and carefully lower your vehicle. Push the jack to the side, as you no longer need it.
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Insert the funnel into the oil filter hole and slowly pour in oil between four and five quarts. Most mechanics recommend using 10W-30 or 5W-30 oil. Do not overfill as too much oil can cause excessive pressure and affect engine performance. Turn on your car and let the engine run for about one minute. Turn your car off and pull out the dipstick. Check the oil level. Replace the dipstick and add more oil. Repeat until your dipsticks are full. Replace the oil filter cap and close the hood when finished.