Car Maintenance

How to Change Your Car’s Oil and Filter: Step by Step

A car oil and filter change is just another one of many little parts of car maintenance that people tend to pay for every year to have someone else do. Learning how to carry out a car oil and filter change yourself is actually much easier than you might think. There are 5 simple steps to master for you to get the job done right. Once you know how to do it once, it’s something you can save yourself a fortune on in later life.

Each part of the process can be really easily explained if you take it one step at a time, and the system itself is relatively easy. It really needs to be done yearly at the very least, if not also every 10 thousand miles just for safety. If you get a service (or do your own), then it’ll likely be included here as well.

Let’s go through the full process

1. Identify & Buy Oil Type

This is a tip that most learn the hard way. Always ensure that you learn the correct type of oil for your vehicle and have it to hand before you start. Not all oil is the same, and most cars do have very slightly different requirements. Make sure you have the right oil for the job if you’re going to do this correctly.

The biggest differences here come from things that actually make up the oil. Much of the process is now classed as synthetic or at least semi-synthetic for eco reasons, so take note and buy the right combination.

2. Get Under Car and Unscrew Drain Plug into a container

This is where you really need to get your hands dirty of you’re wanting to learn how to change your car oil properly. You need to be able to access your oil tank underneath your car. To do that, you have to be able to really get underneath it somehow. Many people or professionals use a jack or some kind of system to elevate the car to make this easier, but you can slide under on the floor or on a board if need be. 

Once you’re under, you need to find the drain plug. This is a bolt that is on the tank. As you unscrew this, the oil will fall immediately, so have a container to catch it and get ready to move out of its way. Make sure you take something to clean up with as well.

3. Go into the bonnet and remove oil filter

After you have removed all of the oil into your container (it could take a few minutes), then it’s time to get under the bonnet for step 3. This is how you change your car oil filter as well as your oil, and it’s just as important to do it at least annually. Just like before, you need to find your oil tank and find out how to open the filer.

Once you have the filter, unscrew it in the typical anticlockwise pattern and place it somewhere to be disposed of safely when you’re done. Don’t forget to give things a good tidy too. There could well be some dirt leftover that you need to remove from the previous filter.

4. Lube and fit new filter

Once this is all done with, you also need to then add the new filter to your oil tank. Before you jump immediately into putting everything in reverse however, a professional standard tip here is that you need to lubricate the new filter before you attach it. Rub some oil around the outer edge to ensure that everything is going to fit smoothly.

Once lubricated, then you can simply screw the new one back on and carry on the rest of the oil change procedure as normal. This is definitely the easier part of the process. Don’t forget to now go back under and retighten your drain plug so that the rest of the process can be carried out.

5. Funnel oil

After your filter is back in action and your oil and old filter are somewhere safe, it’s time to add the new oil back in. It’s always a relatively messy job when we need to use oil, so again, ensure you have the right facilities to do this.

A funnel is the best way to make sure you can do this easily. Simply add oil little by little until your levels should be topped up. There should be a translucent gauge to work with on your oil tank itself. Even if there is though, always wait a few minutes and then start your car to allow the oil to really get where it needs to.

6. Check and Clear

Like we mentioned before, don’t forget to keep your old oil and filter somewhere where they won’t cause any damage through the mess. You need to dispose of these in the correct ways rather than just via a standard household bin. Ideally, user newspaper to mop the excess and take the whole system to the waste disposal centre where they can be handled correctly (and avoid a fine).

Essentially, that’s the whole thing over and done with. Learning how to do any car oil change really is that simple. It’s always worth re-checking your oil with your dipstick before you assume the job is done. You have gotten through the worst here and the rest is just about checking you’re in the clear.


An oil and filter change is actually pretty straightforward when push comes to shove. Always do your very best to try and get it done annually to protect your car’s health long term. Don’t be afraid to check the oil levels and quality on a new car as well as the filter either. This is a great insight into how a car has been looked after. If you hear a ticking, then do it even sooner.

For more help on checking car health especially pre-purchase, get in touch with the CarExamer team today.

Buying a used VW. Buying used vauxhallBMWJaguarFordVolvoRange roverBentleyAston MartinPorscheFerrariLamborghiniMaseratiHyundai, TeslaHondaPagani