DIY Oil Change: A Step-by-Step Guide to Prolonging Your Engine’s Life
November 17, 2023

Oil changes are the bread and butter of car maintenance, often considered the cornerstone of a healthy engine. Though many opt for professional servicing, conducting an oil change yourself can not only save you money but also provide the satisfaction of directly caring for your vehicle. This article takes you through the meticulous details of a DIY oil change, making sure you don’t miss a beat.

Tools and Supplies: The Foundational Elements

To start, gather all the necessary tools and supplies, including an oil filter wrench, a socket set, an oil catch pan, gloves, and, of course, the replacement oil and filter. Use your car’s manual to find the manufacturer’s specifications for the oil type and filter model. It’s advisable to have a car jack and jack stands to safely lift the vehicle. Make sure to also have rags or paper towels handy for any spills.

Safety Precautions: No Shortcuts Here

Before you get down to business, observe some vital safety practices. Park your car on a level surface, preferably away from other vehicles. Engage the parking brake and, if possible, chock the wheels. Put on gloves to protect your hands from hot oil and grime.

Draining the Old Oil: Out with the Old

Lift your car with the car jack and secure it with the jack stands. Locate the oil pan under the engine and place the oil catch pan beneath it. Unscrew the drain plug with the socket set, allowing the old oil to flow out. Patience is key here; rushing this step could result in spills.

The Filter Swap: A Crucial Act

After the oil has fully drained, reinstall the drain plug and ensure it is tightened securely. It’s now time to address the oil filter. Using the oil filter wrench, remove the old filter, ensuring the oil catch pan is still beneath the engine, as some residual oil may spill out. Prior to fitting the new filter, apply a thin layer of fresh oil to its rubber seal.

Pouring New Life: The Grand Finale

With the new filter installed, you’re almost at the finish line. Lower your car from the jack stands and prepare to pour the new oil. Take off the oil filler cap positioned on the engine’s top and pour in the fresh oil. Double-check the level using the dipstick, making sure it lies between the minimum and maximum marks. Reattach the oil filler cap and initiate the engine, allowing it to run for a brief period to distribute the fresh oil.

The Clean-Up: Details Matter

After successfully completing the oil change, don’t forget the clean-up. Properly dispose of the old oil by transferring it to a sealable container. Many auto shops and recycling centers accept used motor oil. Similarly, the old filter can be recycled or disposed of appropriately. Finally, update the vehicle maintenance log to keep track of your successful oil change.


Successfully performing a DIY oil change isn’t just an exercise in frugality; it’s a declaration of conscientious vehicle ownership. The key to mastering this skill lies in attention to detail and adherence to safety protocols. By undertaking this task, you not only assume a proactive role in vehicle maintenance but also gain invaluable know-how that will serve you for the lifetime of your car.