Car oil and filter

How to change car oil and filter?

Engine oil of a car should be replaced between every 3000 to 15000 miles depending on the vehicle model, age and mileage and driving conditions. The exact service interval, type and amount of oil is described in the vehicle's manual.

Replacing engine oil can be carried out within an hour that most of us with some DIY skills can perform and requires a handful of basic tools only.

Prepare for a car oil change

Preferably service the car in a garage, otherwise choose a mild day with no wind as dripping oil can easily contaminate the road surface. Start the engine if cold for a minute to warm the oil for smoother drainage, but do not overheat.

You will need

  • a car lift or car jack
  • a socket set
  • a filter chain wrench
  • oil tray
  • rubber gloves
  • paper towels
  • (possibly) a funnel

Filter pliers are less likely to work due to space limitations and wrench chains provide considerably larger amounts of torque for turning a stuck filter

10 Easy steps to change motor oil and filter

  1. Park the car in a stabil position to avoid personal injury (especially if lifted)
  2. If the drain plug is located behind a cover remove it (as the bolts holding are likely to have rusted, treat them with WD-40 to extend their lifetime). Loosen the drain plug with a socket wrench but don't unscrew yet
  3. Place a large enough tray (both in size and volume) below the plug considering direction of flow
  4. Unscrew the drain plug slowly (with rubber gloves on) and let it drain completely into the tray below then wipe the washer and bolt clean
  5. Locate the oil filter (it can be under the hood in some vehicles or near the drain plug in others). Wrap the filter chain around the oil filter and loosen it by turning anticlockwise, then unscrew by hand. Make sure the remaining oil spills into the tray when the filter is removed
  6. To provide a better seal apply a thin layer of fresh oil to the rubber seal of the new oil filter (remove and refit gently without damaging it)
  7. Wipe off any leftover oil once draining complete, then screw the new filter back in place by hand - do not use tools to tighten. Screw the drain plug back in place securely
  8. Refill the engine with new oil according to the vehicle's user manual. Normally the difference is just a few dl between minimum and maximum levels, so check periodically and do not overfill
  9. When the oil reaches its maximum level close the oil cap and start the engine then turn it off after 15-30 seconds. This circulates and uses up some oil to lubricate the engine and fills the oil filter, so check the oil level again and top up if necessary
  10. Check for leaks and ensure the oil system is sealed throughout. Check the oil level regularly, especially after the oil change. Do not rely on the dashboard's engine light, in most vehicles it only comes on once the oil level drops well below the minimum required level
Draining engine oil
Step 4: Draining engine oil
Oil filter removal
Step 5: Loosen the oil filter
Removed oil filter
Step 5: Removed oil filter
Refilling engine oil
Step 8: Refill engine oil

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