Learn How to Change Your Own Oil

There are really two kinds of people, those who change their own motor oil and those who have someone do it for them. Both are fine options. If you have decided to roll up your sleeves and join the DIY multitudes, here are some handy tips for changing your oil. Plus, Make it a a Pennzoil Change™ and save 50¢/gal on Shell fuel for each 5-quart bottle and 10¢/gal for each 1-quart bottle of Pennzoil Ultra™ or Pennzoil Platinum® Full Synthetic motor oil purchased. Offer ends 10/31/13. Click HERE for full details.

Step-by-Step Oil Change Instructions:

1. Park vehicle on level surface, place the gear selector on Park (automatic transmissions) or in first gear (Manuel transmission cars) engage parking brake, turn off engine and remove the key. If necessary, raise front of vehicle by driving it onto ramps or by jacking it up and supporting it with jack stands, always use wheel chocks to keep cars from rolling


2. Open hood.

3. Locate engine oil dipstick and oil fill cap and remove (helps oil flow when draining and indicate a NO START condition to others).

4. Once vehicle is safely and securely supported, check multiple times, put on safety glasses and hand protection from used oil and maybe very hot conditions, crawl under the vehicle and locate engine’s oil pan, be careful not to bump your head. (See owner’s manual for reference.)

5. Locate oil drain plug, which is a long bolt head at bottom of pan. The drain plug allows the oil to drain out of the pan, make sure it is the engine oil and not the transmission plug, verify with the owner’s manual (Note: Some vehicles have two drain plugs.)

6. Position a container, such as an approved oil catch pan, under drain plug. Make sure the catch pan is large enough to hold the volume of oil expected to drain out of the engine. Check your owner’s manual for the volume of oil that you car requires.

7. Loosen drain plug using box-end wrench or 6-pt. socket. Carefully remove plug by hand, making sure catch pan is underneath plug hole. Oil will flow rapidly from hole, so make sure there are absorbent material handy (shop rags or paper towels) to aid in clean up in case of spillage.  Allow several minutes for all old oil to drain out, wait for it to drip, the less drip the better. (See vehicle owner’s manual for additional information.) CAUTION: OIL MAY BE HOT!

8. Wipe the oil pan threads and oil drain plug with a rag and visually inspect the condition of the oil pan and oil drain plug threads and gasket. Buy a replacement drain plug if you have any concerns about the condition of the plug. Replace the drain plug gasket if needed (some OEMs recommend this). Once the oil is finished draining, re-install the oil drain plug and tighten with the correct box-end wrench or 6-pt. socket to the manufacturer-specified torque. (See owner’s manual.)

9. Locate oil filter. If the old and new oil filters are not the same, double-check the application to be sure you have the correct filter. (See vehicle’s owner’s manual for additional information.)

10. Position oil catch pan under oil filter to catch any residual oil remaining inside filter.

11. Loosen oil filter or oil filter cap with oil filter wrench, and allow oil to drain from oil filter, oil filter and oil inside may be extremely hot, be careful.

12. Remove oil filter. Check to make sure filter gasket has come off with the filter. If it’s still clinging to the engine mounting plate, remove it and any remaining residue, clean filter mounting surfaces with a shop rag or clean paper towel. Check that the filter mounting spindle is tight.  See owner’s manual for instruction.

13. Place a light coating of new oil on the gasket of the new oil filter so it will install smoothly onto engine. (Note: Do not use grease!) By hand, install new oil filter onto engine by turning in a clockwise direction. Once the oil filter gasket first contacts the mounting plate gasket surface, tighten filter according to directions for your application (usually found on the new oil filter or oil filter box), preferably by hand. Generally, this is three-quarters to one full turn after the filter gasket contacts the engine. (NOTE: Cartridge oil filter replacement procedures may differ. See owner’s or service manual for instructions.)

14. Under the hood, remove the oil fill cap, if it has not been removed during the drain procedure and pour in the correct amount of Pennzoil® motor oil of the correct viscosity with a funnel. (See vehicle’s owner’s manual for recommended grade, specification and amount.)

15. Replace oil fill cap.

16. Start engine and run at idle for minimum of 30 seconds. Carefully inspect under vehicle for oil leaks (especially by oil drain plug and oil filter). If leaks are visible, shut off engine immediately and repair leaks.

17. Shut off engine and allow 30 seconds for oil to settle in the engine. Carefully inspect the area beneath the vehicle for oil leaks.

18. Safely lower vehicle to level ground.

19. Install and remove oil dipstick and check for proper oil level, wait 5 minutes to double check the dip stick for correct levels of oil, should be in between the upper mark (full) and the lower mark (fill), DO NOT OVER FILL adding more oil if necessary.  (See vehicle’s owner’s manual for oil capacity and recommended oil level on dipstick.)

20. Repeat oil change with Pennzoil® motor oil as directed by manufacturer’s guidelines.


These instructions are intended as general guidelines. Please consult your owner’s or service manual for specific instructions on changing the oil and filter on your vehicle. Use extreme caution when lifting or jacking any vehicle.



Q. Is it necessary to use a stabilizer or additive with every oil change?

A. Nope. Today’s engine oils are formulated to fully protect the engine. They don’t need extra help.

Q. When should I change my oil?

A. You should change your oil and filter at, or before, the end of the oil-change intervals recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer for your driving conditions. These intervals are based on mileage or time. By doing this, you can help keep your engine oil in good condition and provide the best protection for all your critical lubricated engine partsQ. How should I dispose of my old oil after an oil change?

Q. How should I dispose of my old oil after an oil change?

A. Used oil pollutes the environment, and is hazardous and should never be poured down the drain or on the soil. The Pennzoil® Clean Change campaign helps DIYers protect the environment. You can drop off any used oil and oil filters at your closest Jiffy Lube®, Walmart Tire & Lube Express, National chain parts stores, City or municipal recycling centers or most oil change centers to be recycled properly.

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