How To – Change Car Oil – Photo Illustrated

How To – Change Car Oil – Photo Illustrated

In this photo-illustrated tutorial, you will be shown how to change car oil, it is a simple task, but can bear dire consequences for the uninformed, so here is help at hand to show you how to simply change car oil. car oil is contaminated by burnt fuel residue which builds up in the engine, therefore it is necessary to change car oil frequently.

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Changing Car Engine Oil   (spin-on filter system)

It is necessary to change engine oil in our cars as frequently as the manufacturers recommended service intervals usually 15000 Kms. for modern fuel injection car’s and 10000 Kms. for older carburettor cars.

Here is a simple and easy explanation of how to perform an engine oil change.

When changing car oil I recommend

  • Replacing the engine oil with a recommended grade of quality oil. ( See your car’s owner’s manual)
  • Replacing the oil filter, as it blocks contaminants in the engine oil from circulating throughout the engine.
  • To flush the engine, this rids the engine of sludge and prepares it for the clean oil, it also increases engine performance.

Tools needed

  • Car Jack (Bottle or Scissors)
  • 2 Axle Stands
  • Oil Receptacle
  • Sump Plug Spanner
  • Oil Filter Wrench
  • Oil Funnel
  • A few Rags
  • Ground Covering to lay on, old cardboard works best
  • An old pair of thin gloves

Parts Needed

parts needed

  • Engine Flush 375ml ( good for up to 5L engine capacity)
  • Engine Oil 5l / appropriate grade (consult your car’s User’s Manual or your local Auto Parts Store)
  • Oil Filter
  • Replacement Sump Plug Copper Washer
  • Thread Tape (Plumber’s Tape)

*All about Car Oil


Park the car on a level hard surface such as a garage floor, a concrete driveway etc. Set the Parking Brake.

Jack up the car

Jack the car up in the front, and put the axle stands in place, most cars have jacking points so this will be an appropriate place to position the axle stands without damage to your car.

Secure the Bonnet/Hood

Open the bonnet and secure with the bonnet brace, some cars have lift struts, make sure that it is not worn and the bonnet will not come down on you.

Secure The Bonnet

If worn use a broomstick and ensure it will not come into contact with any moving parts of the car’s engine.

Warm up the Engine

Make sure the car engine is warm, if not, allow it to idle for at least 5 minutes, turn the engine off, and locate the oil filler cap, remove the oil filler cap and add the engine flush to the old oil, replace the oil filler cap, set a timer ( I use my cell phone) for 15 minutes, ensure that the transmission is in Neutral or Park.

Flushing the engine

Start the car and allow to idle for 15 minutes.

Maintenance Checks

While the engine is idling, you can do basic checks around your car, such as

  • lights operation
  • wipers operation
  • wiper washer reservoir levels
  • power steering fluid levels
  • brake and clutch fluid levels
  • transmission oil level and leaks
  • tire pressure and wear
  • undercarriage condition
  • suspension component visual checks
  • cv rubber boot condition
  • brake pad condition and wear
  • steering rack boot condition
  • drivetrain condition
  • battery condition
  • check rotating pulleys for alignment while the engine is running
  • visually check fan belt slack (do not touch, as the engine will be running)

The above list is not exhaustive.

Locate the engine’s sump plug, and find the appropriate size wrench to remove it.
After 15 minutes, switch the engine off, and place an oil receptacle in the appropriate place just beneath the sump plug,

Oil drain pan

Remove the oil filler cap and dipstick.

Draining the old Oil

Loosen and remove the sump plug with the appropriate wrench, (remember righty tighty, lefty loosey), the oil will drain out of the engine rapidly, and it will be hot, so be quick at moving your hands away from the flowing oil and have a rag ready to wipe up any unexpected spills.

Loosen Oil Drain Plug

Oil Flowing

Allow the oil flow enough time to become a trickle

Fully Drained

Removing the old Oil Filter

With the aid of an oil filter wrench remove the oil filter as illustrated here.

Removing the oil filter

Ensure that the oil filter rubber gasket does not stay behind on the oil filter flange.

Wiping clean

Replace the sump plug washer with the new one, apply thread tape to the sump plug washer threads, this helps with sealing the oil drain hole more efficiently.

Apply a film of oil to the new oil filter’s rubber gasket, to prevent it from biting into the contact surface and damaging the gasket.

Lubing The Oil Filter Seal

Clean the oil filter flange surface with a clean rag.

No oil filter

Fit the new Oil Filter

Make sure not to cross-thread the spin-on oil filter, it should turn on very easily, tighten it by hand as tight as possible, no tool needed.

Fit And Hand Tighten The Oil Filter

A leaking oil filter can result in engine failure.

Fit and tighten the Sump Plug

Fit the sump plug, by threading it by hand, turning it as tight as you can by hand.

ReFit The Sump Plug

Tighten with the appropriate wrench, do not over tighten as you may duplicate this procedure in the future.

Sump Plug Tightening

Fill with clean Engine Oil

Fill the engine with at least 3L of clean Engine Oil and check the level with the dipstick.

Filling With The Correct Grade And Quantity Of Oil

Check the Oil Level

Insert the dipstick into the dipstick tube all the way, until it cannot go any further, remove the dipstick and wipe it with a rag, replace the dipstick into the engine all the way, leave for at least 5 seconds, then remove and check the level on the dipstick,

Fill oil

Most dipsticks have a Max. & Min. / L-low & F-full marked on it, if it is below the F or Max., put more oil into the engine, say 200ml, at a time, you do not want to overfill it, check the level again as explained above, when the desired oil level is achieved, replace the oil filler cap and tighten.

Clean your hands

With cleaned hands, start the engine, observing the oil light on the dashboard,

Starting the engine

It should go out within 10 seconds, let the vehicle idle while you check the oil filter and sump plug for leaks.

Ensure The Oil Light Goes Out Within Seconds

Switch the engine off and check the oil level again, it should require about 200 – 400 ml of engine oil, depending on the size of the oil filter, as the oil filter would now be filled up.

Fill the engine oil to the correct level.

Topping Up

Final check

Ensure the oil level is at Max. mark.

Replace and tighten the oil filler Cap, insert the Dipstick.

Remove the car from the axle stands safely, remove all dirty marks from your car, and clean your hands.


You have just performed an Oil Change on a Car, by following the above procedure.

Ps. Discard used oil responsibly, by dropping it off at your local collection centre to be recycled.


Make sure to record the car’s mileage at which this oil change was performed at for future reference.

  • How often do you change your car’s oil?  
  • Who does it for you?
  • Which car oil do you use?

Post Comments and Suggestions below

Until Next Time “Safe Motoring”

gary signing off

Gary De La Cruz

I have been 30+ years in the motor industry, still hands on, and have great passion for my chosen profession, I learn new things each day and believe that "if you enjoy your work, you never have to work a day in your life"I believe in honesty, integrity and helping where help is needed.

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