How to Change Oil in a Car in 10 Steps, Part 1

You may throw your hands up in the air when it comes time to change the oil and decide to take your car to the local mechanic. However, if you don’t mind getting just a little dirty, learning how to change the oil in a car is really quite easy to do and keeps just a little bit more gas money in your pocket. In 10 easy steps, you can have your car purring like a kitten for another 15,000 kilometers.


Why even bother changing the oil in your car?

Engine oil lubricates the many moving parts of the engine, and helps to reduce the heat created by the constant contained explosions in each of the engine’s cylinders. Because of this, engine oil is one of the most crucial aspects of vehicle maintenance.

The inside of a combustion engine is extremely rough; there is intense heat and friction along numerous parts moving at high speeds. Although modern manufacturing technology has made engines more efficient and increased the engine’s longevity, this would not be possible without the constant use of clean motor oil lubricating the engine’s parts.

How often should you change your oil?

How often should you change your oil? The rate at which the oil of an engine should be changed varies based on many factors, such as differences between 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines, vehicle type, daily usage, and driving environment. However, a good rule is that a car engine should have the oil changed every 12,000–16,000 kilometers. Keep in mind that if the driving environment is very hot or cold, or if the engine RPM is very high (due to pulling large loads or having a need for speed), then a more frequent change is recommended.

Routine oil changes can be done at a auto garage, but it’s cheaper to do it yourself (not to mention giving you a chance to get better acquainted with what’s under the hood). Changing your car’s oil should take about 30 minutes–1 hour.


Things Needed for an Oil Change

There are 8 essential things needed for an oil change. They are:

  • New Oil
  • Oil filter
  • Wrench (for the oil filter cap and oil pan drain plug)
  • Small flat-head screwdriver
  • Funnel
  • Paper towels
  • Rubber or latex gloves
  • Oil drain pan

New Oil


The amount of oil required to fill an engine varies between different makes and models, but you can find the right amount for your car listed in your owner’s manual.


Oil Filter

oil filter

Although not essential during an oil change, changing the oil filter at the same time is recommended, since there’s a lot of debris in the filter that could pollute the fresh oil.


Wrench or Screwdriver


Most oil filters have a small nut welded into the metal casing so they can be removed with a wrench, but if the model oil filter in your car doesn’t have this, then a special oil filter wrench can be bought. A last resort is to use a screwdriver; puncture the filter with the screw driver, and use the leverage to twist the filter lose (this option can be really messy so if you’re not comfortable with oil on your hands, it may be best to take it to a mechanic if you’re not able to unscrew the oil filter with a wrench).




A funnel is required, because any spilled oil will 1) make it impossible to measure the amount you’re adding, and 2) become a fire hazard as the engine heats up. If a funnel is not available, a plastic water bottle with the bottom end cut off works great.


Paper Towels


Oil is messy. Paper towels clean up oily messes. Keep them close by during an oil change.


Rubber or Latex Gloves


Rubber or latex gloves are very convenient as they help keep your hands clean so that you don’t have to use paper towels! Oil stains skin and is difficult to wash off, not to mention slightly toxic. Towels are also useful in case of any spills or accidents on the engine or ground.

Oil Pan


An oil pan is required to catch the old oil as it drains out of the bottom of the vehicle. Draining oil directly onto the ground is not only harmful to everyone and everything that may come into contact with it, but is illegal in many countries.


How to Change Oil in a Car

So you’ve collected what you need and are ready to start. Continue on to Part 2 to find out how to change oil in a car!


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