Oil change

Changing the oil is one of the easiest things you can do to improve the life of your Ka’s engine, it only takes about half an hour and a handfull of tools. This guide was written specifically for the Ford Ka but it can be used as a general guide for changing the oil on any car.

The most important thing about changing the oil (and filter) yourself is that you know the job has been done properly using a good quality filter and oil instead of the job being rushed by some pimply faced 16 year old apprentice mechanic who doesn’t give a shit about your car.

Step 1 – Where to start

Well safety first, you should be wearing some sort of eye protection and you should NEVER get under a car supported only by a jack. I only had to jack the car up at one side to change the oil but it was well supported with the jack and an axle stand.

Well here is is the lovely little 1.3 Ka engine, solid little thing that will run for ever if well looked after.

Ka Engine

Ka Engine

Step 2 – Getting ready

Below is a list of what you need. All you really need to buy, assuming you have the tools, is the oil filter and oil.

  1. New oil
  2. New oil filter
  3. Oil filter removal tool – I used oil filter pliers
  4. 14mm socket
  5. Torque wrench – Not really needed so don’t worry if you don’t have one
  6. Rags
  7. Container to catch the oil
  8. Old bottles and a funnel – To dispose of the old oil
  9. Wheel blocks – I used bricks
  10. A jack & pair of jack stands or car ramps.

Step 3 – Getting Started

Oil runs more freely when it’s warm, start your car and leave it idling for a few minutes to warm the oil and loosen all the engine gunk up. Then get your car up on the ramps or jack it up remembering to place the wheel blocks behind the rear wheels.

Oil cap off

Oil cap off

Remove the oil cap as shown above, this will let the oil empty out of the sump. Now your ready to get under the car and get messy.

Step 4 – Under the car

Oil sump

Oil sump

You are looking for this bad boy here. This is the oil sump where the oil lives. If you see any oil leaking from round the sump plug the chances are you will have to replace the plastic washer. I got a new sump plug and washer from Ford for a few pounds.

Note: I had to replace the drain plug last oil change, the head had rusted away. I had to file the head of the bolt down and use a 10mm socket to remove it. If you have an older car it might be a good idea to think about replacing the sump plug while your down there.

This is a good time to lay down the newspaper to catch any spillages. You will need a 14mm socket to turn the drain plug about a 1/2 turn just to slacken it off.

14mm Socket

14mm Socket

Step 5 – Draining the Oil – The Fun / Messy Bit

Now the tricky bit here is not getting yourself covered in oil. Place your container under the sump and remove the slackened sump plug. The flow of oil wont stay constant, see the pics below, so you will need to reposition the container every now and then.

Draining oil

Draining oil

The longer you leave the oil to drain the better, I tend to leave it dripping away for 20-30 minutes to get as much of the cruddy old oil out as possible.

Last few drips

Last few drips

While the oil is draining you should check the drain plug, below, and washer for damage and replace it if necessary.

Sump plug

Sump plug

Step 6 -Replacing the drain plug

If you have a torque wrench now is the time to get it out and set it to 25NM or 18 lbf ft in old money. If you don’t have one don’t worry, the lowest setting on mine is 30NM so i just guessed.

Step 7 – Removing the Oil Filter

I can’t begin to tell you how much fun I had changing the oil filter. I had changed the oil once before on this Ka and I spent an hour trying to loosen the oil filter before I gave up, I wasn’t going to let it beat me this time.

Oil filter

Oil filter

The Oil filter should simply screw off using the filter pliers (or whatever oil filter removal tool you have). Unlucky for me this wasn’t the case.

The oil filter contains about 1 pint of oil so get ready with your tray to catch it. If your oil filter is stuck you should read Step 8 if not skip to Step 9.

Step 8 – Stuck oil filter, prepare to get messy…

As far as we can tell this oil filter has been in place for 5 years and its stuck fast. One way to remove the stuck filter is to get a sturdy screw driver and hammer it through the filter as shown in the photograph below. The plan is that you use this screwdriver as a handle to turn the filter.

You should hammer the screwdriver in at least one and a half inches from the base of the filter to avoid the threaded cylinder it screws on to, it can be seen in the pics of Step 9.

Screwdriver hammered into filter

Screwdriver hammered into filter

Warning: When you hammer through the filter prepare to get covered in oil, I had it in my hair, all up my sleeve and I think my overalls a t shirt soaked up most of it. You should also put some extra news paper down.

I had to hammer the screwdriver in few times as the filter is pretty flimsy. When you start to push the screw driver it rips into the filter, you can see that in the photograph below. I had to hammer through a few times.

Filter finally out

Filter finally out

Step 9 – Fitting the new filter

So the filter is off and your left with the image below. All you need to do is let the oil drain for a bit and…

Filter off

Filter off

..wipe off any excess. Now your ready to fit the shiny new filter.

Lovely and clean

Lovely and clean

Take your new filter and give the top and the seal a coating of the new oil.

Coated with oil

Coated with oil

All that remains to do while your under the car is to screw on the new filter. Don’t use any tools, hand tighten only.

Filter fitted

Filter fitted

Step 10 – Replace the Oil

All that’s left to do is get the car off the ramps or axle stands. I know this next statement is common sense but I don’t want anyone coming round to smack me in the head because they ruined their engine.

WARNING: Don’t start the car until you have replaced the oil, if your car is on ramps push it off.

With the car is on even ground you can replace the oil topping it up a little at a time. when the dipstick is reading as full run the engine for a few minute then top up again if required.

And that’s you done.

If you use this guide or have any questions or comments please contact me and let me know.

One thought on “Oil change

  1. Your method of topping the oil up after servicing and trying to accurately to read the
    dipstick.is flawed because the dipstick channel will deposit oil on it as you are pulling it out to read it making the level hard to assess
    It is far better to know the engine oil capacity while refilling
    Having said that i cant find on the web any info on ford ka oil capacities
    Regards Mike

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