How to Change Your Oil (Ultimate Guide)

oil change

Today I'm going to be sharing with you exactly how to change the oil in your car or truck. This ultimate guide is for complete beginners who have never been taught or shown how to change the oil in their car. This ultimate guide will cover everything you need to know.

I also made a video explaining every step in detail which you can see below:

To start with let's look at the tools you're going to need to carry out an oil change.

tools needed to change your oil
image by Will Lawson

Tools

-breaker bar

-socket set

-funnel

-oil catch can

-oil filter pliers

Parts & Consumables

-Oil Filter

-Engine oil

-Sump plug washer kit

-1x can of brake and parts cleaner

-protective nitrile gloves

-shop wipes

All the tools used in this guide today will be included in the links at the end of this post so you can find them for your self if you need them. If you have any questions about anything in this guide please leave a comment and I will do my best to answer all of them.

You can use the guide in your local auto parts store to find the correct type of oil and filter for your car as seen in this video otherwise you can use either of the online resources linked below:

https://www.pennzoil.com/en_us/filter-selector.html (US) filter guide

https://www.pennzoil.com/en_us/oil-selector (US) oil guide

https://www.rycofilters.com.au/ (Australia) filter guide

https://www.penriteoil.com.au/lube-guide (Australia) oil guide

Step 1 Raise Vehicle

Once you have everything you need you will need to raise the vehicle.

To raise the vehicle safely I recommend watching the process in my video below.

time-stamped 4:35 through to 7:15

Once you have the vehicle raised and secured on stands don't forget to shake the vehicle to make sure it's safe and reposition the jack under the chassis as an added safety measure.

Step 2 Drain Oil & Replace Filter

Next step, drain the oil. To locate the oil drain pan watch the video below and proceed to unscrew the drain plug using the correct size socket and ratchet, or breaker bar if it's really tight!

Don't forget to position your oil catch can or drain tray underneath before proceeding to catch the old oil.

time-stamp 7:30 – 10:20

Next replace the washer for the oil drain plug before refitting it to the oil drain pan on the engine, this is important to make sure there is a good seal and you won't have to worry about it leaking before your next service.

Sometimes the washer can get a little stuck, the video below shows how to remove the washer if it is.

time-stamp: 10:22 – 12:58

Once the oil has drained and the drain plug is re-fitted the oil filter must be changed. To do this use the pliers to remove the old oil filter by latching onto the filter and rotating it counter-clockwise. You might be able to remove it by hand but over time the filter tightens between services.

Watch below to see how this is down in detail:

time-stamp: 12:58 – 16:02

Step 3 Re-fill Oil

 

Next, refill the engine with oil using the funnel mentioned at the start of the post. To make sure you are putting oil into the right place, the video below shows exactly where it needs to go.

time-stamp: 16:12 – 17:44

 

After filling it with engine oil the level must be checked. To do this you must raise the vehicle up, remove the stands and lower it down onto the ground. The reason it needs to be back on the ground is to ensure the engine is not uneven and level.

To see how to jack the vehicle up again safely, watch the video below.

time-stamp: 17:52 – 18:55

Ensure the car is out of gear and in neutral, then proceed to start the engine.

Let the engine run for 5 minutes before shutting it down.

After waiting 10 minutes for the oil to settle in the engine, recheck the engine oil level by removing the dipstick (has a yellow handle) and is located in the engine bay.

Remove the dipstick, wipe clean the end, and re-insert it all the way until it stops. Remove the dipstick and look to see where the engine oil level is sitting.

It should be on the full mark as shown in the image below.

dipstick
image by Will Lawson

If the level is too low, gradually top up the engine oil, re-checking as you go.

If you over fill the engine oil by more than 500ml, drain out the excess oil until you have the correct level. More than 500ml can cause engine damage and seals to leak, so make sure this is right.

When you have the level right, make sure the oil cap is screwed back on, and close the bonnet. Have a look underneath to make sure there was no leaks from the work you have done and if not you are all finished.

I hope this ultimate guide to changing your oil has been helpful, if you have any questions leave them in a comment below and I will answer every single one of them.

Links to tools, parts and consumables used in this guide:

Semi Synthetic Oil I Recommend (AU): https://bit.ly/2rujd4J

Synthetic Oil I Recommend for Cars(US): https://amzn.to/2PtYA0t

Oil Filters I Used (AU):https://amzn.to/2RBPB00 suits Mazda Bt50 2011 2.5litre Diesel

Oil Filter I Recommend (US):https://amzn.to/38mOJSF

Tools I used: Copper Gasket: https://amzn.to/2RAZPxG

Pliers (multi grip):https://amzn.to/2LTiYY7

(optional) Oil Filter Pliers: https://amzn.to/2sa0LhS

Oil Drain Pan: https://amzn.to/2YxeNpP

Socket Set: https://amzn.to/347gFGQ

Breaker Bar: https://amzn.to/36nUyxl

Funnel: https://amzn.to/2Rz0L5t

Jack: https://amzn.to/2RBiSYt

Jack Stands: https://amzn.to/2LFs0aZ

18 thoughts on “How to Change Your Oil (Ultimate Guide)”

  1. Hi, thanks for this post, very clear and guided step by step. Just have a question: what . do you think about BIO Diesel? Do you think it can mess up the engine? Also, do you think it is much different to get fuel from one kind of oil to another? For example here in Italy they usually have the more expensive one, does it worth to spend more money on it?
    Thanks, wish you the best.

    1. Hi Andrea, I often wondered the same thing because I drive around in a diesel-powered vehicle. Generally, biodiesel fuel should be able to be used interchangeably with traditional diesel. However, some manufacturers recommend that you reduce the maintenance interval (often by 50 percent) to ensure that filters remain unclogged and the lubrication oil remains in good shape. However, it is important to consult the manufacturer of your engine for specific recommendations. So while bio diesel is better for the environment it might cost you twice as much to maintain your fuel system i.e. changing the fuel filters more regularly than with traditional diesel. The main things that can happen to your engine when running bio diesel are, 1. the engine oil can become diluted and therefore needs to be monitored more often to ensure the level is not too high, 2. the fuel filters can become blocked up sooner hence the need for more regular servicing. Personally, I just used standard diesel fuel, hope this helps you.

  2. Hey, I wanted to thank you for this well-written article on changing your oil. I now believe that with this article I can do this myself. This means I will not have to take my car to the mechanics, nor pay a friend to do it for me. Thanks again,

  3. Thanks for the post. Not being a car guy, I appreciate you keeping it simple and providing videos. I also appreciate your tip to not overfill the oil. That’s not something I was aware of. Providing the filter and oil guides is a nice touch.

    1. Hey Scott, that’s ok we all got to start somewhere and it’s those little tips that people sometimes leave out when they make guides like this so I’m glad that provided you some value.
      Thanks for the comment.

  4. Great detailed step by step guide here on changing your own oil. And the videos are clear too. This can really save money doing your own oil change and it seems so simple. I have never done an oil change on a car but I have done it on a dirt bike many times. I will give this is a try on my next oil change which is coming up soon.

    1. Hi Lee! dirty bikes are awesome to work on (when they’re clean lol) and fund to mess around on and ride as well. Wish I still had my dirt bike, miss those long trail rides. Yes you’re right it’s a great way to save money and it’s great you’re having a go at your next oil change soon. Let me know how it goes. All the best. Will.

  5. Hi Will,

    Great article, I feel that this a life skill that everyone should learn before they pass their drivers test. As part of the UK driving test you now need to learn how to check your oil; but you never have to learn how to change your oil which I think is a massive shame.

    My youngest brother is due to take his test soon and I think it’s important that he learns how to do this or at least know where to go when he does, so me and him will be working through this together over the weekend, as this really is an ultimate guide thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Nate, I agree it’s important to know how to do some maintenance on your own vehicle. I think it’s just great that you’re helping your younger brother out, great to see. Good luck with it all, let me know if you have any questions over the weekend. Happy to help.

  6. I can remember my dad teaching me to change the oil when I was about 10. We went through it twice. Later, he told someone that I knew how to change oil and could do so for their car. I had to stand up and say it wasn’t true. I didn’t really want to know how, so it just didn’t stick. I was rather ashamed, and so was my dad.
    It would have been so awesome to have had such a video way back then. I’m glad it’s out now. I’m not sure people like you realize how helpful you really are! No more embarrassed kids not able to change the oil!

    1. Hi Cathy, video is great for the repetition you can keep watching it and applying what you learn as you go repeating steps as you need. Apprentices take a full year of learning by watching tradesmen do jobs before they are allowed to even change the oil on customers vehicles so don’t be disheartened. Thanks for the kind words!

  7. Hi Will,
    Thank you so much for this great guide! I’ve been wanting to learn how to change my cars oil for the longest time but have always been afraid to. This was super informative and helpful. I actually feel like I might be able to tackle it now LOL. I know almost nothing about cars, but it would be nice to start saving some money by changing my own oil. I’m definitely bookmarking this for when I finally decide I’m ready! Thanks again.

  8. Very cool. Great videos too! I vaguely knew how it was done but these videos lay it all out very well and anyone can follow along. I also like the way you broke the video up into steps. Good job! Keep them coming!

  9. Hi Will,
    This is awesome, thanks!
    I confess that I’ve never changed my oil… lol. Either my husband or my son-in-law changes the oil in our cars, or if all else fails, I take it in somewhere.
    But you’re post makes it look so easy that there’s no reason why I can’t do this myself.
    Well… in the summer, lol. I live in Canada and winter’s are too cold…brrr.
    Thanks again,
    Suzanne

  10. It’s really great that you talked about how overflowing the engine with oil is really bad for it. We need to make sure that we get the right amount of oil in there so these damages don’t happen. My sister has an older car that she is really trying to keep running this year, so she needs to change the oil often.

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