AutoZone “How To” check and change your oil


Post created: 15 September 2022

Changing your oil regularly will assist with the consistent required lubrication in your vehicle engine which will also reduce the overall amount of heat produced in your engine created by all the rotating and sliding internal components, proper lubrication will prevent your vehicle from overheating. An additional benefit of changing your oil is that it also removes dirt and debris from the internal workings which can cause your engine to underperform.

Check out our handy guide on when and how to change your oil in order to keep your vehicle performing at its best for longer! If you’re unsure of what kind of oil grade you should use or how often you should change your vehicles oil, refer to the technical specifications or service section of your owner’s manual. Prior to commencing with your oil change, check and confirm that your new filter and old oil filter are the same part numbers and size. Incorrect component supply due to vehicle model design changes do sometimes occur, so check these application identifying numbers before removing oil filters and draining your vehicles oil (safety tip).

Step 1: Jack up your vehicle after opening the bonnet

First, you’ll want to lift the car high enough to give yourself room to work under it. Ensure that you are absolutely safe and that the lifting jacks and / or trestles are secure. In order to easily access the vehicles oil pan (sump) draining nut and engine oil filter on the relevant housing, the cover sump guard under tray if fitted needs to be removed; most undertrays are held on with a variation of bolts, screws, or plastic clips which can be loosened with standard mechanics tool box hand tools. Before commencing with step two, be sure to visually examine the under carriage for any evidence of oil leaks. If any leaks are detected have your vehicle inspected by a qualified workshop mechanic in order to correct the cause of the oil leaks.

Step 2: Unplug & drain your oil

Ensure that your oil draining receptacle is of the adequate size in order to contain your drained old oil (you could use a five-liter bucket, or oil drain pan, or any other sizable liquid-holding container which you might have). Place the draining container in a position where the oil will drain directly and safely into it without messing on the floor. It is important to take into consideration that you will be dealing with a large amount of oil – most vehicles hold at least 4 liters worth of oil in their sump/lubrication system if not more. Next, remove the oil drain plug by loosening it in a counterclockwise direction, using the correct appropriately-sized wrench to loosen it. Be sure to firmly hold the drain plug as you remove it, as the oil will pour out as you remove the sump nut away from the oil pan. Allow the engine to drain for about five minutes or until the flow of oil has slowed to a trickle.

Step 3: Remove the old oil filter

Locate your oil filter cylindrical component that is secured onto the engine block or filter housing depending on your vehicles engine design – some older specific engines will have a metal housing that you can refit the new filter into. On a cartridge filter design, you’ll need to use an oil filter wrench strap to loosen and remove the oil filter (by turning it counterclockwise) there will be a certain amount of oil still held in the filter housing which did not drain into the sump. Once the oil starts to drain ensure that you have a container handy to allow the oil remaining oil to also drain into your receptacle. Wait until the flow subsides before completely removing the filter. It is important to ensure you did not leave the old filter thin rubber O-ring behind after removing your old oil-filter before installing your new filter. If the old gasket is not removed properly, the new filter won’t seal properly – which could result in all of your new, fresh oil leaking onto the floor all within a minutes after starting up your vehicle. This would result in your engine being starved of oil, which can lead to your engine seizing and running dry.

Step 4: Plug in your drain plug and install new filter

Begin Step 4 by replacing your drain plug and tighten it until it is secure, but be careful to not overtighten it as it can cause damage to the oil pan and drain plug gasket. In some instances, certain manufacturers will have a torque spec that you can follow, by using a torque wrench. Certain types of vehicles will make use of a washer behind the drain plug which should be replaced when reinstalling the sump plug. Consult your owner’s manual to confirm if the washer needs to be replaced. Next, apply a light coating of oil with your index finger around the rubber gasket on the top of the new oil filter. This will help create a secured seal as you tighten the filter (firmly hand tighten the filter).

Step 5: Refill your engine with oil

After replacing the oil filter and drain plug, reinstall your undertray and carefully lower your vehicle back onto the ground removing the supports /trestles. Next remove the oil cap, which is located on the tappet cover, this is usually identifiable by the word oil on the cap or alternatively an oil-can symbol, pour the new recommended specification engine oil into the engine using the manufacturer’s recommended sump oil capacity (normally no more than 4 liters).

Step 6: Check your oil level and inspect for any oil leaks

After waiting for a few minutes for the oil to settle into the oil pan, use the dipstick to verify that your oil is at the proper level marked F on the dip stick. You can check your oil by pulling the dipstick from its tube and wiping off the oil with a paper towel, reinsert and remove the dipstick a second time in order to confirm that the oil is level is on the full mark on the tip of the dipstick. Lastly, start the vehicle and let it idle and warm up, again check for leaks under the vehicle and around the oil filter. The vehicle will require a further top up once the new oil filter and internal galleries, oil pump etc.. have filled with the new engine oil, allow the engine to stand a few minutes and top up gradually until the engine dip stick displays the level of oil is again on the F marking (do not overfill).

If there are no leaks, you have successfully changed your vehicle’s oil filter!

Please note this task is ranked as a 4/10 on the AutoZone Hints and Tips Difficulty Rating.

INDEMNITY: These hints and tips are for information purposes only. For more details please consult the relevant workshop manual for your vehicle. Neither Auto Parts Distributors Pty (Ltd) nor any of the AutoZone outlets will be held liable for any damage or injury whatsoever resulting from the use of the information contained in this pamphlet.