DIY Oil Change: How To Change Oil In Your Car?

Did you know you could save more than $50 if you understand how to change oil in your car by yourself?

Based on our research we saw that basic oil change service is one of the best ways to connect with your car. By taking control over your car’s maintenance and spending some time under the hood you get an excellent opportunity to visualize anything else in your car that needs attention.

And the best way to begin a do-it-yourself car maintenance job is starting with the home oil change.

It’s an easy process that requires few tools and materials. Also, you don’t have to spend your hard earned money sitting in a dull waiting room somewhere reading outdated magazines.

So, let’s learn how to change oil in your car swiftly and without getting shabby. You’ll not only save some money but also extend the life of your car by thousands of miles.

Prerequisites before you start your Oil Change

In order to save time and avoid frustration, it’s important to have necessary tools and materials before you start.

Tools that will be required

  1. Rags
  2. Wrench set (box end or socket)
  3. Oil filter wrench
  4. Funnel
  5. Oil drain pan
  6. Rubber mallet
  7. Latex gloves
  8. Safety glasses
  9. Jack and ramps (optional)

Materials Required 

1. Engine Oil

Suitable engine oil can be synthetic, synthetic blend, high-mileage or conventional oil depending on factors such as

  • Car’s engine type and the manufacturer’s specifications
  • Climate
  • Driving habits
  • Age of your engine. 

That’s why you must always check your owner’s manual to confirm the type and quantity of oil that’s required.

Always check if the manual calls out oil requirements as defined by the International Lubricant Standardization Approval Committee (ILSAC.)

2. Oil Filter

In the olden days, oil filters were more or less the same thing. But not any longer.

If your owner’s manual recommends extended oil change intervals (every 6,000 miles instead of 3,000 miles), you must buy a filter that’s rated to go that distance. In other words, don’t fill your engine with expensive long-mileage synthetic oil and then spin on an economy filter. This would decrease your oil filter’s life.

You must always check the filter box or the filter manufacturer’s website to make sure you buy the most suitable one.

You can use an economy filter if you prefer conventional oil and diligently change it every 3,000 miles. But if you love to go beyond that car mileage or use synthetic blends, get ready to spend extra bucks on a better filter.

3. Oil Drain Plug Gasket replacement

 credits to primagem.org
Credits to primagem.org

Many car owners may not know that some cars have drain plugs that come with an oil drain plug gasket. This oil drain plug gasket prevents oil from leaking.

So oil drain plug gasket in a bad condition can lead to oil leakage. Replacing this oil plug gasket can resolve your car oil leak. This ultimately improves your engines health by keeping oil where it belongs.

It also has another specialty – as a lock washer for the drain plug. The gasket holds the plug and prevents it from slipping out of its thread. In certain cases, the drain plug completely fell out of the oil pan leaving car owners baffled.

You must also note that the oil drain plug gasket can only be used once. That means every time your engine has an oil change, you have to replace the oil drain gasket. Otherwise, it will cause a leak. The leak gets worse if you keep tightening the same gasket again and again. This happens as the gasket loses shape once used.

Oil is the most necessary fluid in your vehicle, and resolving oil leaks is essential to maintaining good engine health.

How To Change Oil?

So are you ready to learn how to change oil in your car?

Autowagons brings you an 18 step process that will help you in the DIY Oil change service.

1. Run your Engine for about 5 min

Oil has a tendency to settle down with metal particles and dirt in case your engine is cold. That’s why it becomes important to run your engine for 5 minutes to allow the oil to become less viscous. This allows the oil to be easily drained.

If the engine is already too hot, wait for atleast 30 minutes to avoid getting burned.

2. Secure your car in a stable and raised terrain

Park your car in a flat and stable position keeping parking brake or handbrake engaged. You can also raise the car for better access and install proper safety stands if needed.

Some high-end cars have these aerodynamic covers to keep things clean and improve fuel economy. Unfortunately, these covers can hide the engine’s oil drain plug and oil filter. So, it needs to be removed entirely before you park your car. The good news for DIYers is that most cars don’t have them.

3. Find the drain plug under your car

credits to theodysseyonline.com
credits to theodysseyonline.com

The drain plug is a large plug or nut located at the bottom of the engine where you will keep your oil pan.

If it’s tough to reach your oil drain plug, you need to either crawl under your car or jack up the car in order to reach it.

4. Place the oil drain pan under the oil drain plug.

Practically, you can drain oil into any container that will hold liquid. But if you use a non-specialized pan, you’ll run into some trouble when it’s time to dispose of the used oil. It’s important to plan ahead in order to protect your garage floors with an oil drain pan. There is a wide range of containers, from a simple oil drip pan to a sealed drain container.

5. Remove the oil drain plug.

credits to theodysseyonline.com
credits to theodysseyonline.com

Remove the plug in order to drain the oil from your engine into the container. You should be ready to move your hands out of the way and protect them with a rag or paper towels.

6. Remove the Oil Filter from the engine

credits to pelicanparts.com
credits to pelicanparts.com

Remove the cap from the oil filter hole which you will find at the top of your engine. Now unscrew the oil filter. Use a wrench if you can’t do it by your hand.

The filter will have oil in it, so be careful not to spill it when you remove it. Remove any remnants of the filter’s rubber seal if present.

7. Release the oil from the old filter into the oil drain pan

credits to digitaltrends.com
credits to digitaltrends.com

Once the old filter is empty, it is time to dispose it by wrapping it in a newspaper/rag and setting it aside.

8. Get ready with the new oil and oil filter

credits to digitaltrends.com
credits to digitaltrends.com

Use the new oil to moisten the gasket on the top of the new oil filter. This will ensure that the oil filter is properly lubricated before installation.

9. Install the new oil filter into the engine

Before you screw in the new oil filter, you should draw a reference line on it with a marker. Generally, oil filters are tightened no more than three-quarters of a turn where the O-ring first contacts the sealing surface.

It’s recommended to consult the owner’s manual or oil filter box to confirm this in detail.

10. Wipe around the hole where the oil drain plug goes

credits to ifixit.com
credits to ifixit.com

Once the oil gets completely drained, you can clean the area where the drain plug goes. Use a rag or paper towel to wipe around the surface.

11. Replace the oil drain plug

credits to theodysseyonline.com
credits to theodysseyonline.com

If your vehicle uses an oil drain plug gasket, then it can only be used once. That means every time your engine has an oil change, you have to replace the oil drain gasket.

Ensure that the old one has been removed and lay the new oil plug gasket on the pan before you replace the plug

12. Pour the new oil in the oil filter hole

DIY Oil Change Service
DIY Oil Change Service

After you confirm that the oil filter and drain plug are both in place and properly tightened, it’s time to add the new oil. Use a funnel to pour approximately one quart less than the recommended amount.

Hold the oil bottle on its side and pour slowly to allow the oil to run down.

13. Plug in the oil filter cap and run the engine

credits to carfromjapan.com
credits to carfromjapan.com

It’s time to plug in the oil filter cap and start the engine. Run the engine for 30 to 60 seconds in order to circulate the new oil, then shut it down and check underneath the car for oil leaks.

14. Check the oil level

After you have checked for leaks, wait for 5 to 10 minutes for the oil to settle and then check the oil level again.

Remove the oil dipstick, wipe it with a clean rag, and put it back in. Pull it out again and check if it remains the same.

15. Add the remaining oil

If the oil level is between MIN and MAX markings on the dipstick, then keep adding the oil till it reaches the maximum.

Though some manufacturers recommend the dipstick oil level to be at MAX, you should always check your owner’s manual.

16. Take a test drive

If everything looks perfect it is time to lower the car off the jack stands. Don’t forget to remove the drain pan from under the vehicle before you give the car a test drive.

17. Recheck the Oil Level

Let the oil settle down again for 5 to 10 minutes, then recheck the dipstick.

If it’s still at MAX marking, then you are good to go!

18. Document the Oil Change

This last step is critical as it indicates your next oil change service. You need to document oil change that you performed including the mileage that is shown on your vehicle odometer.

Many vehicle manufacturers would recommend a change in oil and oil filter every 3,000 miles or every 3 months whichever comes first. But this varies with the type of oil and oil filter used.

To learn more check out our article on “How often to get oil change”.

Congratulations on your first DIY Oil change service!

You have successfully learned how to change car oil on your own!

The only step that is remaining is to properly dispose of the old oil and filter. Most auto-parts stores will take your old oil and filter at no charge. If they don’t, local municipalities often have hazardous waste drop-off points.

How long does it take to change oil?

For first-timers, it can take about an hour to get your oil changed.

But once you are used to it, it would take less than 30 minutes.

But as a thumb rule, it should take 20–45 minutes depending on the tools available to you.

Time required to change oil

If anybody or any auto shop claims to change
your car oil in less than 5 minutes, then there are 2 possibilities

  • they did not let all the old oil drain from the oil pan
  • they did not do all the other checks they should have done

Check out our Car Maintenance Guide that will help you keep your car in the best condition. We’ve collected 20 basic car maintenance tips, both exterior and interior, that will make your life a lot easier if properly followed.

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