Introduction: Oil Change

Time to complete: 30 min -1 hr

Tools needed: Socket wrench, car jack, jack stands, oil tray

Parts/additional items: New oil, new oil filter, piece of cardboard (larger than oil tray),paper towels, empty container (can use oil container once you use all the oil)

The vehicle used in the pictures is a 2000 Honda Accord with a 4 cylinder engine. The type of oil/amount, filter size, position of parts, tools required, and maintenance schedule may vary for another make or model of car. You should consult your owners manual or check online to make sure you have to correct items before proceeding.

Read through ALL the step before you begin this project. Follow along with the steps, in order, while working. Be sure to complete each step before moving to the next one.

Step 1: Lifting Car (1)


*Never go under a lifted car that is only supported by a jack. If the jack slips or fails you will be crushed.*

Find a flat, level concrete surface in a safe location to do this project. Park the car and turn the car off. This project can be done while the engine is warm. If you are choosing to do this while the engine is still warm take extra caution to avoid burns from hot metal parts of the car and hot oil as it drains.

Locate the proper lift points for the front end of your car. These can be found in the owner’s manual or online. Also locate a good place to put a jack stand that can support the weight of the car (usually on a separate lift point, sub-frame, or cross member). Before you begin lifting the car be sure to engage the parking brake to prevent the car from rolling (for extra safety you can also place blocks behind the rear tires if you are worried about it moving).

Once you have located the lift point set the jack underneath the lift point. At this time u should also have the jack stand ready to be positioned.

Step 2: Lifting Car (2)

Lift the car until you can slide the jack stand underneath its resting point. Once the car is high enough, place the jack stand and slowly lower the car so that it is resting firmly on the stand. Leave the jack under the car raised enough to touch the lift point but not holding any weight (this is for added safety in case the jack stand fails).

Step 3: Draining the Oil (1)

Pop the hood of your car and remove the oil cap. Put it somewhere you will not lose it.

Step 4: Draining the Oil (2)

Locate the oil drain plug under the car. It is a nut that is located at the bottom end of your oil pan (check owner’s manual or online if you have trouble locating it). Attach the correct size socket to the wrench. Use the wrench to loosen the bolt (this may take quite a bit of force). You are just breaking it free a little so you will be able to remove it with your fingers later. DO NOT YET REMOVE ALL THE WAY.

Step 5: Draining the Oil (3)

Place the oil tray underneath the oil drain to catch the oil. Once the tray is in place, use your fingers to finish removing the drain plug. Let the oil drain for about 5 minutes. The oil will come out very rapidly at first. After a while the stream will stop and it will only be a very slow drip. Once the flow has become a slow drip continue to the next step.

Step 6: Draining the Oil (4)

Use a paper towel to clean off the plug and begin screwing it back in once the oil has been emptied. Once the plug is finger tight, use the wrench to finish tightening it back into place (about 1/4 turn). Do not tighten it too much as it could crack your oil pan or strip the bolt or threads.

Step 7: Changing the Oil Filter (1)

Locate the oil filter. It can usually be found above the oil pan to either side. It will look like a cylindrical canister. The sizes range from around baseball to softball size depending on the vehicle. It will be connected on only one side. If you are having trouble consult the owner’s manual or look it up online.

Once you have found the filter determine the best angle at which to try and remove it. Usually it is easiest to take it off from under the car, but on some vehicles it can be done front the top.

Move the oil tray and cardboard so that it is positioned under the filter. You should be able to unscrew it by hand. If you are having trouble getting a good grip use a paper towel to clean off some of the grease and try again. Once it begins to loosen, continue unscrewing it. It has a lot of threads so it will take quite a few turns. As it loosen some oil may leak out. This is normal.

Step 8: Changing the Oil Filter (2)

Once the filter is off, check to see if the rubber seal is still attached. If it is not you will need to reach up and remove it from the the engine so the new filter will fit properly. Dump the remaining oil from inside of it into the oil tray with the rest of the used oil. If the used filter is not draining or is draining slowly you can puncture the back side of the dome with a screwdriver to break the vacuum inside the filter. Once it is empty you may set it aside.

Step 9: Changing the Oil Filter (3)

Remove the new filter from the box. Open the new oil and dip your finger into the oil. Use the oil from your finger to lubricate the rubber seal. Be sure that the entire seal has oil on it (this will help it seal completely when it is screwed on).

Step 10: Changing the Oil Filter (4)

Screw the new filter onto the same place the old one was removed from. After several turns there will be some significant resistance. This means the seal is now pushing against the mounting point. From this point you should be able to turn it between ½ and 1 complete turns. This is as tight as it needs to be.

Step 11: Refilling the Oil (1)

Take you funnel and place it in the open oil port on the top of your engine. Slowly begin pouring oil into the funnel trying to avoid spills. Continue filling until you have added the recommended amount of oil for you vehicle (check owner’s manual or online for the exact amount).

Step 12: Refilling the Oil (2)

Once it is properly filled, wipe off any dripped oil and replace the oil cap. Start the car and let it run for about 5 to 10 minutes. Turn off the engine. Remove the dipstick and wipe it clean with a paper towel. Replace the dipstick and pull it out again. It should show an oil mark up to the second dot. this means it is properly filled. Add oil as needed. Usually distance between dots is is equal to 1 quart (this car was about 1/3 quart low). Once you are sure the oil is filled properly, get the car back on the ground and gather all you tools and items used.

Step 13: Disposal

The paper towels, cardboard, empty oil bottle, and empty oil filter may all be disposed of in the normal ways. The used oil should be put into an empty sealable container.

Use your funnel to help in dumping the used oil from the oil tray into your chosen empty container (here we used the empty oil container). Once the container has been filled you should dispose of it by taking it to a place that recycles oil. Some common places for disposal are AutoZone, Advanced Auto Parts, and Walmart Automotive Centers. Improper disposal of used oil is illegal and can cause harm to the environment so please be sure to get rid of it responsibly.