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Maintenance Tips

A Step-by-Step Guide to Checking and Changing Your Vehicle Engine Oil

By Daisy Emah-Emah Posted: 10/30/2023

Your car’s engine is its lifeblood, and engine oil is the key to keeping it running smoothly and efficiently. Just like the human body needs blood to function properly, an engine needs oil to lubricate its moving parts and prevent wear and tear.

Regularly checking and changing your engine oil is one of the most important things you can do to extend the life of your engine and keep your car running its best. In this blog post, we’ll explain why engine oil is so important and provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to check and change it yourself.

What is The Importance of Engine Oil

Engine oil plays a critical role in ensuring your engine’s health and longevity. Here are some of the key functions it performs:

1. Lubrication: Engine oil reduces friction between moving parts in the engine, preventing wear and tear. Without proper lubrication, components can grind against each other, causing damage and reducing the engine’s lifespan.

2. Cooling: It helps dissipate heat generated during engine operation. An overheated engine can lead to severe damage and even a breakdown.

3. Cleaning: Engine oil carries away dirt, debris, and contaminants, keeping the engine clean and preventing sludge buildup. This, in turn, maintains optimal engine performance.

4. Sealing: It forms a protective barrier between the cylinder walls and the piston rings, maintaining compression and preventing oil from escaping into the combustion chamber.

5. Corrosion Prevention: Engine oil contains additives that protect internal components from corrosion and rust.

Now that you understand the vital role of engine oil, let’s dive into how to check and change it.

How to Check Your Vehicle Engine Oil

Regularly checking your engine oil level is a simple task that can help you detect potential problems early. Here’s how to do it:

1. Prepare Your Vehicle: Ensure your car is parked on a level surface and has cooled down for a few minutes if it was recently running.

2. Locate the Dipstick: Open the hood of your car and find the engine oil dipstick. It is usually brightly colored (often yellow or orange) and has a T-shaped handle for easy identification.

3. Remove and Wipe: Carefully pull out the dipstick, wipe it clean with a cloth or paper towel, and reinsert it all the way back into the dipstick tube.

4. Check the Level: Pull the dipstick out again and observe the oil level. It should be between the “MIN” and “MAX” marks on the dipstick. If it’s below the “MIN” mark, you’ll need to add more oil.

How to Change Your Vehicle Engine Oil

Changing the engine oil is a more involved process but is essential for maintaining your engine’s health. You’ll need the following tools and materials:

– New engine oil (check your vehicle’s manual for the right type and quantity)

– Oil filter

– Car Oil filter wrench

– Oil drain pan

– Wrench or socket set

– Funnel

– Jack and jack stands (for some vehicles)

Here’s a step-by-step guide to changing your engine oil

1. Safety First: Ensure your car is safely jacked up or on level ground. Use jack stands if necessary.

2. Locate the Oil Drain Plug and Filter: The drain plug is usually located on the underside of the engine, while the oil filter is typically on the side. Consult your vehicle’s manual for precise locations.

3. Drain the Oil: Position the oil drain pan under the drain plug and, using the wrench or socket set, remove the plug. Let the oil drain completely into the pan.

4. Replace the Oil Filter: Unscrew the old oil filter using the filter wrench. Before installing the new one, apply a small amount of oil to the rubber gasket. Screw the new filter in place, hand-tighten, and give it an extra quarter turn.

5. Add New Oil: Using a funnel, pour in the recommended amount of new oil. Consult your owner’s manual for the specific quantity and type.

6. Check the Oil Level: After adding new oil, wait a few minutes for it to settle, and then check the oil level using the dipstick. Adjust as necessary to reach the “MAX” mark.

7. Dispose of Old Oil: Properly dispose of the used engine oil and filter at a recycling center or a local auto parts store that accepts oil for recycling.


Regularly checking and changing your engine oil is a simple yet crucial aspect of vehicle maintenance. It ensures your engine runs smoothly, lasts longer, and performs at its best.

By following the step-by-step instructions provided in this guide, you can take control of your engine’s health and enjoy a safer and more reliable driving experience. 

Remember to consult your vehicle’s manual for specific recommendations and to follow local regulations for the disposal of used oil.