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Oil Change Guide

Want to change your own oil at home? You’ve come to the right place! On this page, we at Fred Beans have created a detailed oil change guide to help you get the job done quickly and correctly. Drivers in the areas of Philadelphia, Doylestown, Mechanicsburg, and Flemington should read ahead to learn more!

Oil Change Overview

The process of changing your engine oil is easy and takes just around 30 minutes of your time if you have all the materials and tools that you need. It can be done right in your driveway or garage. How often you need to repeat the process depends on the type of oil that you have.

If you use conventional oil, you’ll need to change it about every six months. If your vehicle uses synthetic oil, however, you’ll only need to do it about once a year depending on how many miles you drive a month.

Important Oil Change Tips

Before you get the ball rolling, check out these helpful tips for changing your oil at home:

  • You’ll need to know the year, make, model, and mileage of your car when you buy supplies at an auto parts store.
  • Handle hot motor oil with extreme caution. Use mechanic’s gloves to keep your hands protected and clean.
  • Record the date and mileage after you change the oil, so you’ll know when your car is due for another oil change. It helps to put a small sticker on your windshield to remind you.

You can always take your car to your local auto parts store and they’ll change your oil for you.

What You’ll Need to Change Your Oil

The first and most important things that you’ll need to change your oil are new oil and a new oil filter. Before you go out and buy oil, check the owner’s manual for your vehicle to see how much and what kind of engine oil your vehicle needs. Some vehicles can take up to 15 quarts of engine oil while others need only five. On top of new engine oil, you’ll also need the following tools:

Oil filter wrench set

Oil catch or recycle container


New oil filter

Clean rags

Car jack

Jack stands

Safety glasses

Mechanics work gloves

Hand cleaner

If you plan to change your oil regularly, consider investing in a small tool set, an oil filter wrench set, and a quality floor jack and stands.

Step 1

Park your car on a level surface and apply the parking brake.

Run your engine for 5 minutes before draining oil, as warm oil drains faster than cold. Do not drain oil that is at full operating temperature. It will be way too hot! Remove your keys from the ignition, as some hybrid models can auto-start. To be safe, always check your owner’s manual before working on a specialty vehicle.

Step 2

Jack your car up and securely place it on jack stands.

A jack alone will not safely support the full weight of your car. Consult your manual for the proper jacking points. The placement of a jack stand is just as important as the jack placement. The wrong placement can damage your car’s suspension or body parts.

Step 3

Locate the oil drain plug and place the drain pan below.

The oil drain plug is usually near the front center of the engine, but some vehicles have more than one plug. Check your manual for the exact location. Then, loosen the plug with a socket wrench. Make sure that the drain pan is large enough to hold 4-5 quarts of oil or more. The oil drains at an angle, so position your pan to catch it.

Step 4

Unscrew the plug by hand.

Remove the plug by hand. While unscrewing the plug, push it back toward the pan. This prevents oil from rushing out until you’re ready to remove the plug from the hole.

Step 5

Drain all the oil and replace the oil plug.

Let all the oil inside the engine system drain out into the pan. To speed up the draining process, remove the filter cap located on the top of the engine and allow air to enter from the top. Check your owner’s manual for the exact location.

Once all the oil has come out into the pan, replace the oil plug by placing the plug back into the hole. Tighten the oil plug by hand, so it’s not cross-threaded. Once the plug is tight, finish tightening with a wrench or by hand. Always use a new drain plug gasket and never over-tighten the drain plug.

Step 6

Remove existing oil filter.

Place the oil pan underneath the old filter to catch any remaining oil while unscrewing it, using an oil filter wrench. Use a rag to clean the mounting surface. Make sure that the sealing O-ring from the old filter is not stuck to the mounting surface on the engine.

Keep in mind that some vehicles use remote mounted oil filters that may be on top or on the side of the engine. Check your owner’s manual to see if your vehicle is one such model.

Step 7

Lubricate the new filter and screw it into place by hand.

Lightly coat the rubber seal of the new filter with fresh oil. It’s usually not necessary to tighten the oil filter with the wrench. Refer to the filter’s instructions. Once the filter is installed, you can lower the vehicle down off the jacks.

Step 8

New oil using a funnelClean the oil filter neck and pour in the new oil using a funnel.

Typically, you’ll use 4 to 5 quarts of oil, but check your manual for your vehicle’s oil capacity. Fill to three-quarters of the engine’s capacity to avoid overfilling, as there is always oil that does not drain. Then replace the cap.

Step 9

Run the engine for a few minutes to make sure there are no leaks.

Check the area around the oil drain plug and the filter for any leaks. If you notice a leak, shut the engine off immediately and correct for any leaking at the oil drain plug and/or the filter. Check the dipstick afterward, and add more oil, if necessary.

Step 10

Dispose of the used oil properly.

It’s crucial that your old engine oil should be disposed of properly. You can’t put it down the drain or in the trash. Instead, you’ll need to take it to a recycling center or an auto parts store to recycle it for you. These are the only acceptable methods for oil disposal.

Have Questions about Changing Your Oil?

If you still have questions about changing your oil or would prefer to have it changed by a professional, we at Fred Beans can help. Drivers around Philadelphia, Doylestown, Mechanicsburg, and Flemington can schedule an oil change today by giving us a call at our service center!


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