How To Change Oil In Car

how to change oil in car

How To Change Oil In Car: Step By Step Guide (2021)

If you’ve got a nice car, then you want to be looking after it. Even if you don’t have a ‘nice’ car you still don’t want to be paying for a service every month because it keeps breaking down

No matter what you do in life, it is imperative to know how to handle the basics of maintaining your car. Seriously, it can save you a lot of money in your life… 

Look, what I’m trying to say here is that knowing how to change your car oil can help when it comes to passing your roadworthy test and getting the certificate. Oh, and don’t forget if you’re trying to sell a car you’ll need a fresh oil change. 

Just imagine if your buyer had called on an inspection of the car before purchase, and they found that the oil was old and could potentially damage the car? The value would drop pretty quickly. 

So, you see what I mean? It’s super important to know how to change your car oil and it’s super important to do it regularly. 

We can all agree it’s always handy to know how to care for your car, so here is the new and improved guide ensuring you are safe and well informed on how to change your car’s oil.

PS. You’ll need to have this done before you book a roadworthy but if you’re ready to book now then you can book online here

If you still want to learn more about how much roadworthy’s cost or what a roadworthy inspection is, the links are there.

Table of Contents

how to change oil in car

Why Is It So Important To Regularly Change Your Car Oil?

Changing the oil and filter will increase the longevity of your car. That means, your car will last longer and even run smoother when you’re using it. 

Even if it may feel like a chore, being proactive and maintaining a regular oil change will save you more money in the bigger scheme of things.

What would go wrong...

If left for too long, oil can break down and contaminate the moving parts in your car with dust, rust, and debris. This is because the oil can turn into sludge or gel and begin to solidify in an engine. When this happens, the oil will struggle to do its job properly and can heavily damage the car. 

Let’s be realistic, no one wants their car to break down? So make sure you are changing your oil regularly. If your oil does solidify it means the oil won’t trickle down to the engine and your whole vehicle will be running dry, without oil. 

We can guess what that means… Oil starvation and full-blown breakdown.

car has broken down because oil hasnt been changed very often

But why else is it so important?

  • You’ll end up using way more fuel if you don’t have clean oil, so think about the extra money you’re going to save. This is because your engine won’t be running as smoothly and working harder which requires more fuel.

  • It allows bearings to move freely and will limit wear and tear on your engine. Changing oil limits the risk of friction and over-heating, which of course will cost more cash to repair.

  • You get a build-up of debris from an overworn engine. An unclean engine means corrosion and the possibility of your oil breaking down into sludge, which won’t be a pretty sight

  • The motor naturally wears and degrades over time due to temperature and contaminants, so the quality of the oil begins to degrade. This means it needs changing to keep your motor from naturally wearing down. It’s all about preserving the life of your vehicle…

  • It will keep your engine lubricated and (of course) less likely to break down. The moving components under the hood move at a consistently high speed, so regular oil will prevent them from rubbing against each other similar to a lubricant.

How Often Should You Change Your Car Oil?

When it comes to how often, it depends on your vehicle.

Ideally, between 10,000-15,000 kilometres. This is for your average vehicle in Australia. Of course, there are other factors to consider here. 

For example, if you have taken a lost distance drive, your engine will use more oil because it’s working at a faster, longer and hotter rate. 

Let’s not forget where we live guys, Australia is hot! This means vehicles here use more oil. If it’s a hot day, make sure you check your oil levels and make sure they are topped up. You don’t want your vehicle overheating and this can easily happen in the Australian climate. 

If this happens, then you’ll need a full mobile mechanic service to come and fix you up. If you’re out in the bush, this could be quite pricey because of the drive. 

Once you’ve emptied the oil, be sure to change the oil filter for the appropriate engine located near the sump on the side of the engine block, which is where the oil sits. 

This makes sure everything is running smoothly and of course filters out any junk to stop your engine from collecting dust and other unwanted build-ups.

What Oil Will Be Best To Use In My Vehicle?

Most oil is generally a 20W-50, which is used on most cars. However, please check your engine specs to ensure the viscosity of the oil is the correct one for you.

There is also synthetic oil, which is known to be sometimes better than mineral oil. They are also more environmentally friendly compared to crude oils that create fossil fuels and CO2 gasses. 

Honestly, without going into too much detail, try to avoid buying super cheap oil. Anything super cheap could lead to an expensive mistake in the future. Always go for the average oil that you can find in SuperCheap Auto or somewhere like that. 

Of course, don’t forget that diesel engines will require different oil to petrol, some will be thicker and others won’t. To be honest, it’s best to check with your car manufacturer or a mechanic like ourselves. 

It may require anywhere from 3-4 litres for a 4-cylinder car and up to 8 or more litres for larger vehicles such as Jeep Cherokees. 

Always refer to the car manufacturer for more precise amounts, or you could give our friendly team a call and we can help you out there 😁.

What Do You Need To Get Started Changing Your Oil?

You’ll need rags or paper towels, a ring-sized spanner set (18-22mm depending on the vehicle) and safety glasses! For materials, you’ll need:

  • Container for used oil
  • Engine oil
  • Oil filter
  • Oil filter gasket.

Step By Step Process: How To Change Oil In Car...

Step 1. Let the engine cool down

First, let the engine cool down. Please, don’t try doing this whilst the engine is hot… That could be a very big mistake 😆…

After driving, temperatures can be scalding. So we recommend leaving the engine for at least 1-2 hours before changing the oil.

Step 2. Jack your car up

Next up, you’ll need a car jack, wheel stands or car ramps to lift the car under the chassis (i.e. the solid framework). Now, unless there’s adequate room underneath the front of the car. You can choose what you feel more comfortable using.

If you decide to use the car jack, you may only need one side of the car raised up. The car must be on level ground and have a stable surface.

PS. Do not attempt this on grass or you could risk the vehicle crushing you…

Use the jack to raise the front of the vehicle to adequate height. This will help you to access the oil plug.

jacking your car up ready to change the car oil

Step 3. Block off your wheels from rolling

Then, you’ll need to block the back and front wheels with bricks, ensuring the hand-break is on and the car is in gear or park. This ensures that the car won’t roll forwards or backwards.

Step 4. Get the right size spanner

You’ll also need the correct sized ring-spanner (do not use a shifting spanner as this can strip the nut) to undo the oil plug/nut. It could be 18-22mm, depending on the vehicle. Make sure to research the type of spanner you’ll need for the job. 

Prepare these tools and now you’ll be ready to start getting the car lifted up.

Step 5. Drain out the car oil...

Jack it up, and using a battery-operated light under the car, shine underneath the engine until you can locate the oil sump plug, which is the size of a ten-cent piece.

Once found, use the suitable ring or open-ended spanner to undo it, and drain out the oil. Remove the old oil filter, making sure that the rubber gasket comes off as well. Install a new gasket if needed.

Make sure you have an oil drain pan underneath to dump the old oil in. Let it sit and drip the remaining oil. These can be purchased from any super auto shop. You could even use a plastic sheet below the plug to catch any remaining oil.

draining out the old car oil to put fresh oil in

Step 6. Tight back up the sump plug

You’re doing great so far! The next thing to do will be to tighten the sump plug as far as you can with your fingers.

Continue to firmly tighten the nut to the recommended tightness, being careful not to slip off the nut. Recycle any unused oil, putting it into a large jug. Always dispose of oil in an environmentally safe manner!

tight back up the sump plug

Step 7. Fill up with fresh oil

Now, undo the new oil bottle and begin to pour oil slowly into a funnel. Take your time pouring the oil, as spillage could lead to a messy cleanup, no one want’s oil on their clothes on hands 😆…

Start to fill up your engine with fresh oil. 

Step 8. Check the oil level with the dipstick

After around half of the bottle has been poured in, check the oil dipstick levels between low and high. Pull it out and wipe it with a clean paper towel or rag. 

It’s okay to have the oil slightly under or slightly over the full line, but it is recommended to take your time as to not overfill! Overfilling the engine can be just as damaging to your car.

checking the oil level with the dipstick to ensure that you have filled your car up with enough fresh oil

Step 9. All finished...

Replace the indicator stick, screw the lid back on, and you’re finished! This should help you when you’re considering selling your vehicle or having to prepare for your road safety test. 

You can now give yourself a pat on the back…


Changing your car oil is extremely important to maintain the health of your car. It’s important to regularly do it, especially if you are interested in selling your car or handing it down to your friends or family. 

By following this step by step guide, you will be able to effectively change your car oil and keep your car living a healthy life. 

Oil is one of the biggest areas that car owners fail on when it comes to a roadworthy inspection. Make sure you are steps ahead when it comes to your next roadworthy inspection. 

If you are not sure of the best time to book one in, remember how long it’s going to take you to sell. You can find out how long last roadworthy lasts for here

Please feel free to share your thoughts or experiences you’ve had on changing your car’s oil in the comments below! 😆 We’d all love to hear.

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