It’s important to change your engine’s oil. When you should can vary depending on the car you drive. In this post and video you’ll find out how and when to do an oil change, the tools needed to do this job, how to change the oil filter, and more.
How to Change the Oil in Your Car
When Should I Change the Oil?
When you should change the oil depends on factors like the type of oil your vehicle uses, the kind of car you have, and when your manufacturer recommends to. We discuss in this post when we think it’s best to change your oil, but, generally, you can find your manufacturer’s recommendations in the owner’s manual.
Tools Needed for an Oil Change
- Oil filter wrench
- Drain pan
- Set of wrenches or sockets
- Manufacturer-recommended engine oil
- Jack and jack stands or car ramps
Steps to Replace the Engine Oil in Your Car
How to change the oil yourself in any vehicle
- Drain the Oil
Find which side of the engine bay the engine is on to find the oil pan. While still in the engine bay, remove the oil fill cap, which is usually labeled. Raise the vehicle with a jack and jack stands, or drive the car up on car ramps if you need more space.
Place a drain pan underneath the engine, and then turn the oil pan drain plug counterclockwise to remove it from the oil drain pan. Let the oil drain into the catch bucket. Once all of the oil has drained out of the engine, tighten the drain bolt tight, but make sure not to overtighten it.
- Remove the Oil Filter
Generally, you’ll want to change the oil filter when you change the oil. For canister-style oil filters, twist off the oil filter with an oil filter wrench. For cartridge-style oil filters, remove the oil filter with an oil filter removal tool. Wipe down the area with a cloth rag.
- Install the New Oil Filter
Place a layer of new, clean oil around the seal of the canister oil filter. Then twist the oil filter into place by hand until it’s snug.
- Add New Oil
Find the oil type for your vehicle. You can find this information on stickers under the hood or in the owner’s manual.
With the oil fill cap removed, place a funnel into the engine, and add the recommended amount of oil for your vehicle, which you can find in the owner’s manual. Once the correct amount has been added, replace the oil cap. Then start the vehicle and let the engine run for 10 to 15 seconds, turn the engine off, and check the oil level.
- Store and Dispose the Old Oil
Pour the old oil from the drain pan into a storage container, like a plastic jug. If you’re storing the oil before disposing of it, do not mix it with any waste antifreeze. To dispose of the oil, bring it to a business that will accept it, like a parts store, or another location like a recycling center.
More on how to handle automotive waste fluids