Introduction: Changing the Oil in Your Car.

About: College student

This is a step by step process with pictures of how to change the oil in your cars engine. I will break it down into small detailed steps. I recommend going through the entire process before you start so that you don't get halfway through and realize you forgot something and don't have an operational vehicle to go get it.

Here's the short list of what this covers.

1-Drain the oil: Don't forget to put the plug back in.

2-Change the filter: Make sure the old O-ring comes out and the new one goes in.

3-Re-fill with oil: Don't under-fill, don't over-fill. There's a dipstick for a reason.

4-Responsibly dispose of the used oil: You like the environment right.........


A few rags, paper towels, or shop rags. I prefer the disposable blue shop towel rolls.

Nitrile gloves if you have a problem with getting dirty oil on your hands.

1-Wrench or socket and ratchet that is the correct size for your drain plug

1-Oil filter wrench that fits your oil filter.

Optional- A funnel that fits the fill hole for your engine (this isn't required but it helps to not make a mess).

1-Drain pan with an appropriate capacity for the oil capacity of your car.

1-New oil filter for your specific car.

New oil for your car. See owner's manual or google for the correct type and quantity for your car.

1-Set of ramps to elevate the front of your car, OR 2-jack stands and a jack to lift the front of your car.

Step 1: Familiarize Yourself With the Location of Relevant Parts of Your Car.

These parts on your car may be slightly different than the pictures.

Start by opening the hood of your car. There is a hood release in the passenger compartment. It is usually located under the dash or on the driver side kick panel (just forward of the driver door).

1:Find the dipstick. If you don't already know, this is how you check the oil level of your car. Most newer dipsticks are painted yellow or made of yellow plastic and are marked as "engine oil". Some older vehicles have a black dipstick with yellow lettering. It should be located near the top of the engine. If your car has an automatic transmission it may have a similar looking transmission fluid dipstick, these are typically red and marked as "transmission".

2:Find the oil filler cap. This should be located on the top of the engine. Most are marked as "engine oil" some of them are also labeled with the correct type of oil for the engine.

3:Find the drain plug. This will be located on the bottom of the engine oil pan. You will probably need to climb under the car to see it.

4:Find the engine oil filter. This will likely be accessed under the car as well but some cars are different and this may be accessed from the top, or both. There are two types of filters. A filament type which has a reusable housing and a canister type which are disposable. A picture of each is shown, the cutaway picture is the filament type.

Step 2: Prep Your Tools.

Make sure all of your tools are ready to go. This is also a good time to verify that you have the correct oil filter and oil for your car.

You should have an end wrench or a socket and ratchet for the drain plug.

You should also have a filter wrench or the correct end wrench or socket and ratchet to remove the oil filter housing.

Now is a good time to make sure you have rags or shop towels available as well.

Step 3: Lift the Front of Your Car.

Set the ramps at the width of your car's front wheels and drive your car onto the flat section of the ramps. Put the car in park, set the parking brake, and shut down the engine. Put the key in your pocket so that no one can start the car while you are underneath it.

Step 4: Drain the Oil, Change Out the Oil Filter.

Remove the oil fill cap from the top of the engine, this allows air flow while the oil is draining(think water bottle dumped completely upside down, the water doesn't come out smoothly unless there is a way for air to get in). Place the drain pan under the drain plug in a way that will catch the oil as it comes out of the drain hole. climb under the car, watch out for hot exhaust pipes. Using the correct size wrench or socket, remove the drain plug. Remember righty tighty lefty loosey. Try not to drop the drain plug into the drain pan, it's not fun to fish it out. Let the oil drain into the pan until it stops dripping or until there is at least 5-10 seconds between drops. Re-install the drain plug with the same wrench or socket you used to remove it. Do not over tighten or cross-thread the plug. It should turn in easily with your fingers until the flange of the bolt contacts the oil pan, then tighten it with the wrench. It should take about 20-30lbs of force on the wrench. Wipe away any excess oil from around the drain plug with a rag or shop towel. Re-position the drain pan underneath the oil filter. If your oil filter is accessed underneath the car use the filter wrench to loosen the old filter, if your car has a filament type filter you may need an end wrench or socket to do this, if the filter is accessed from the top then find it for the next step. Spin the oil filter off by hand and let the oil drain into the drain pan, make sure the O-ring seal comes off with the filter. Some drain pans have a place to set the used filter so it can drain out. Once the oil has stopped dripping from the engine, install the new filter and tighten it as tightly as you can by hand. If you are concerned that you didn't get it tight enough you can use the filter wrench to turn the filter about one quarter of a turn tighter.

Step 5: Fill With New Oil, Check the Level.

Now that the old oil is drained, the drain plug is re-installed, and the filter has been replaced you are ready to fill the engine with new oil. Reference your owners manual or the google machine for the correct amount of oil for your car. Some cars have different engine options with different oil capacities, make sure you know which engine your car has so you have enough oil and the correct type.

If you are using a funnel, place the spout into the fill hole. Pour in the recommended amount of oil, reference the owners manual again if you forgot how much that is. Check the dipstick for oil level, it needs to be between the lines or dots on the end of the dipstick as shown in the picture. Pull the dipstick out, wipe it off with a rag, put it all the way back in, pull it back out and check it. If it is slightly over-full that is ok. Put the cap back on and remove all tools and rags from the engine bay. Start the car and watch for the oil pressure gauge to read normally, this should only take a few seconds. If your car doesn't have an oil pressure gauge wait for about 30 seconds and shut off the car. Check the level on the dipstick again, if it reads below the minimum mark add oil a little bit at a time until it reads between the marks. Make sure the dipstick and cap are re-installed correctly.

Step 6: Finish the Job.

You are done with the oil change but you still have a few things left to do. First, gently slight the drain pan out from underneath the car. Be careful not to spill, if you do spill use the shop towels or rags to wipe up any oil. Use your funnel and carefully pour the used oil into an empty milk jug or the empty oil bottles. Properly dispose of this by finding a local facility that accepts used oil. Auto parts stores or your local city public works facility usually provide this as a free service.

Double check to make sure there is nothing underneath the car and back it off of the ramps.

Make sure all of your tools are cleaned up and you are done.