Working on your own car can be an interesting and rewarding experience. Some people have a higher mechanical aptitude than others, but performing various basic repairs on your automobile can be mastered by anyone with an interest in doing so.
We recommend that owners get more familiar with their car, even if it means changing a flat tire or just checking and setting the tire pressures — as long as the proper tools are utilized and correct procedures followed.
For those who would like something more challenging, try performing your own engine oil and filter change. If you have never done this, ask your shop if you can observe their technician during an oil change and if they will explain why and what they are doing during every step of the process. The time and effort you pay to learn the proper procedure could pay big dividends towards your first oil and filter change experience.
We recommend utilizing a factory or genuine engine oil filter element and high quality engine oil properly suited for your car. Always replace the engine drain plug sealing washer. It is usually best to utilize an aluminum sealing ring instead of a copper one. Copper is generally harder than aluminum and may not always seal as well. Always tighten the engine drain plug to the factory recommended torque using a high quality torque wrench. Keep in mind, before you get started you must first find a place that is willing to accept your used engine oil and filter for recycling and proper disposal.
Basic engine oil and filter change procedure:
- Drive the car until the engine reaches operating temperature then turn the engine off.
- Place the vehicle on a flat surface, drain the engine oil (be careful the engine oil will be HOT). Please note: Make sure to have a large enough drain pan. On 1998 and older 911s always drain both the engine oil sump and reservoir.
- Let the engine oil drain as long as you possibly can (i.e. 15-20 minutes should suffice)
- Remove and replace the engine oil filter (preferably with a factory genuine element).
- Cut the engine oil filter open and inspect for any metal, plastic or other debris (especially for M96/M97 engines, if foreign material is found consult with a professional).
- Reinstall the engine drain plug with a new sealing washer/ring. Tighten the drain plug to the factory recommended tightening torque. Do not over tighten or guess at this.
- Fill the engine with a high quality lubricant to the factory recommended oil quantity specification.
- Start the engine and immediately look under the vehicle for any oil leaks while being prepared to turn the engine off in the event of an oil leak.
- Once the engine is at full operating temperature, check the oil level per the recommendations in the owner’s manual.
- Document the service.
Tony Callas & Tom Prine