Introduction: Performing an Oil Change

In this tutorial we will be using a 1997 GMC Sonoma with a 4.3L V6.


The first step in changing oil is getting the supplies.

(Note you will need to know the make, model, and engine size of your vehicle.)

1. oil

2. additive (optional)

3. oil pan

4. oil filter

5. filter wrench

6. wrench

7. funnels

8. rags

(Note I have also added a link to the recommended oil change intervals in the description.)

Step 2: Raise Vehicle

This step is very important!

You will want to either raise your vehicle using a jack and jack-stands or ramps. On this job I used ramps, they are safer to use than jacks.

Always apply the emergency brake after driving up on ramps!

Step 3: Open the Hood

For this step you will need to locate the hood release, this is usually on the floor by your gas and brake pedals towards the door.

After you pull the lever, the hood should pop up slightly. You will then have to locate the release on the front of the vehicle under the hood.

After released you will be able to open your hood.

Step 4: Locate the Oil Filler Cap

After locating this cap that will be marked with the engine oil sign, you will then remove this cap.

This may seem like a pointless step but will help the oil drain out of the plug at the bottom of the oil pan.

(Note most of the time the oil cap has the weight of the oil recommended for that vehicle.)

Step 5: Draining the Oil

In this step you will need to locate the drain plug on the bottom of the engine. After locating the plug take your wrench and loosen it until you can unscrew the plug by hand.

Next, move the oil pan underneath the plug. Take the plug out by hand. (Note the oil that comes out of the plug will be hot so use a rag to take it out) The oil will then drain into your pan.

After it finishes draining, reinstall the plug and tighten it back up using the wrench.

Step 6: Removing the Oil Filter

You will need to locate the oil filter and remove it. (Note there is two types of oil filters nowadays, cartridge and canister.) The filter on this truck is a canister filter. Canister filters are usually located underneath the vehicle, where cartridge is usually under the hood.

After finding the filter you will use a filter wrench to loosen the filter. Once it is freely spinning move the oil pan under the filter and remove by hand.

Step 7: Installing New Filter

Take the new filter out of the box and rub some oil on the rubber gasket on the top. This will help to seal the gasket to the mating surface.(Note you can use some of your oil you got for the engine.)

After prepping the surface of the filter, wipe off any old oil that is on the mating surface on the bottom of the vehicle. Then simply thread on the new filter.

Step 8: Add the Oil

Once everything is reinstalled locate the oil filler tube under the hood.(Note this is the tube we removed the cap from in the earlier steps.) Place a funnel in the tube to help with poring the oil into the engine. Add the oil and continuously check the oil level on the dip stick.(Note the oil dipstick will be clearly marked with a yellow handle and lettering.)

After you start to see oil on the dipstick add until it is on the full mark.(Note the dipstick will have an add mark and a full mark with lines in between as seen in the picture above.) This is also the step where you could add an oil additive if you wish.

Start your vehicle to let the oil filter fill up with oil. Then shut the vehicle off and recheck the oil, add if necessary.

Step 9: Checking for Leaks

After you have finished the previous steps you can reinstall the oil filler cap, and start the vehicle. Look under the vehicle for any leaks coming from the drain plug or oil filter.(Note if it does start to leak a little, tighten the oil filter or drain plug.)

Once you are happy with your work release the emergency brake and drive your vehicle off the ramps. If you are using a jack and jack-stands take out the stands then lower the jack.

Step 10: Questions and Resources

If you have any questions you can go to your local auto parts store and they will be able to guide you on the right path. You can also look on YouTube, they have some very helpful videos for specific cars. Your owners manual for your car or the dealership are other good resources.

Lastly, if you have any questions or would like to give me feedback you can contact me on the top of the page.

Oil change intervals