How To Change Your Car Oil?

Tim Miller

The car’s engine oil plays a vital role in the performance of the vehicle. Auto experts recommend changing the oil when it’s due in order to avoid poor performance and engine seizure.

You need to keep your engine and the parts well lubricated to avoid engine heat up.

While changing the car oil is one of the most basic activities, not many people know about it.

This guide is aimed at educating people about car oil change and its importance. Let’s get started:

How To Change Your Oil

Changing your car’s engine oil is important as the engine is made up of many metallic parts that need to be properly lubricated from time to time.
This guide is aimed at educating people about car oil change and its importance.

Changing your car’s engine oil is important as the engine is made up of many metallic parts that need to be properly lubricated from time to time. Neglecting it might cause the engine to heat up leading to problems.

Therefore, it is essential to change the car’s oil when it’s due. If you’re afraid of performing the job on your own, check out this small guide on a car oil change.

How To Prepare For A Car Oil Change?

If you want to replace your car’s oil by yourself, then you need to gather some tools and ready a kit.

While car oil change isn’t a difficult process, it can be a bit dangerous if you are doing it for the first time. Therefore, one needs to take safety measure s.

Here’s what you will need to prepare for a car oil change:

  • Safety glasses
  • Funnel
  • Rags
  • 4 to 6 quarts of motor oil (Check the owner’s manual to know the correct amount and the right type of oil for your car).
  • Oil filter
  • An open-end wrench or a drain plug socket wrench
  • Oil filter wrench
  • Ramps or Jack Stands
  • A large container or a drain pan
  • Gloves that cover the hands fully

Keep all these tools handy and get started.

How To Change Your Oil: Step By Step

Step 1 – Choosing The Right Oil

A lot of people make the mistake of choosing car oil in haste which can be problematic. We suggest that you pick an option that’s recommended by your dealer.

In addition to this, you will have to buy a recommended oil filter as well. They should both be compatible with your car. Moreover, consider the environment or weather conditions of your region in mind as well.

This is important because some oils work well in extreme cold/heat and some do not.

Lastly, go through the manual and find all the tools you’ll need to perform the car oil change. This is important to ensure you don’t end up wasting time looking for tools.

Step 2 – Warm Up Engine

Changing the oil while it is cold can cause problems. The oil can turn slightly solid when the surrounding temperature is low. This also occurs when the oil gets mixed with dirt and becomes less liquid.

It can be difficult to drain the oil if it is too viscous. The solution to the problem is simple. Run the engine for five minutes to warm it up. This will increase the temperature in the engine making it easy to drain the oil.

Step 3 – Elevate The Car

The next step involves using a floor jack to raise the car from the terrain. This will help get access to the sump plug making it possible to drain the oil faster.

Step 4 – Drain Oil From The Engine

The sump plug is located under the oil pan and looks like a large nut. While the sump plug is easily accessible in some vehicles, in some cases there might be a splash guard attached on it for protection purpose.

  • If there’s a splash guard installed, remove it.
  • Place a large pan under this plug so that you don’t make a large puddle of oil during the draining process.
  • Grab a wrench and start unscrewing the sump plug.
  • This will start the draining process which will take a few minutes only. Once done, clean the plug nicely and see that it doesn’t have any cracks or leaks.
  • Once the oil has completely drained, you have to wait a few more minutes and then screw back the sump plug.

Step 5 – Remove The Oil Filter

  • In most modern cars, there’s an oil filter that is located at the top of the engine. Start unscrewing the filter by moving it counterclockwise. Be cautious when doing so because there’s oil in the filter and it can sprout out.
  • There might be some rubber seals on the engine compartment, remove them.
  • Now let the filter drain out completely. Once it’s empty, use a cloth to clean it.

Step 6 – Install The New Filter

  • Whenever you change your car’s oil, it’s wise to replace the oil filter as well. This helps keep the system leak-free and efficient. Besides changing the filter, also change the O-rings to make the system more durable.
  • Lubricate the O-rings with the new oil you are to put in the engine. It will strengthen the seal on the filter.
  • Place oil filter in position in position and start tightening the filter cap.

Step 7 – Adding Car Oil

There are 7 steps to change your oil
  • Locate the oil cap at the top of the engine and open it. There might be an oil sign on the cap as well.
  • Use a dipstick to measure the depth of the chamber so that you can pour the right amount of oil in it to prevent overflow.
  • Use a funnel and start filling the engine.
  • Close and tighten the cap.

Step 8 – Run Engine For 5 Minutes

Once you have changed the oil, run the engine for 5-10 minutes to warm it up so that the oil is properly circulated in the engine and other parts such as the filter.

Also, look for leaks when performing this step.

That’s it, you have successfully changed your car’s engine oil.

A video about How to change car oil

How to Change Car Oil: FAQs

1. When To Change Car Oil?

You need to identify the signs that tell us when we should perform a car oil change.

Loud Noise From The Engine:

It is surprisingly common for the engine to make loud noises. While there are many reasons why this happens. One of the more common reasons is old engine oil.

Old oil doesn’t lubricate the engine well enough and the parts begin to grind against one another, hence the noise.

If you hear your engine making a noise then it’s better to go for a car oil change.

Dirty And Dark Colored Oil:

Fresh oil has an amber color while old oil turns dark in color because it gets mixed with engine particles.

So, open your bonnet from time to time, insert a dipstick, take it out, and observe the oil color to know if you need to change it or not.

Oil Replacement Light Under Dashboard:

Almost all modern cars have a computerized system that informs the driver when it’s time to change the oil.

When the computer senses poor lubrication, the oil light comes on, indicating the driver to perform a car oil change.

Dark Smoke:

As long as the engine contains good quality oil, the exhaust will emit translucent vapor. However, if the oil is old or not enough, there will be dark fumes of smoke.

If you see this happen, opt for a car oil change.

Dropping Levels Of Engine Oil:

Sometimes, the oil levels keep on declining faster than the usual pace. This happens when the oil has poor lubrication properties or it is not compatible with the car’s engine.

Keep checking the oil level from time to time with the dipstick method to make sure that the oil levels aren’t dropping too quickly.

2. How Often Should You Check The Oil Level?

It is recommended that you check your car’s oil every week. It will help you know if the oil levels are dropping too quickly or not or if the oil is still neat or not.

3. How Often To Change The Car Oil?

For newer vehicles driven under normal conditions, it is okay to drive for 5,000 miles before changing the oil.

However, for older vehicles and driving under rough conditions, one needs to change the car oil after covering 3,000 miles.

Also, consider car oil change if you observe signs such as dirty smoke from the exhaust, oil levels dropping quickly, and a noisy engine.

4. What Is The Best Oil For Your Car?

Synthetic Oil vs. Conventional Oil

Synthetic Oil

Synthetic oil is prepared from artificial chemicals and doesn’t involve crude oil. It is said to serve better than conventional oil and has many advantages.

You do not have to worry about changing it for about a year. Moreover, it doesn’t cause breakdowns and lubricates the engine better than conventional oil.

Conventional Oil

Conventional oil, on the other hand, is made up of crude oil and has impurities in it which can cause wear and tear on the engine and affect its efficiency.

Both the oil types can be used, however, synthetic oil is better because it keeps the engine safer and more efficient. Moreover, it also lowers the friction.

There’s always a debate on whether to choose synthetic oil or conventional oil.

While they appear the same, there are a few differences between the two in terms of price, quality, protection, and efficiency.

Experts say that synthetic oil is better because it has fewer impurities and hence it can help extend the life of the engine.

Best Synthetic Oil?

Rotella T6 Synthetic Diesel Motor Oil is one of the best synthetic oils on the market due to many reasons.

It improves 1.5% better fuel economy than other convention oils. Moreover, it comes with enhanced additives that are meant to extend the engine’s life by providing triple protection.

This oil contains preserving properties. It helps fight soot, debris and other kinds of contaminants.


  • Resists viscosity loss.
  • Help maintain oil pressure.
  • Resists heat that might cause wear and tear.
  • Protects the exhaust system from getting blocked.
  • Can be used in motorcycles and diesel vehicles.
  • Lasts above 5,000 miles easily.


  • Poor gallon construction and might leak sometimes.

This oil is suitable for diesel cars and motorcycles. It lasts for longer and has efficient and engine protective abilities.

Best Conventional Oil?

Valvoline Daily Protection is a good choice when you want to use conventional oil in your car’s engine.

It helps keep the engine clean while also enhancing oxidation and resisting viscosity.

It is tested for gasoline engines in the US, Japanese and European vehicles and has been proven to be wear and tear resistant.


  • Resists breakdowns in severe conditions: i.e: high engine temperature.
  • Helps prevent engine sludges.
  • Protects the engine from wear and tear.
  • Affordable.


  • Needs to be changed after 3,000 miles.

This conventional oil helps protect the engine better than most other options out there.

5. How Long Can You Go Between Oil Changes

Auto experts say that you can go about driving your vehicle for 3,000 miles.

However, most car manuals to change the oil after driving 5,000 miles in severe conditions and 10,000 miles if the conditions are mild.

How Many Miles Can You Go On Synthetic Oil?

Since this oil doesn’t have any impurities, one can drive for 10,000 to 15,000 miles easily on synthetic oil.

How Long Can You Go On Conventional Oil?

When you have conventional oil in your engine, you can cover between 3,000 to 5,000 miles before changing the oil.

Note: This also largely depends on the overall condition of the engine.

6. Do I Really Have To Change Oil Every 3,000 Miles?

Since the advent of modern cars, the engine and oil properties have improved and it’s no longer a necessity to change the oil every 3,000 miles.

You should judge it by looking at other signals, i.e: checking the condition and quality of the oil.

7. How Much Does An Oil Change Cost

Conventional oil can cost between $20-$55 while synthetic oil can cost between $45-$70.

8. How Long Does An Oil Change Take

It will take you about an hour to perform a car oil change if you’re a beginner. Experienced individuals, however, can perform the job in less than half an hour.

The Bottom Line

This is it. Now you know all that you need to know about a car oil change. We are sure this will help you know when and how to change car oil.

It’s important as a poorly lubricated engine reduces in efficiency and can sustain long-term damage as well.

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