How to Change Your Car’s Oil

How to Change Your Car’s Oil

Car engine with oil cap removed and yellow oil dip stick in the background

I go to the same place every time I get my car’s oil changed. And thanks to the sticker on the upper left-hand side of my windshield, I know exactly when to go! However, I realized during my last oil change they raised their prices, so it costs far more than my initial budget allotted. On top of that, I had to wait over an hour for them to complete the job – despite having an appointment!

With the proper tools, knowledge and location, I would have considered changing the oil myself. After hearing from friends who do it on their own, I decided to research the process. It turns out that changing your oil isn’t that hard, and takes only about 30 minutes.

If you hate taking the time and money to have a shop change your oil, changing it yourself is the perfect project to take on. After learning how to do it myself, I put together some helpful guidelines.

Before you start, make sure you have these tools on hand:

  • Car jack and stand
  • Eye protection
  • Rubber/latex gloves
  • Oil drain pan (make sure it holds up to six quarts)
  • An old towel or rags for loose oil
  • Oil (check your car’s manual to find out which type you need)
  • Funnel
  • Oil filter wrench

Once you have all the necessary tools, warm up the engine for a few minutes to get the oil moving (if it’s warm, the oil will flow more easily). Let’s begin!

Car jack slight extended underneath car behind front wheel

    1. Prepare the jack and jack stands. It is extremely important to make sure the vehicle is properly supported before sliding underneath your car. Check your owner’s manual for the proper place to position the jack. Once the vehicle is secured, put on your safety glasses and crawl under the vehicle to locate the engine’s oil pan and drain plug.
    2. Find the oil drain plug. Grab the oil drain pan and place it underneath the drain plug so the oil has a place to drain.
    3. Let it drain. Put on your rubber gloves and unscrew the drain plug with the correct size pocket wrench, letting your oil empty out. It may take several minutes for the oil to drain out. Be careful not to burn yourself – the oil may be hot!
    4. Mans hand holding oil plug near drain openingFind the drain plug washer and inspect it. If it looks damaged or old, it will need to be replaced with a new one. When you reinstall the drain plug, make sure you do not over-tighten.
    5. Find and remove the oil filter.Depending on your vehicle’s model, the filter will be located on the front, back or side of the engine. Use a filter wrench for this part, and be sure to[…]


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