How To Change Engine Oil

(Step By Step Guide)

The oil change is one of the essential maintenance tasks in the car. Making an oil change yourself is not as complicated as many drivers might think – and it can also save money. So, we have step by step guide on “How to change engine oil”.

With modern engines, an oil change is due every 15,000 to 30,000 kilometers on average or at least once a year. The exact information about the correct oil change interval for your car can be found in the vehicle documents (service booklet). In modern vehicles, a corresponding note in the instrument cluster indicates that the oil has to be changed.

If you like to screw, repair, and work on your car yourself, you may also be able to change the oil yourself. It would be best if you had a proper set of tools, enough fresh engine oil, and a suitable container to collect the old oil.

The following steps are necessary to carry out the oil change yourself:


Before going to change your engine oil by yourself, you have to prepare few things that are essential for this task. Make sure you have gathered all the following tools and are well prepared for the task.

Lifting platform/rack:

To be able to change the oil yourself, it must be possible to access the oil drain screw. It is located at the lowest point of the oil pan. A lifting platform, a pit, or an access ramp make work easier.


Oil drain pan & canister:

It is essential to use oil drain pan or suitable container to collect the used oil. After changing the oil, it is advisable to transport the used oil to the disposal point in a lockable canister.


A wrench, ring, or hexagon socket wrench is required to loosen and reinsert the oil drain plug.


Caution: hot oil should preferably not run over your hand – it hurts. So better, wear work gloves!

Sealing ring for oil drain plug:

A new sealing ring is recommended when replacing the oil drain plug, so there is no leak.

Oil filter:

When changing the oil, it is advisable to change the oil filter as well. Because if it clogs, the contaminated oil is led past the filter. In terms of costs, a new oil filter is of little importance. Here look at some of the best oil filters.


Always use funnel while oil filling to avoid oil spills on the hot engine, which can cause a fire.

The right engine oil:

You should not be stingy when buying the engine oil. Instead, buy the right oil for the engine in question. The operating instructions contain precise information on viscosity and manufacturer approval. The required columns of numbers and letters represent the properties of the motor oil. The vehicle manual also reveals the amount of oil required. If your engine mileage is high then you can use high mileage oil for better performance. You can look deeper into different types of engine oil.


Inexperienced people should use a torque wrench to avoid tightening the oil drain screw too tight. The required torque can be found in the operating instructions or the repair manual.

Step by step guide to change engine oil

Here is the detailed step by step guide to change engine oil. You must follow every step carefully and pay attention to personal safety during this task.

Step 1:

Before the oil is drained, the engine must be warmed up. The heat makes the oil thin so that it can drain away more quickly. Also, the oil absorbs the impurities in the engine through the movement. When the engine is hot, park the vehicle on a flat surface, turn it off and let it sit for five or ten minutes to allow all the oil to drain into the oil pan.

Step 2:

Raise the car using the lifting platform or jack to enable safe working under the vehicle. Some vehicles, such as pickup trucks and SUVs, may have enough space for it to work underneath them, but most sedans and smaller cars won’t be that easy.

Tip for your safety

“Never crawl under a vehicle while supported only by the car jack. You shouldn’t even trust an industrial jack completely.”

A series of car stands or ramps are the best and safest way to give you more space under the vehicle and your best insurance, so you don’t have to go to the emergency room. For added safety and always make sure that the parking brake is engaged and places bricks or wooden blocks behind the rear tires.

Step 3:

Locate the oil drain plug under the vehicle, unscrew it, and drain it into the drip pan. If you’re not sure where it is, check the owner’s manual or ask your mechanic to show you the location. Remember that the oil inside is still hot, so instead of grabbing the nut as it falls, drop it into the oil pan and let the hot oil flow out. All the oil should drain in about two minutes. It is good to place the newspapers or oil spill mat around the container to make sure that excess oil does not spill out into unwanted areas.

Step 4:

The next important step in changing the oil is to replace the oil filter. Remember, the oil filter contains all the sludge and excess dirt of oil when lubricating the engine. Replacing the filter is essential for car maintenance because, without a new oil filter, the new engine oil will pass through the old filter, making it dirty and less effective and above all in a short time.

When you are under the vehicle to drain the oil, locate the oil filter. It will be cylindrical and can be blue, white, black, or orange, depending on the brand. Use the oil filter wrench, available in any automotive maintenance workshop and turn it anticlockwise to loosen the filter. The old filter, it will have hot oil inside it, so be careful when removing it. A turn with the wrench should loosen it enough to turn it manually for the rest.

Attention: The filter may not be empty and may drip.

Before installing the new oil filter, take some clean oil and rub it around the rubber gasket of the new filter. It will allow the new filter to adapt perfectly to the engine block. For proper vehicle maintenance, it is also good to use a rag to clean excess oil around the area where the filter is screwed onto the engine. Take the new filter and screw it by hand onto the engine block. Once the adhesion is found, tighten it with the oil filter wrench. It should take about half to three-quarters of a turn to get it firmly in place. Remember, do not over tighten, the filter could be damaged and cause leaks.

Step 5:

The waste oil pan can be removed when the oil has drained completely. Clean the oil drain plug and then replace it with a new sealing ring. Now tighten the screw with the torque wrench (according to the manufacturer’s instructions in the operating instructions).

Step 6:

After the oil drain screw is tightened and filter is replaced, lower the lift and fill the engine with new oil. The quantity specified in the operating instructions can best be dosed with a measuring cup. Generally, most engines use 4 to 6 liters. Use a funnel to channel the oil to prevent it from spilling onto the engine. Spilling oil on the engine may overheat, causing a fire that requires further vehicle maintenance later. The oil level should be just below the “full” mark on the dipstick. It is essential not to add too much oil to the vehicle.

After oil filling, close the filler neck with the lid.

Step 7:

Now, start the engine. You should then wait a few minutes, keeping an eye on the oil indicator light. It must go out – and remain so. The fresh engine oil has now spread out in the engine and has run into the oil filter. Car owners should now recheck the oil level and top up engine oil if necessary.

If the oil indicator light does come back on, drivers should turn the engine off immediately and go to troubleshooting or contact a workshop. A possible cause could be, for example, a leak in the engine, which prevents the build-up of oil pressure.

Step 8:

After each oil change on your car, you should note the mileage. Then you can make the next oil change at the right time.

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