How to Change Your Engine Oil




Intro: How to Change Your Engine Oil

Hello, My name is Jonathan and I will walk you step by step on how to do an oil change. I will be using my vehicle to demonstrate the proper procedure on how to change your engine oil.

Step 1: Know the Vehicle

First know the year, make, and model of your vehicle to find out what viscosity of engine oil you need and the amount you will need. You can find this information on your owners manual and/or online.

  • I have a 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT with a 3.8L Engine that needs 4.8 quarts of oil.

Step 2: Tools and Equipment

  • The right type of oil for your vehicle (OEM Spec) - Mobil 1: 5w-20
  • Have enough oil- 5 quarts
  • New oil filter
  • the right size socket for your oil drain plug- 11/16
  • 3/8 or 1/2" Ratchet
  • A floor jack
  • 2 jack stands
  • oil filter remover
  • wheel chocks
  • Cardboard
  • Oil pan
  • Some rags

Step 3: Prep.

Make sure you are doing the job in an open and flat area where you have enough space to do it. Also, know where your drain plug and oil filter are located. I am doing this job at my high school auto shop. Make sure you run the car for like 5 to 10 minutes to get the engine warm and the oil flowing. Then, I checked the oil level of my car. TIP: Take off the oil cap to let the oil drain faster.

Step 4: Lifting the Vehicle

Using the jacks I lifted the front driver and passenger side of the vehicle. First, lifting it from secure lift points then placing the jack stands on the pinch welds. Place the wheel chocks on the rear wheels.

*DO NOT* get under the vehicle if you are unsure where to lift it from. Have someone with experience help you out.

Step 5: Draining the Oil

Now before I started. Place the pan at an angle with the plug

  • Do not place it right under because the oil should come out at an angle.

Once I let it drain for about 5 minutes I cleaned the oil drain plug. Then I installed it with the ratchet. I just made sure it was tight on there so it wouldn't leak. There is a torque spec you can find for it, but having it tight on there shouldn't give you a problem.

Step 6: Filter

Once the oil drained I located my oil filter. Then I placed the oil pan under the filter. Using the oil filter remover I turned it counterclockwise until it loosens. Next, with my hand I turn the filter until it came off. Once its removed dump the remaining oil inside the old oil filter into the oil pan. Inspect the old oil filter and make sure the o-ring is still on it. If no then look at where the filter goes to make sure its not stuck there. I then cleaned off where the new filter is going to go. I grabbed the new filter and I filled it half way with oil. I did this because once you star the engine it has some oil to start moving and it doesn't have to wait for the oil pump to pump some through. Also, using your finger place oil on the new filters o-ring to create a good seal. Now, I'm ready to install the new filter. I start turning the filter clockwise until I feel it touch the surface. Then, I marked the filter, so I know how much it turned. generally for a new oil filter you should turn it about 3/4 turn once it touched the surface.

Step 7: New Oil

Once I finished installing the filter and the oil drain plug, I was ready to fill the car with new oil. I used a funnel to make it easier on me. I filled it to about 4.6 quarts since i had already put some in the filter.

TIP: If you are using a 5 quart bottle than when pouring it down hold it side-ways so it doesn't gulp out.

Once I filled it to about 4.6 quarts, I then checked if it was leaking from the oil filler plug or the filter. There was no leak, so next I lowered the car, took both jack stands off, and removed the wheel chocks.

Step 8: Running Your Vehicle

Since i was doing this job at my high school auto shop, so it has a running ventilation system. I just had to hook up an exhaust hose to my vehicle before I ran it.

Do not run your car in a closed area without a ventilation system. Toxic gases come out of your car and are highly dangerous.

Once i had the exhaust hose set up I started the vehicle and left it running for about 5 minutes to get the oil moving inside. Then, I checked the oil level on the dipstick and it was right in the center of the min and max lines.

Step 9: Done.

I finished the job and this is how you normally change oil on most type of vehicles. To dispose of your old oil take it to a local auto parts store, and even Walmart, they can dispose of it properly. Changing your oil is very important to do generally around every 3000 miles if possible. Changing your own oil can save you money. Thank you all for your time. I hoped you find this intractable helpful, so you can change your own oil.



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    11 Discussions


    3 years ago on Step 8

    never heard of running it for 5 minutes, for the oil to get long as the pressure gauge light goes out, you should be okay.....and of course have no leaks from the plug or filter location. good instructable!

    3 replies

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    It's best to check for leaks with the engine running - some leaks don't appear until the oil system is pressurized. Better to let the engine run for a few minutes and check for leaks THOROUGHLY before leaving the shop than to discover a problem on the road. Also, while it's running you can take that time to check other things on the car - automatic transmission fluid and charging system voltage are two items that require the engine to be running to check.


    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    As a guy who made the newbie mistake of not checking to see if the oil filter gasket came off with the oil filter once, I endorse this comment.


    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Points to ponder: A stuck seal ring sometimes happens after a long period in use. While the second gasket seals, it can not hold system pressure and blows resulting in an ugly mess when the two move against each other. Just some info to motivate that little check on the seal of the old filter.


    3 years ago on Step 9

    A nice instructable. Only issue is with the 3000 mile change comment. Most automakers now recommend a much longer duty cycle especially with synthetic oil. See


    3 years ago on Introduction

    You mentioned getting the right oil viscosity for you car, you didn't mention getting the correct oil filter for your car. Also not all oil filters are vertical so you can't always fill them half way. Depending on the Oil type you get (conventional v.s. full synthetic) you can go up to 10000 miles or 12 months between oil changes depending on your driving habits. Great walk thru on a quickly vanishing skill.

    Ric Malandrino

    3 years ago

    Hahaha.I grew up with my dad teaching me how to do this at 6. AL the same steps. Now I'm 23 and I've been doing my brothers dad's mom's and my car since I was 9.


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Nice oil replacing guide!

    According to your engine oil color(very dark) and your car model is not that new(like mine) you supposed to use an engine oil flush before the replacing the new oil. It isn't necessary, but why is that important? dark color oil means that the oil was got dirty from sediments of previous oil replacing before - it might cause problems in the future. As I said this isn't a must process, but engine flush doen't cost so much and if someone is already do that it might save few bucks or the entire car(if the engine will be 'dead') - I recommend STP's or LIQUI-MOLY's flush, I used both vrand and they work great, if soneone knows other brands please share.


    3 years ago

    Very good instructions! The procedure you wrote will work for motorcycles as well!


    3 years ago

    it need be mention that the oil cap must be on there all the way, hand tight for most cars, torque checked like mine. you'd think that is common sense but I know a guy that just screwed it down and .... it was a oil volcano

    but very solid Instructable! thanks!


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Great guide!

    Glad to see you used chocks on the rear wheels. I see people in my neighborhood getting under their jacked up cars without properly placed chocks, and it makes me cringe! Thanks for sharing this.