Engine oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle. It ensures minimum wear on engine components and maximum engine performance.

Understanding how to change your engine oil is an essential skill of do-it-yourself car maintenance.

Your vehicle owner’s manual will help you to determine when to change your vehicles engine oil. If you drive short distances regularly, tow heavy loads or compete in track days you’ll need to change your engine oil more frequently.

What you'll need
  • Engine oil and a new oil filter
  • Spanner or socket and ratchet
  • Torque wrench
  • Appropriately sized drain pan
  • Protective gloves
  • Funnel
  • Oil filter wrench
  • Rags
Tips and warnings
  • Make sure you refer to your owners’ manual for the correct quantity and type of engine oil for your vehicle.
  • Always wear protective gloves when handling used engine oil. Prolonged contact is known to cause skin cancer.

Step 1 - Safety

Park your vehicle on a level surface. Make sure the handbrake is on...




....the car is in gear or in PARK...





...and the wheels are chocked.

Step 2 - Raise vehicle

Using the jack and axle stands elevate the car to a comfortable height.

Step 3 - Warm up the engine

Start the vehicle and allow the engine to reach normal operating temperature.

Switch off the vehicle and allow the engine to rest slightly before draining the oil.


Engine oil becomes extremely hot and could cause serious burns.

Step 4 - Drain oil

Loosen filler cap to allow for easy draining.




Located under the car, near the bottom rear end of the engine sump or oil pan, is the oil drain plug.




Place the drain pan underneath to catch the oil.

Use a spanner or socket to loosen the oil drain plug.





When the plug is loose remove it carefully by hand. Make sure you’re not underneath the plug when the oil is released.


Most oil drain plugs also use a washer so make sure you don’t lose it. If the drain plug or washer is damaged, it’s best to replace it.

Once the old engine oil has been drained replace the oil drain plug and tighten it to the correct specification.

Take care to seat the washer correctly.

Step 5 - Remove oil filter

Using a suitable filter wrench, loosen the oil filter then remove by hand. The filter may be filled with oil, ease it carefully away from engine to prevent spillage and tip the contents into the drain pan.

Some oil filters are attached horizontally and will drip oil when removed. This is normal so make sure you have your rags at the ready to mop up.

Wipe around the oil filter mounting surface to remove any old oil.

Step 6 - Install new oil filter

The new filter can now be fitted.

Wipe some fresh oil over the seal to prevent it sticking.



Carefully screw the new filter into place and hand tighten. This is usually enough to secure the filter but check the fitting instructions to be sure.

Step 7 - Refill oil

Using a medium size funnel and some rags to collect spills, pour the new engine oil in slowly.




Stop periodically to allow the oil to settle and to check the oil level using the dipstick.


When you’ve added the correct quality the dipstick may indicate an overfill. The oil level will drop once the oil has circulated.

Replace the oil cap and wipe away any spilled oil.

Step 8 - Check oil level

Run the engine for one minute to circulate the new oil.




Check that the dashboard oil warning light is off. If the warning light remains on, switch off the engine immediately and check the oil level.




Check the engine and drain plug for oil leaks...





...and take a final oil level reading.

Step 9 - Dispose of old oil correctly

Use a sealed container and ask local authorities how to dispose of the old engine oil.


Never dump used oil in the ground, down a drain or in the rubbish bin. It is extremely toxic and causes serious environmental damage.

Please Read: Important Information