Oil Change: How to change engine oil at home in 10 steps

Auto repair shops do often charge a lot of money for an engine oil change. Do you want to try making the oil change yourself instead? 

In this article, you will find out and learn how to make an oil change for your engine at home, for the most common car models.

I do not take any responsibility if YOU do anything wrong when following this guide. You should always check your car manual if you are not sure of what you are doing.

Step 1: Check what oil and oil filter you need

Before doing anything, you should first find out the required oil quantity for your engine and make sure to purchase the right oil filter for your car. 

Also, check in your car manual for the right oil quality for your engine. You can find out more about oil qualities in our other article here: 10w30 vs. 10w40 engine oil.

If you can’t find the right information about your vehicle, call your authorized dealer and ask for this information. You can often ask at any aftermarket auto part store.

Step 2: Jack up the car safely

Jack up your car and make sure to do this safely!

Always use jack stands if you are doing anything under your car. Only a floor jack is not enough. It can break, and you do not want a vehicle falling on you! Safety first!

Check in your manual where to put the jack stands and the floor jack to raise your car safely.

If you are not sure how to do this safely, I recommend seeing this good youtube video first!

Step 3: Remove the plastic cover underneath the engine

A lot of cars have a plastic cover underneath the engine, which have to get removed before you will be able to reach the oil plug and filter. 

Some vehicles like BMW and Kia have premade a hatch on the plastic cover for the oil filter and the drain plug. If this is the case, you do not have to remove the whole plastic engine cover. 

But if you are not an expert in cars, I do suggest to remove it anyway, because the process gets a lot easier and you don’t have to smudge the oil all over the place.

Step 4: Replace your oil filter

You should always start with replacing the engine oil filter first if you have an insert oil filter at the top of the engine. The reason for this is that the oil filter cup is holding some oil, and when you are removing the oil filter, more old dirty oil will flow down into the oil pan.

If you have an insert filter, the most common location for this is on the top of the engine. Locate it and replace it. Replace all the O rings and be sure to tighten the oil filter cup with the torque specification.

If you have a plate filter the most common installation is underneath the engine.

With a plate filter, it does not matter if you replace the oil filter before or after the oil replacement.

Here are some common locations of oil filters.

oil change

oil change

Step 5: Drain the oil

Locate the drain plug on the oil pan underneath the engine. You have to be 100% sure that you are loosening the right plug. If you are mistakenly removing the transmission plug, it’s a bit of work to fill up the transmission again.

Check any service manual for your engine if you are not sure of the location of the oil plug on your vehicle.

Remove the drain plug and let all the oil drain out.

Replace both the oil plug and the seal. In some cases, if the oil plug is looking good, you could replace the seal only. 

If you don’t replace the seal, there is a significantly higher risk of an oil leak. Torque the oil plug with the right torque with a Torque Wrench. Check your service manual for the right torque specification.

Step 6: Fill up the engine oil

oil change

Now it’s time to fill up the engine with new, fresh engine oil. Make sure that you fill the right quantity through the oil cap at the top of the engine, and make sure you don’t spill it out over hot parts like the exhaust manifold. 

You can remove the dipstick to allow air flow out from the engine at the same time as you are filling it. This will make it easier to get the oil into the engine.

After you have filled your engine oil with the right quantity, you should check your oil dipstick. It should be a bit above the MAX sign now because the oil filter is empty.

Step 7: Start your engine

Start your engine up and make sure the red oil pressure light on your dashboard is lightening up and then go off after a couple of seconds.

Let your engine idle for around 15 seconds to make sure that the new oil filter is filled up with oil again and then turn off your engine.

Step 8: Check your dipstick

After you had your engine at idle for around 15 seconds. You should shut off your engine and let it stand for 5 minutes. The reason for this is to make sure the engine oil got time to pour down into the oil pan.

Check your oil dipstick and make sure the level is between min and max sign.

In 95% of the cases, the level should be on the MAX mark. However, in some vehicles, it should be between the MIN and MAX mark. Once again, check your service manual for the accurate information for your car.

Step 9: Start up your engine and let it idle

If your oil level is okay, you can now start your engine and let it idle for 10 minutes or take it for a test drive.

Make sure you have no oil leaks from the plug or the filter before you are going for a test-drive.

Step 10: Final step

After your test-drive, you should raise your vehicle again and check for any signs of oil leaks from either the oil filter or oil plug. 

If everything looks good, you can now reinstall the plastic cover underneath the engine.

Check the oil dipstick once again to make sure the oil level is correct. 

Congratulations your oil change is now finished and you have saved a lot of money!

Conclusion

It’s not that hard to replace your oil yourself at home if you are careful and follow the instructions carefully!

If you have any questions about your oil change, you are welcome to comment down below and I will answer your questions as fast as possible!

 

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