How to change engine oil in your car

Published On  June 25, 2014 07:20 PM By CarDekho Team at


It may take liters of petrol or diesel to thump your car’s engine and make it go those long miles, but it for making them actually cover those kilometers in a hassle free manner, engine oil is needed for the engine. In order to take the minutest steps to improve our car’s fuel economy and maintenance, engine oils comes into the scene as one of the most important aspects. It should be well known whether the engine oil used is old-school traditional one or synthetic, keeping in mind your car’s engine capabilities. Keeping all the theories of an engine lubricant at once in your mind can be a mish mash. So, this article deals with all the important aspects related to an engine oil under one particular topic, so that you may get the last to last basic details, fundamentals, data information and precautions. Here we go:-

Engine Oil Change in a Car


Engine lubricant can be given the title of “multi tasker” when the performance of the engine is concerned. Not only it tries its best to reduce the friction caused by metal to metal contact between two adjacent components in motion, but also it prohibits the soot, contaminants and other blow by gases to actually attack those engine components. In the absence of engine oil, the engine components may get damaged and their life span may get reduced. It is this list of heavy weight task of engine lubricants that they need to taken care of periodically and thus, the question of their replacements over a particular period of time comes into the mind. Following are the two reasons explained in detail, why the engine oil needs to be replaced periodically:-

Engine Oil Change in a Car

Oil breakdown – Yes, not only the components of your car’s engines have the tendency to break down and give up their breath at one instant of a time, the engine lubricant too share the same property, due to the fact that the repetitive frictional resistance offered due to the metal to metal contact of adjacent components in motion. This action generates enough heat, which has the ability to even vaporize the engine oil. This whole process degrades the properties of engine lubricant after a particular period of time.

Engine oil change in your car

Oil Contamination – In effect, there are three major constituents which may make the engine lubricant ‘dirty’ – the dust and foreign particles which enter into the engine or engine oil passing through the air filter, the fine grinded metal particles formed due to metal to metal contact between two adjacent engine components which are in motion and the by-products which are formed due to the process of combustion of fuel in the engine cylinder. This whole bunch of contaminants not only deteriorates the life of the engine in whole, but also makes the engine to perform in an undesired way, with the process of corrosion of metal components and engine seizure making the matters even worse.



With the passage of time, each and every technology is destined to evolve and become better over the previous existing one. The engine oil for all types of cars has also fallen under the knife of technological advancements. Due to the back to back repetitive hardships the engine lubricants bear inside the engine, they too have the tendency to give up their last breath. Thanks to the advancements in sciences and laboratory experiments, the engine oils have come a long way to serve in the engine of an Ambassador to a modern day BMW. Gone are the demerits of a conventional petroleum based mineral lubricant, the modern day engine lubricants are basically semi and full synthetic oils with the added advantages of the traditional oils, without sacrificing on any of the aspects. The synthetic oils perform in the same manner as the old-school engine oils do, but in a much better way. The use of synthetic oils does bring advantages along with it, which are as follows:-

Minimal oil breakdown – Remember the frequent over-heating of your grandfather’s some 50 odd year old car or jeep? Yes, the engine lubricants of the yesteryears did used to give up even in the most moderate conditions. But the synthetic oils have lifted up the game to an entirely different level. Due to higher flash points and lower pour points as compared to the traditional mineral lubricants, the breakdown rates of synthetic oils have also fallen drastically. The modern day synthetic lubricants are efficient enough to perform even more extra miles of performance than they are expected to perform. Though, it is recommended to change the engine oil after a particular interval of time, a topic which will be covered up below.

Engine oil change in car

Dealing with contamination – The engine oil may be expected to perform its list of all the tasks in an efficient manner, but it’s even more important to take care of the initial traumas the engine oil have to bear. Before facing off with the interior contaminants, the engine oil must be warned of the infiltrating contaminants, which come inside the engine through the air filter. Thus, the air filter must be properly efficient and standardized enough to perform this particular job of prohibiting the exterior contaminants such as dirt, dust and pollen grains to filter into the engine components and make up all the drama even worse. Apart from these ‘foreign invasion’, the engine oil also has to tackle the inside formed contaminants, such as metal chips and by products of combustion. These metal chips may block the engine and create hindrance to the overall performance. They may even bottom out in the engine oil and may reduce the overall functionality of the oil’s flow and resistance. The synthetic oil performs this job in a very specified manner. A thin layer of synthetic oil spreads up over the engine components which are in adjacent contact with each other. This layer acts as a barrier to the formation of metal chips, which gets reduced to a large extent. In addition to the metal chips, the by-products of combustion are also equally harmful for the engine lubricants. The engine oil cannot completely control this particular aspect, and it is where the need for betterment of mechanical components is felt. The use of an enhanced fuel filtration system and improvised piston ring seals ensures you that the formation of such negative impact causing by-products is minimal and the formed soot bottoming out in the engine oil also gets reduced. One more added advantage of synthetic oils is that they have the property of neutralizing the acidic nature of these by-products formed, thus increasing the life and performance of engine components by reducing their chances of corrosion.



As said in the previous topic, the overall performance of the engine lubricant is of no use, if the external contaminant particles from environment keep on entering the car’s engine. Though the engine oil does its best to keep the level of contaminants as low as possible, but with the continuous entrance of contaminants such as dirt and dust, the performance of the lubricant is affected badly. Thus, consideration of a proper oil filter is of utmost importance. The main purpose of the engine lubricant is to keep the debris of dust and dirt or any other extra atmospheric contaminants away by prohibiting them to enter into the engine. The additives present in the lubricant, though, try their level best to keep such contaminants suspended downwards in the lubricant, but the filter should be efficient enough to not allow such contaminants to penetrate inside and keep the engine lubricant 100% clean and free from them.

Engine oil change in car

When the engine oil flows through it, the grasping power of the engine lubricant to absorb the incoming microscopic contaminants should be at its best. This prevents the contaminants present inside to keep on recirculating throughout inside the engine, by neutralizing them within the oil filter.

Engine oil change in car

Also, it should always be kept in mind that the engine lubricant to be used should have proper figures and data of standardization, i.e., the filter should be of standardized size, dimensions, grade, etc., as recommended by the manufacturer in the service manual. The best performance of the engine lubrication and filtration possible is obtained by the oil filters suggested by OEM manufacturers.



If you start to realize the signs of the negativity that the engine oil which you have selected for your car is not upto the mark, you may be headed for the right conscience. Nowadays, the usage of the synthetic engine lubricants may be too mainstream, but the knowledge of the right oil for the right engine should be well known. As it is well known, the basic components of the engine oils are obtained from the crude oils. The more costlier synthetic oils provide you much better performance over a wider ranges of temperatures and service intervals. In the recent times, the usage of synthetic blends is very popular, which is basically a combination of the traditional mineral oil and synthetic oils, which provides you the best of both worlds.

Engine oil change in car

There are sometimes the cases, where engines of two entirely identical cars may be profited from two separate engine oils, with different viscosity index or grades, which may depend on the type of the engine of your car – whether it is a petrol, diesel or hybrid. However, you should stick to the service manual of your car, for the right lubricant which gives you the best possible performance for the long runs. The engine oils specified in your car’s service manual have specific additives which are what your car’s engine may need to serve better performance and efficiency.



In our fast moving lives, the process of checking and changing of the engine oil of your car may seem to be too exhausting one. The engine oil must be inspected as per the recommended data in your car’s service manual. The most ideal process to check the engine lubricant level and condition is to check when the engine of the car isn’t warmed, i.e, in an idle condition when the engine is cold. The manual also reveals the position of the dipstick which helps you a lot to make this task of checking even easier.

Engine oil change in car

It’s not a rocket science to change and check the engine lubricant of your car – it is a process which can be carried out by yourselves. The effectiveness engine lubricant, along with the additives present in it, is seriously affected, once the contaminants enter into the engine. This is the moment where the question arises – how often the engine oil should be rectified? This question somewhere depends on the quality of the engine oil used, the mileage or frequency of your drive and the type of driving you do, whether spirited or calm.

Engine oil change in car

Normally, in the present generation cars, the engine lubricants are recommended to be checked as soon as the car’s odometer hits the 5000 km mark or the time period of 3 months, whichever comes first. In some situations, a longer service interval is recommended by the car manufacturer or the engine oil maker. For some, even the 3 month/5000 km period may seem like a whole year. But in order to clarify your doubt, you should either have a full trust on the service manual or consult a skilled service technician. Also, the best possible performance of the engine lubricant is possible only when both the engine oil and oil filter are of recommended high quality by the manufacturer. Compromising on any of the two fronts may deteriorate the performance of the lubricant, and ultimately, your engine as well.

Sometimes, there are certain circumstances, where you wish to change the engine oil before the specified time/km interval. This action is not harmful for the engine of your car, and at some times, even can prove beneficial when the engine is in a highly tuned state.



Before carrying out this whole process, you should be ensured that the engine of your car is cold and not in running condition. If your engine is warmed up, allow it to cool, failing to do so may burn up the oil. Also, the area where you wish to change the engine oil must be a safe, preferably a dry isolated one. The ground should be leveled, so that your car can easily lift up on the jack. The tools and equipment required for changing the engine oil of your car are:-

  • Open end wrench
  • Oil catch container
  • Oil filter wrench
  • Plastic funnel
  • A bottle of new engine oil
  • New oil filter
  • Pieces of clean cloth

The whole process of changing the engine oil is explained step-wise as follows:-

Draining the old oil –

This is the first step where you have to drain out the engine oil currently present in the car’s engine. From the bottom of the engine, the oil is drained out through the drain plug, which is a big bolt present at the bottom of the oil pan.

Engine oil change in car

Catching the old oil for recycling –

Before you remove the old oil, an oil container or bowl should be placed underneath the oil drain plug, to avoid spillage of engine oil. As soon as you remove the oil drain plug, the engine oil gushes down, thus let the engine oil to fall freely down into the container, so that it may be collected and recycled. Replace the oil drain plug back by tightening it properly. Also, keep the collected engine oil covered by a cap or lid.

Remove the old oil filter –

The next step is to remove the oil filter currently placed in your car. This can be done by using an oil filter wrench, by turning the oil filter in an anti-clockwise direction. But this process should be done carefully, as the oil filter may be accumulated with engine oil and can result in its spillage.

Prepping the new oil filter –

The new oil filter, before being fitted in the new car, should be prepped or fed with the engine oil properly. The rubber gasket present at the end of the filter should be lubricated with the engine oil. After this, fill this oil filter with the engine lubricant up to 66% of its level, to avoid spillage when you screw it back into the car.

Installing the new oil filter –

After prepping the oil filter, it’s time to fit into its place, which should be screwed carefully. Hold it in an upright position, so that the oil present in it may not fall down. The process of fitting the new oil filter can be done with hands and not any wrench, as over tightening it may result in breakage of its threads.

Refilling the engine oil –

Engine oil change in car

This is the step where you have to carry out the most important task – fill the engine oil into the engine. For this, first unscrew the oil fill cap and then mount a funnel on top of it. Pour the engine oil inside through this funnel as much as 80% of the capacity of the engine to hold it.


Checking the oil level –

Engine oil change in car

Finally, the level of the oil gone inside should be checked with the help of dipstick present in sideways of the engine, and if it shows less, add more oil until it shows the desired level. After this, run the engine for 1-2 minutes at idle. In this way, you can successfully inspect and change the engine oil for your car.





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