Skip To Content

    In Today's Episode Of Things They Didn't Teach Me In School: How To Change Your Car's Oil

    Here is everything I needed, how it went, and what I learned along the way.

    Hi, I'm Krista, and a while ago, I came across a list of skills that were dubbed "man skills" — which were just basic life skills that were gendered for no reason — so, I decided to start learning them. That's when I realized that I didn't know a lot of basic life skills, so I've been on a mission to fix that.

    @callmekristatorres

    watch me become a better a man then men themselves as i master 100 SKILLS EVERYMAN “MAN” SHOULD KNOW #🙄 #menskills #men #HoldMyMilk #manlymen #fyp

    ♬ Classical Music - Classical Music

    I have mastered quite a few interesting skills like wet shaving with a single razor blade, but today, I am going to show you one that's a little more complex: how to change your car's oil.

    My main reasons for learning this were to prove to myself that I could do it and to see if the amount of money I saved doing it on my own was worth it (my last oil change was over $70). According to AAA, you'll save between $25 and $75 per oil change, depending on the type of oil and filter you use.

    Now, I'm not a professional. I don't claim to be, and I have never changed my car's oil before. So, my sources for learning how to do this were a couple of family members with experience doing it many, many times (and, of course, some good old-fashioned Googling beforehand on my own).

    So, let's start things off with a list of what you need. I learned pretty quickly that saving money by changing your oil yourself is a long-term investment because it does require some upfront equipment fees.

    Equipment for changing your oil.

    Although I explained it in my TikTok in two minutes, the whole process will probably take you 30 minutes your first time and 15-20 minutes once you get the hang of it.

    Screenshot from Krista's TikTok

    First, you need to put your car in park and set your emergency brake. Then, jack up your car (it's not as hard as it sounds, you just need to learn how your jack works!). Here is a helpful YouTube video that shows you how to do that if you're unsure. You want your car elevated so you can safely go under it. This took a bit of muscle, but I did it! (I also added stacked blocks under the vehicle for extra safety just in case the jack failed.)

    Once it is elevated, you are going to grab your light and oil pan. (I had a creeper — yes, that is what the handy rolling thing I am on is called — to easily slide in and out, but you can just lay down an old towel if you don't wanna buy one.)

    "2. get a light and oil pan"

    Next, you'll need gloves — I did not do this, but I highly recommend them because I got oil all over my hands. Now, move under your vehicle to locate the drain plug. This is a large nut or plug, and your owner's manual will show you exactly where it is since it may be different on each car. Before you use the wrench to remove the drain plug, move your oil pan directly under it so it can catch the old oil.

    "3. twist drain cap off and drain old oil"

    Once you remove the drain plug and all of the old oil is out, you need to tighten the drain plug back on, first with your hands and then you can tighten with the wrench. (This also required more muscle than I am used to, but I got it!)

    "4. put drain plug back on"

    The next step will be taking the old oil filter out. To figure out where your oil filter is, again, you will need to reference your owner's manual. It could be under the vehicle or under the hood. You'll want to place the oil pan under the collection filter and use the proper tool to remove it.

    "5. take old filter out"

    Now, you're ready for the new filter and new oil! Use your finger to rub some of the new oil along the top of the new oil filter — this is called the gasket. I am not 100% sure why you do this, LOL, but I assume it is just so it twists in easier.

    "6. set old filter/oil aside and get new oil ready. rub new oil on top of new filter"

    Now, to be safe and because I am paranoid, I double-checked again to make sure the drain plug was really tight. But the next step is to screw in the new filter.

    "7. make drain plug tight with wrench and put in new filter"

    Once the new filter is tightly in place, locate the oil fill cap under the hood — it will have a picture of an oil can on it!!! Remove the cap and put your funnel in so you can pour in the new oil. When done, put the cap back on tightly.

    "8. pour in new oil!"

    Check under your vehicle to make sure there are no leaks.

    "9. check for leaks"

    And then, you can remove the jack and the blocks if you used them to help elevate your vehicle.

    "10. take blocks and jack out"

    Lastly, you'll start your engine and let it run for a minute to bring your oil pressure up. Then, it'll be time to check your oil level. Locate the dipstick, pull it out, and clean it off. Then, put it back in and pull it out. Each dipstick may be different, but it should show you where the oil level should be. Here is a more detailed tutorial on doing that.

    "11. check oil dipstick"

    As for the cleanup, you'll want to pour the old oil into a jug of some sort with a screw-on cap. Then, you can take that and your oil filter to most recycling centers who can properly discard it.

    "12. RECYCLE!!"

    And those are the steps, from how I learned it, in a nutshell. Once again, this was shown to me by my family. You can find tons of tutorials on YouTube as well. Since my family had most of the gear, I didn't have to spend a lot upfront. But, I went to an auto store and figured you would probably spend about $100 roughly. Buying the oil and the new oil filter was about $45, so that is what I would spend each time doing it myself.

    This experience truly made me realize this is a mind over matter thing. I went in believing I could do it, and by applying the instructions, I was able to — I am absolutely capable of changing my car's oil! However, there are some reasons you may want to pay to get it done by a professional, IMO...

    Krista changing her oil
    Reasons to pay someone else to change your oil
    "Do you currently or would you learn how to change your car's oil? Let me know in the comments!"