A beginner’s guide: How to change the oil in a car

 

How to change the oil in a car or truck:

 

An oil change is pretty much one of the easiest of services that need to be performed on our vehicles. The oil needs to be changed because over time it starts to collect deposits from the engine and creates internal build up, increasing drag and work load on the engine. The longer we wait, the worse of an impact it can have. Keeping the oil/lubrication system clean and functional is as important as proper blood flow in our veins.

 

Tools needed:

 

Supplies needed:

  • Oil
  • Oil filter
  • Rags/shop towels

 

Step 1: Get the vehicle set up to work under.

Set the emergency brake. If using a jack to lift the vehicle be sure to leave jack stands underneath to support the weight of the vehicle.

 

Step 2: Locate drain plug and oil filter (In this example I am working on a newer model Cadillac Escalade)

 

Drain plug location

 

Oil filter location

Step 3: Remove drain plug and remove oil filter

 

Loosening drain plug



 

Removing drain plug

 

Removing oil filter

 

Step 4: Install plug and filter

Reinstall the plug when the oil is drained, wait until oil is no longer consistently draining from the pan, once the stream turns into a slow drip it’s good to go. Make sure to inspect the oil filter adapter for any debris or old gaskets, it is common for the old filter’s gasket to stay stuck in place, so double check that that is not the case. Once you have everything cleaned up run a thin layer of clean oil on the new filter’s gasket.

 

Oil filter adapter, clean up any debris/oil

 

Lubricating oil filter seal with clean oil

 

Step 5: Refilling engine oil

After getting the bottom of the vehicle finished and cleaned up then head to the engine bay. Now we need to refill the engine. Fill the oil fill cap and install your funnel, add the appropriate amount of oil (can be found at parts stores, if you do not know the capacity for your vehicle let us know and we’ll find out for you!) After adding oil start the engine and let it run for a minute. Turn engine off and check the oil dipstick to make sure oil is at the appropriate level.

Engine oil fill hole and funnel

 

Engine oil dipstick

 

Step 6: Inspect for leaks

After finishing your oil change and running the engine make sure to check for any leaks under the vehicle. If things are leak free then you are finished!!

Congrats on your first oil change!! Now keep up a proper maintenance schedule and you will know more about your car then you ever thought possible!!

 

As always, have fun and stay safe!!

 

6 Comments

  • Elbert says:

    Hi Grey,

    thank you for this article, i never changed my car oil by myself , i always changed it on a car workshops , now i know that i can do it myself properly by reading step by step from this article.

    how long should i change the oil for a brand new car ?

    • GGrey says:

      Hey Elbert, glad you found the info useful!!

      Most manufacturers recommend having the oil changed at 3,000 the first time. After that some recommend every 3,000, others recommend every 5,000. I use synthetic oil that says it is rated up to 10,000 miles but I still like to change it around 5-6,000. Hope that helps!!

  • PELESIO KAMA says:

    Hello Grey
    I am glad that I came across your article. It has been quite a while since I have attempted to change my own oil. Ever since they came up with all those cheap oil change places they have these days, I stopped changing my own oil about 15 years ago. it was more convenient to just take my car to these places. Somehow, since I have started doing that, I have realized that a lot of these cheap oil change places are getting sloppy in how they do their work. Their was a time that one of them just drained the old oil and refill it with the new oil without changing the oil filter. There are other problems I had with these places but i don’t want to spend too much time on them here.
    Anyway, I am glad that I came across your article so I can use it to refresh my oil change skills. I am planning to go back to changing my own oil like I did in the past. My vehicles are too important to me to allow others to continue doing rush rush jobs on them.

  • Great website. says:

    Hello Grey
    I am glad that I came across your article. It has been quite a while since I have attempted to change my own oil. Ever since they came up with all those cheap oil change places they have these days, I stopped changing my own oil about 15 years ago. it was more convenient to just take my car to these places. Somehow, since I have started doing that, I have realized that a lot of these cheap oil change places are getting sloppy in how they do their work. Their was a time that one of them just drained the old oil and refill it with the new oil without changing the oil filter. There are other problems I had with these places but i don’t want to spend too much time on them here.
    Anyway, I am glad that I came across your article so I can use it to refresh my oil change skills. I am planning to go back to changing my own oil like I did in the past. My vehicles are too important to me to allow others to continue doing rush rush jobs on them.

  • Jim says:

    I have saved a lot of money over the years doing my own oil changes.

    I am glad to see you added the tip of spreading some clean oil on the new filter. Many people do not do that and they wonder why they get leaks around the filter after installation.

    I once had to deal with a drain plug that was cross threaded. Luckily, the pan was not damaged so I only had to replace the plug, itself. Whew! It would have been a nightmare to have to replace or rethread the pan.

    Enjoyed the article!

    Jim

    • GGrey says:

      Hey Jim, thanks for stopping by!!

      It’s wild how much we can save when we learn to perform our own routine maintenance, I’m surprised more people do not.

      You got lucky with that drain plug for sure, I have had quite a few that have needed to be re-threaded, sometime’s it is easier to just replace the pan!

      Have a great night!

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