How to Change Your Engine Oil (10 Step Guide)

engine oil change

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

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

I will not take responsibility if YOU do something wrong by following this guide. You should always consult your car manual if you are not sure what you are doing.

Step 1: Check which oil and oil filter you need

Before you take any action, you should first find out the amount of oil required for your engine and make sure that you are buying the right oil filter for your vehicle.

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

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

Step 2: Jack up the car safely

Jack up your car and make sure you do so safely!

Always use jack stands when you do something under your car. Just using a floor jack is not enough. It can break and you do not want a vehicle to fall on you! Safety first!

Refer to your manual to find out where to place the jack stands and the floor jack to lift your car safely.

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

Step 3: Remove the plastic cover underneath the engine

Many cars have a plastic cover under the engine that must be removed before you can reach the oil plug and filter.

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

But if you are not a car expert, I suggest you remove it anyway, because the process is much easier and you won’t end up smearing the oil everywhere.

Step 4: Replace your oil filter

You should always replace the engine oil filter first if you have a insert oil filter on the top of the engine. The reason for this is that the oil filter cup contains some oil, and when you remove the oil filter, more old, dirty oil flows down into the oil pan.

If you have an insert filter, the most common location for it is at the top of the engine. Find it and replace it. Replace all O-rings and make sure the oil filter cap is tightened to the specified torque.

If you have a plate filter, the most common installation position is under the engine.

If you have a plate filter, it does not matter whether you replace the oil filter before or after the oil change.

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 under the engine. You must be 100% sure that you are unscrewing the correct screw. If you accidentally remove the gearbox screw, it is a bit of work to refill the gearbox.

Check the service manual for your engine if you are not sure where the oil plug is located on your vehicle.

Remove the drain plug and allow all oil to drain out.

Replace both the oil plug and the seal. In some cases, if the oil plug looks good, you may only need to replace the seal.

If you do not replace the seal, there is a much higher risk of an oil leak. Use a torque wrench to tighten the oil plug to the correct torque. For the correct torque specification, refer to your service manual.

RELATED: Oil Pan Plug Repair – How do you fix the threads?

Step 6: Fill up the engine oil

oil change

Now it is time to fill up the engine with new, fresh engine oil. Make sure you fill the correct amount through the oil cap at the top of the engine and make sure you do not spill it over hot parts such as the exhaust manifold.

You can remove the dipstick to allow air to escape from the engine at the same time as you fill it. This makes it easier to get the oil into the engine.

After you have filled your engine oil with the correct amount, you should check your oil dipstick. It should now be slightly above the MAX symbol, as the oil filter is empty.

RELATED: Supertech Oil Review – Who Makes it & How Good is it?

Step 7: Start your engine

Start your engine and make sure that the red oil pressure light on your dashboard lights up, then turns off after a few seconds.

Let your engine idle for about 15 seconds to ensure that the new oil filter is refilled with oil, then turn off the engine.

Step 8: Check your dipstick

After you have had your engine idling for about 15 seconds, you should turn off your engine and leave it for 5 minutes. This gives the engine oil time to flow into the oil pan.

Check your dipstick and make sure that the oil level is between the Min and Max marks.

In 95% of the cases, the level should be on the Max sign. However, on some vehicles, it should be between the Min and Max marks. Check your service manual again to find the exact information for your car.

RELATED: Should You Check the Engine Oil Hot Or Cold?

Step 9: Start 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 a test drive.

Before the test drive, make sure that no oil is leaking from the screw plug or filter.

Step 10: Final step

After your test drive, you should lift your vehicle again and check for signs of oil leakage at the oil filter or oil plug. 

If everything looks fine, you can now replace the plastic cover under the engine.

Check the oil dipstick again to ensure that the oil level is correct.

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


It is not difficult to replace the oil yourself at home if you are careful and follow the instructions carefully!

If you have any questions about your oil change, feel free to comment below and I will answer your questions as soon as possible!

Written by:

Magnus is the owner and main author of MechanicBase. He has been working as a mechanic for over 10 years, and the majority of them specialized in advanced diagnostics and troubleshooting. He has also been a motorsport (drifting) driver for over 5 years.