Changing Your Car’s Oil

Changing your car’s oil might seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re not well-versed in automotive maintenance. However, it’s a fundamental skill that every car owner should learn. Not only does it save you money in the long run, but it also ensures your vehicle runs smoothly and efficiently. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through the step-by-step process of changing your car’s oil, making it easy for beginners to understand and follow.

Why Changing Your Car’s Oil Is Important

Before we dive into the DIY guide, let’s first understand why changing your car’s oil is crucial. Engine oil serves as the lifeblood of your vehicle’s engine. It lubricates moving parts, reduces friction, and helps dissipate heat. Over time, engine oil becomes contaminated with dirt, debris, and engine byproducts, causing it to lose its effectiveness. Failure to change your car’s oil regularly can lead to:

  1. Reduced Engine Performance: Dirty oil can’t lubricate effectively, which can lead to increased friction and engine wear.
  2. Decreased Fuel Efficiency: A poorly lubricated engine requires more energy to operate, leading to reduced fuel efficiency.
  3. Engine Damage: Without proper lubrication, the engine can sustain severe damage, resulting in costly repairs.
  4. Shortened Engine Life: Neglecting oil changes can significantly reduce your engine’s lifespan.

Now that you understand the importance of regular oil changes let’s get started on the DIY guide for beginners.

Tools and Materials You’ll Need

Before you begin, gather the following tools and materials:

  1. Car Jack and Jack Stands: These are essential for safely raising and supporting your vehicle.
  2. Wrench Set: You’ll need this for removing the oil drain plug and oil filter.
  3. Oil Filter Wrench: Helps in removing the old oil filter.
  4. Oil Pan: To collect and dispose of the old oil properly.
  5. New Oil Filter: Ensure it’s compatible with your car’s make and model.
  6. New Engine Oil: Refer to your car’s manual for the correct oil type and quantity.
  7. Oil Funnel: For clean and precise oil pouring.
  8. Oil Filter Gasket: Often included with the new oil filter.

Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Safety First

Safety is paramount. Make sure you’re working in a well-ventilated area and wearing protective gear, such as gloves and safety glasses.

Step 2: Prepare Your Vehicle

Start your car and let it run for a few minutes to warm up the oil. Warm oil flows more easily, making it easier to drain. Once warmed, turn off the engine.

Step 3: Raise the Car

Using the car jack and jack stands, lift your car off the ground. Ensure it’s stable and secure before crawling underneath.

Step 4: Locate the Oil Drain Plug

Slide under your car and locate the oil drain plug. It’s typically located on the bottom of the engine’s oil pan. Place the oil pan beneath it to catch the old oil.

Step 5: Remove the Drain Plug

Using your wrench, carefully loosen and remove the drain plug. Allow the old oil to drain completely into the pan. Be cautious; the oil may be hot.

Step 6: Replace the Oil Filter

Locate the oil filter, which is often on the side of the engine. Use the oil filter wrench to remove the old filter. Before installing the new one, apply a small amount of oil to the gasket for a proper seal. Hand-tighten the new filter.

Step 7: Add Fresh Oil

Using the oil funnel, pour the specified amount of new engine oil into the engine. Refer to your car’s manual for the correct quantity and oil type.

Step 8: Replace the Drain Plug

Once the old oil has drained completely, reattach the drain plug and tighten it with your wrench.

Step 9: Check the Oil Level

Start your car and let it run for a minute. Turn it off and check the oil level using the dipstick. Add more oil if necessary to reach the recommended level.

Step 10: Dispose of the Old Oil

Dispose of the old oil properly. Many auto parts stores or recycling centers accept used oil for recycling.


Congratulations! You’ve successfully changed your car’s oil. Performing this routine maintenance task not only prolongs your engine’s life but also gives you a sense of accomplishment. Remember to keep a record of the date and mileage when you changed the oil to stay on top of future maintenance.

By following this DIY guide for beginners, you can save money on professional oil changes and ensure your car runs smoothly for years to come. For additional tips and information about car maintenance, be sure to visit MentalItch to learn more.