After owning my car 4 years, I’ll admit I never changed my own oil – until now. I always thought it was going to be too hard, too messy, or just not worth the cost savings, but I decided to give it a shot so I could blog about it, and it turns out it is MUCH easier and cheaper than I expected. The first time I spent about $150 in supplies (all below) but the next time I need to change my oil it will only be about $85, so roughly half of what my local shop charges…and best of all, it only took about 30 minutes on my first try, and will probably only take 15-20 minutes moving forward, so much less time than it took to drive to a shop, pay to have it done, and drive home. The only inconvenience is disposing of the oil afterwards, but you can do that at your convenience whenever you’re at Pep Boys next.
Tools needed (skip anything you have, and the ramps are optional but easier than using a jack):
Parts Needed (Two jugs of oil, 1 of everything else):
I am using Liqui Moly 5W-40 in my car, as it has been recommended pretty enthusiastically by a number of people to me, and has great reviews on the forums. My local shop that did oil changes for me before I learned to DIY used Total Quartz 5W-40, and that seems good too. There are a ton of great oils out there, so feel free to try something different but Liqui-Moly 5W-40 synthetic is used by a lot of people and even recommended (and sold) by JHM and Europa Parts, so it’s legit.
Oil Change Instructions:
Before you start: grab a roll of paper towels just in case anything drips where you don’t want it – and I’d recommend some rubber or nyrtle gloves too, if you have those handy. This isn’t a very messy job, but when doing this your first time you’re going to have a little mess until you get the hang of it, so wear an old t-shirt and maybe take off that fancy Rolex you’re rocking too.
- Drive your car up the ramps, or jack the car up high enough that you can comfortably fit below the front end.
- Pop the hood and remove the rear engine cover (it pulls off, no tools needed) to expose the oil filter, which can be loosened with the 24mm socket as pictured below. Don’t remove it just yet, just loosen it so it depressurizes the system:
- Remove the belly pan under the car, which is all held together using flat head screws. There should be 8 screws in total holding it on – three screws along the front edge (center, left, right), one in front of each mud flap, and 3 along the rear edge (center, left, right). You just turn the screws about 1/2 a turn and they’ll come out, but make a mental note of how many go back for when you reinstall the belly pan. The belly pan looks like this, if you’re not familiar, and is located right behind where the front bumper cover ends:
- Locate the oil drain plug, and slide your oil drain catcher directly under. Then use your T55 and socket wrench to loosen and remove the oil drain plug. Be sure when it gets all of the way loose not to let the drain plug fall into the oil catcher, you’ll need to reuse that and won’t want to fish it out of the old, dirty oil. The oil drain plug is located in the pic below on the bottom of the oil pan in the center of the image about 80% of the way towards the bottom of the picture – not the best picture, but hard to photograph at that angle:
- The oil will be draining for the next 10 minutes or so – there is a lot of oil in there. Go back up top and remove the old oil filter, and then place on a paper towel somewhere. Remove the filter from the plastic top piece by pulling downwards and it will pop out. Remove the old rubber grommet/ring and discard it, then install the new one that came with your oil filter on the plastic housing/top, then snap the new filter into place and you’re ready to reinstall. Disregard the small metal washer, it isn’t used for a B6/B7 Audi S4 and is included for other models:
- Reinstall the new oil filter using your 24mm socket as tight as you can get by hand, but don’t overdo it, this isn’t something that needs to be ridiculously tight…just tight enough it won’t loosen on its own. Put your rear engine cover back on and be happy you’re more than halfway done!
- Once the oil stops draining, install your oil plug and a new crush washer. You can reuse the crush washer if you have to, but it’s better to use a new one so that it doesn’t leak – the crush washer gets crushed as you tighten it making it air tight and preventing any leaks due to surface imperfections on bottom of oil pan or top of the plug. Tighten as tight as you can get (like above) by hand then try to give it an extra 1/4 of a turn within reason – but don’t over tighten and strip it. Reinstall the belly pan, then you’re done under the car (woohoo!).
- Remove the oil cap and pour 9 quarts of oil into your car – you’ll have 10 qts total, so you’ll have an extra quart for later if you car burns any oil or you need to top off (pretty common for these cars). You can get away without using a funnel, although it’s easier if you use one of course:
- Put the oil cap back on, close the hood, drive the car off the ramp (or lower off jack stands), and you’re done!
- Reset the service light by getting into your car and holding the wrench button on the dash with the car off, then turn the car to ACC-on and release the wrench button and press the 0,0 button next to it, which will reset the indicator light. You may also want to write down your mileage and today’s date somewhere handy so you can keep track of it in case you want to change your oil more often than the service light prompts you to.
Like I said, a pretty easy DIY in 10 steps or less – enjoy!