How to Change Oil


Check your oil levels before changing the oil.
Learn how to check your oil levels
Repair Difficulty
diff-slider
Easy Medium Hard

Things You'll Need

Motor Oil
motor oil image

Motor Oil helps lubricate all parts of the engine while keeping it cool

Oil Filter
oil filter image

The Oil Filter helps remove impurities from the oil (water, dirt, metal and particles)

Oil Change Videos {{ !ctrl.make ? 'by Car' : 'for Your ' + ctrl.make.nm }}

Oil Change 101

What’s an oil change, and why is it important to me?


An oil change (and filter change) is one of the most common forms of preventative maintenance services for vehicles. Changing your vehicle’s oil and filter is simple, but critical to the operational longevity of your car.


How often do you need to change your oil and oil filter?


You should change your oil as often as your vehicle manufacturer recommends, as all cars are different. Typically, this information is in the owner’s manual, or in a separate maintenance schedule (which is typically included with the owner’s manual).


For decades, all cars needed an oil change every 3000 miles, and many cars still on the road do need that interval; and some new ones do as well. However, that interval has been increasing to 5,000, to 10,000, and even higher in some cars. For that reason, you need to refer to your manufacturers recommendations to understand how often your car needs an oil change.


If you’re fortunate enough, your vehicle will have an oil life monitor. For many years, manufacturers have said, it’s not about the number of miles your drive, but the nature of those miles. If you drive in certain extreme conditions, you might need to change your oil more frequently.

Those conditions include:


  • Lots of short trips, or operating primarily in stop and go traffic
  • Sustained high-speed driving
  • Extreme high temperatures
  • Extreme cold temperatures
  • Towing/Hauling

These kinds of usages will degrade the oil faster, and hence require a more frequent cadence of oil changes.


The good thing about an oil life monitor is that it actually monitors how you are driving, and it makes sure you change the oil only when you need to.


Things You'll Need

Motor Oil
motor oil image

Motor Oil helps lubricate all parts of the engine while keeping it cool

Oil Filter
oil filter image

The Oil Filter helps remove impurities from the oil (water, dirt, metal and particles)

Step-By-Step Oil Change Instructions

Tap each step to check off which ones you've completed
1
Use a car jack to raise your vehicle above the ground.

When using a jack, exercise caution to ensure no accidents. We also would suggest installing wooden blocks to the wheels of the opposite end being lifted.

2
Place a container under the oil pan to catch all the old oil.
3
Remove the drain plug, and let the old oil collect in the pan.
4
Clean the drain plug and re-install it.

If the drain plug gasket appears damaged, replace it.

5
Remove the old air filter.

Spin-on oil filter removals will require a wrench.

6
Wipe the base of the air filter clean.
7
Re-install new air filter.

Place the new filter into the base, and tighten it until the seal ring connects with the base. Then give it a half turn. Be careful, overtightening can split the gasket of distort the filter.

8
Cap the drain hole.
9
Fill it with new oil.

Be sure to use the manufacturer recomended grade and viscosity of motor oil.

10
Dispose old oil responsibly.

Oil Change Videos {{ !ctrl.make ? 'by Car' : 'for Your ' + ctrl.make.nm }}

Oil Change 101

What’s an oil change, and why is it important to me?


An oil change (and filter change) is one of the most common forms of preventative maintenance services for vehicles. Changing your vehicle’s oil and filter is simple, but critical to the operational longevity of your car.


How often do you need to change your oil and oil filter?


You should change your oil as often as your vehicle manufacturer recommends, as all cars are different. Typically, this information is in the owner’s manual, or in a separate maintenance schedule (which is typically included with the owner’s manual).


For decades, all cars needed an oil change every 3000 miles, and many cars still on the road do need that interval; and some new ones do as well. However, that interval has been increasing to 5,000, to 10,000, and even higher in some cars. For that reason, you need to refer to your manufacturers recommendations to understand how often your car needs an oil change.


If you’re fortunate enough, your vehicle will have an oil life monitor. For many years, manufacturers have said, it’s not about the number of miles your drive, but the nature of those miles. If you drive in certain extreme conditions, you might need to change your oil more frequently.

Those conditions include:


  • Lots of short trips, or operating primarily in stop and go traffic
  • Sustained high-speed driving
  • Extreme high temperatures
  • Extreme cold temperatures
  • Towing/Hauling

These kinds of usages will degrade the oil faster, and hence require a more frequent cadence of oil changes.


The good thing about an oil life monitor is that it actually monitors how you are driving, and it makes sure you change the oil only when you need to.


How can I check my Motor Oil Level?


Maintaining the right level of oil in your vehicle is extremely important. When motor oil is low, there is a risk of overheating the remaining oil, causing less lubrication.When motor oils are too high, it can lead to oil foaming, which again may result in less lubrication, and even loss of oil. Here is how you can check your engine oil levels:


Step-By-Step Oil Check Instructions

Tap each step to check off which ones you've completed
Additional Tips:
  1. You should check your oil every other time you fill your fuel tank.
  2. Some modern cars do not have dipsticks. Instead they provide digital options in their instrument panels to accurately tell you when your engine oil is running low.
1
Turn off the vehicle, and let it sit still for 15 minutes.

This allows the oil sitting on top of the engine to drain into the drain pan. The best time to check engine oil is after the vehicle has been siting overnight.

2
Open the hood of your vehicle, and locate the oil dipstick (if exists).

The dipstick will typically have a yellow handle, and in many cases an old oil lamp icon on the handle.

3
Pull out the dipstick using the handle, and wipe off any oil residue from the stick. Re-dip the stick fully, and pull it back out to see the oil level on thestick.

Wiping it clean ensures you are measuring the actual oil level, and not including any splashed-up residue that may falsely indicate higher levels.

4
Check the oil level on the stick to make sure it’s in the right operating range. If its low, get the right type of oil, and top it off.

When checking the oil, be sure to gauge the condition of the oil. When an engine is warm, the dipstick markings should be easy to readthrough the oil. However, if the markings cannot be read because the oil is too dark, your vehicle needs an oil change.