Car Oil Change- the Right Way




If you are reading this, then you are probably considering changing the oil in your car....YOURSELF!!!! This is a very scary thought, you doing something mechanical to your car! Shouldn't that be left to the pros? Nah, it is just changing the oil.


This Instrucable will save you $$$

Difficulty: easy..

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Supplies + Tools

This is an important step!

If you skip this step then you will not even know how to complete your oil change!

Important Stuff
<ul class="curly">
<li>4-5 Quarts of Oil<li>New Oil Filter<li>A Pulse<li>Etc.</ul></p></fieldset><fieldset>
<ul class="curly">
<li>Socket Set<li>Oil Filter Wrench<li>Oil Catch Pan<li>SharpieRags</ul></p></fieldset><fieldset>


That should be it....I think

Step 2: Safety....yes or No? & Rasing the Car

Safety Is Important!!!!!!

I had to put safety and raising the car in one step because,

1. You would skip this step

2. There are some safety issues on raising the car

I know that you are on your mobile device, don't ask

The Chock


It is really important to chock your car tires. If your car starts rolling when it is raised and you are under there, then the car could fall right on you!!!!

Raising the Car

You only need to raise the car if you do not have access to underneath

Also, if you do not have a jack, you could always pop one tire on the curb.

Anyways...jack up your car and then PUT JACK SUPPORTS under the frame of the car. It is simple math people!!

Hydraulic jack fall + no jack stand= Flattened YOU

So, let's move on to the next step

Step 3: Draining Old Oil

You could skip this step, but then you wouldn't be changing you oil, just adding

First thing you do it locate you bolt (check your owners manual for location)

Then place oil pan underneath bolt

Loosen bolt with appropriate socket

Finish removing the bolt with your hand

Finally, let the oil drain

This is a messy one, so have rags or paper towels on hand.

Also, after you removed the bolt, lower the car form the jack so al the oil can drain.

The Following Section Is Completely Optional

Before you drain the oil, you should let your car warm up for about 5 minutes. This is because oil is thicker when cold and thinner when warm. Of course the thinner the oil, the easier it will drain. But (there always is a but), If you do this, then the oil will burn your skin. It is nearly impossible to change car oil without getting some on your hands. I made the unfortunate mistake by driving to the auto parts store to get the oil and then immediately changing the oil when I got home; lets just say the oil was HOT

The Following Section Is Not Optional

Move to the next step

Note: A big question is "what do I do with the old oil?" Well, I save mine to quench homemade knives, but if you are not into that, then you should be able to bring it to your local recycling center for FREE

Step 4: The Oil Filter


changing your oil filter EVERYTIME is important. If your don't change your oil filter, might as well don't change the oil!


to remove your filter, you may need the oil filter wrench.

OK, so what you need to do it remove your oil filter, prime it, seal the gasket, and put it back on. Whew! I am tired now (what you don't know is that I just said that very fast in my head).

Now do you want to know how to do all that stuff?

To remove your filter, turn it counter clock wise. This is the messy part since oil is in the filter and it spills out

To prime your filter, add some new oil into the new filter

To seal the gasket, rub new oil around the new filter gasket. This helps the filter seal onto the engine block better

To put it back on turn it clock-wise onto the engine block where you removed it. Hand Tight! Do not use the oil filter wrench to tighten it!

If This Does Not Make Sense, Consult To The Video On The Last Step

What I also like to do is write the date, mileage of the vehicle, and the type of oil I am using on the new filter.

Oh ya, this is important. Screw in your oil plug before going to the next step (this could have gotten messy)

Step 5: The NEW Oil

This is a pretty simple step ( my cat could do it if she had opposable thumbs!)

So what you do is locate your engine oil cap and remove it

Then you pour in the new oil, consult to your owners manual to see what type and how much oil you need

After putting the NEW (I know some of those cheap guys are putting the old oil back in) oil into the engine, check your dipstick. If you need more oil that what your manual says, put it in!

If you put too much oil in....good luck

NOTE: The oil on my dipstick looks old because for some reason my dipstick got stained, yours should be clean and clear

Step 6: The Last Step....So Sad

Well you guys, this is the last step I get to be with you. I am going to try to make the most of it.

Before we get started, I just wanted to say you all have been great readers

even you mobile device readers. I know that if you are reading this, you are on one

So, let's get started *sniff* on the last *sniff* step...

After you add and check the new oil, replace the engine oil cap!!

Then remove the chock ( or wood in my case)

and lower the car if you had to to change the oil filter

Ta dah! You just completed your oil change!!!!

Here is a video of the whole process, if you want, please subscribe to my YouTube channel.

If you have any question or concern or know a better way how to do it, leave a comment. Now, let it be known everybody has there own way of doing things, this is mine.

And for the mobile device readers, here is a link to the video since I know the video on here is just a picture for you:

Until next time,


Step 7: ANOTHER STEP!! 8/7/15 Update

After a few days live, a few of the commenters taught me a few things I didn't know about newer car models, and some reminded me of some things that I forgot to mention.


On many modern cars the recommended technique is to get the engine properly warm 
eg. 20 minutes driving. Then when draining the oil allow it to drain for at 
least 20 or 30 minutes. If you don't you can risk turbo charger failure.

I don't know anything about turbo charged cars, but I want to let you turbo people that this is apparently the recommended way to do it. What I think is that the oil, oil pan, drain plug, filter, etc, would be extremely HOT and cause really painful burn if it got on you. And when you reach for the filter, your arm will be burned since the chances that you wouldn't touch the engine or some metal are just about as great as winning operation without having the buzzer going off! But alas, if it will save your awesome turbo charged car, what is burned skin to you? I would do it if I had one.


And when you have changed the oil, get a strong magnet, like one from a hard drive, and put it on the filter, any worn fragments of metal from the engine will be pulled into the filter.

I have heard of this one, just never tried it. I will definitely have to do it next time


a couple tips. 1)before draining the oil, remove the filler cap. this will make draining faster as you will allow air in from the top. 2)I don't fill my filter prior to assembly. on small Japanese cars where there's little room to snake the filler back in,doing this is just asking for messy trouble. all that is needed is to add a little oil on the gasket for a good seal.

I did forget to mention to remove the oil cap when draining. Sorry I failed you guys. As for the filter part, it is my preference to at least put some oil in it, so when you first start the engine, it is not trying to cycle through non-existing oil. But like I said, this is how I do it, you may do it differently.

That's it, thanks for all the comments!! if there are more types of these comments, I will do another update! I don't know if you noticed, but this is in the car and motorcycle contest, so it would be greatly appreciated if you vote for me there.

Also, don't forget to rate this instructable below!

Do you like this Instructable?

Car and Motorcycle Contest

Runner Up in the
Car and Motorcycle Contest

Outside Contest

Participated in the
Outside Contest

1 Person Made This Project!


  • CNC Contest

    CNC Contest
  • Teacher Contest

    Teacher Contest
  • Maps Challenge

    Maps Challenge

30 Discussions


3 years ago

Probably the (2nd?) best reason to change your own oil is you know exactly what you're putting in your car, and because it's your car, you will remember to tighten the drain plug. Those "Quick Lube" places are pretty slipshod sometimes; I have heard more than one story of destroyed engines because the did not tighten the drain plug. Also, modern engines can be pretty picky about oil types - Always use what the owner's manual recommends unless you know exactly what you're doing.

For instance, I use 10W-40 instead of 5W-30 because I live in a very hot climate, and I know the only reason (in this case) the manufacturer recommends the lighter weight (5W) oil is to comply with Federal MPG requirements... It probably shortens engine life, but the lower friction makes the engine (slightly; maybe 5%) more efficient.

I'd rather my expensive engine last a long time, because I keep my cars a long time.


4 years ago

but how much $$ sre you really saving with parts etc. have a camry last oil change was 60 dollars..i wanna change my own though

3 replies
W Skinnerdiyflyguy

Reply 4 years ago

Well, based on a $60 change, I can compare that to my oil changes. I pay $26 for a 5 quart jug of mobile-1 5-30 weight and another $7 for a filter. But the value goes beyond oil change savings. While i am under the car I look around for other issues. Many of them can be fixed for a few bucks if caught early enough, but if left unrepaired can turn into multi-hundred dollar repairs down the road.


Reply 4 years ago

it does save alot of money. oil normally cost $20-30 and the new filter cost $3-4. of course you will need a jack and stands, but that is a one time cost (for me) of $60. so you are saving a ton of money in the long run. it saves my family money since I can change all 4 car's oil for around $90, including a big truck that takes A TON of oil.

Hope this helps!! thanks for reading and commenting!



4 years ago on Introduction

And when you have changed the oil, get a strong magnet, like one from a hard drive, and put it on the filter, any worn fragments of metal from the engine will be pulled into the filter.

3 replies
Thom KouwenSteveH9

Reply 3 years ago

Do you mean putting a loose magnet into your oil filter?! It is potentially very dangerous for your engine (blockage/higher resistance to flow) and quite pointless to be honest, an oil drain plug magnetic in probably 99% of all engines, so no need to put loose stuff in your filter ;) plus most metallic "debris" in an engine is non magnetic, like copper and bronze, engines are made more and more out of aluminum, also not magnetic.

SteveH9Thom Kouwen

Reply 3 years ago

No put a earth magnet on the outside of the filter! Google Filter-Mag its the same sort of idea.


3 years ago

I need an oil change every 5000k's and there is a way to avoid all the burns from hot oil and the possible mess of pilling.
You can get so called "quick drain" plugs, they replace the original drain screw and act like a little tap.
Add a short hose to the end, let it go into your collecting canister and open the tap - check back in an hours or so and don't forget to close it.
I do an oil change this way without getting my hand dirty :)


4 years ago on Introduction

Other Tips:

1. When removing the drain plug, push in on the plug as you unscrew it -- less oil drips on your hands.

2. Have a 2liter bottle with the top cut off; break the tension on the filter with the wrench, then put the 2 liter on the filter, and grip it through the bottle -- the oil falls into the bottle and not (as much) on your hands (even better for diesels because their filters are that big).

3. Never mix oil brands (esp Quaker State). Their additives may not be compatible with each other (if you top Quaker State off with Castrol, it used to cause the metals to fall out, so you ended up with white slime everywhere [except -- if the there's no zinc left in the oil because it fell out in the oilpan, how do you get the zinc to the pistons, etc).

4. Use synthetic in cold regions. Conventional oil turns to peanut butter when really cold...

José EduardoG

4 years ago on Step 6

thanks ! I'm new in this car stuff, I have a 2015 nissan march, thanks!


4 years ago

Just a thought, no more no less:
If you pull the ecu relay or otherwise de-energize power to the coil/ignition circuit, it will allow you to operate the starter to turn the engine over (so the oil pump can prime the engine and filter) without actually starting the car. About 15-20 seconds should be enough time; but not much more than that because the starter temperature will begin to rise and the battery will lose voltage.

2 replies
W SkinnerDoStuffRight

Reply 4 years ago

Casing is talking about turning the engine over without the ignition energized so the oil pump can lube the engine fully before its subjected to actual operating conditions. Its a standard technique when you are building a new engine. You never want to fire an engine when it is complete dry. Probably not too important at an oil change though. The old oil will cling to parts well enough while you drain it.


4 years ago on Introduction

Always saturate your oil filter. No need to fill to top. My big block Fords have the filter straight on the side of the block, never had a problem. Most of the time you dump new oil in with a funnel, if you feel there is too much oil in the filter, put it in the funnel and drain it into the crankcase.


4 years ago

excellent write up! Once I'm done with the oil change, I start the engine to make sure the new oil in the engine gets to where it needs to go. Then I check the dipstick again. a lot of the times, I will have to add about a 1/4 quart to make sure it's at the right level. Also torque the drain plug to 32ft/lbs.

1 reply

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

I did forget to write that down in the instructable, but I believe I said it in the video? Also, torque levels depend on the cars make and model, but I have never had a problem with just using a regular ratchet. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that the drain plug is one of the bolts that doesn't really need to be torqued, just tightened enough so it wont come loose. But hey, I am not a mechanic. Though it probably would be a good idea to use a torque wrench so you don't strip the oil pan or plug. Matter of preference I guess.

Thanks for reading,



4 years ago

Dude, writing the mileage on the oil filter is a freaking stroke of genius! I'm totally gonna do this now