Oil Change

How often:

Plan to change your oil every 3,000-5,000 miles or every 3 months.

Things you’ll need from your garage or your local NAPA AUTO PARTS Store:

  • Oil filter wrench set*
  • Oil catch/recycle container
  • Funnel
  • New NAPA GOLD oil filter
  • 4-5 qt. new oil**
  • 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.

**Always check your owner’s manual. Some vehicles take up to 15 quarts!

Step 1

Park your car on a level surface; apply parking brake.
Run engine for 5 minutes before draining oil (warm oil drains faster than cold). Do NOT drain oil that is at full operating temperature (too hot!). Remove keys from the ignition, as some hybrid models can auto-start. To be safe, always check manual when working on a specialty vehicle.

Step 2:

Jack your car up and place it on jack stands.
A jack alone will not support the full weight of your car safely. Consult owner’s manual for proper jacking points, as the placement of a jack stand is just as important as where to place a jack. Misplacement can damage suspension or body parts.

Step 3

Locate oil drain plug under the engine and place the drain pan below.
The plug is usually near the front center of the engine, and some vehicles have more than one (see owner’s manual for exact location). Loosen the plug with the proper tool. 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 make sure your pan is positioned to catch it.

Step 4:

Unscrew the plug by hand.
Remove the plug by hand. While unscrewing the plug, push the plug back towards the pan. This prevents oil from rushing out until you are ready to remove the plug from the hole.

Step 5:

Drain all oil.
To speed the draining process, remove the filter cap located on the top of the engine (see owner’s manual) and allow air to enter from the top.

Step 6:

Replace oil plug.

Tighten by hand so plug is not cross-threaded. Once the plug is tight, finish tightening with the correct tool. Always use a new drain plug gasket and never over-tighten the drain plug.

Step 7:

Remove existing oil filter.
Position oil pan underneath to catch any remaining oil while unscrewing the old oil filter, using the proper oil filter wrench. Use a rag to clean the mounting surface in preparation for the new filter. Make sure that the sealing O-ring from the old filter is not stuck to the mounting surface on the engine. (Note: Some vehicles use remote mounted oil filters that may be on top or on the side of the engine.)

Step 8:

Lubricate new filter and screw 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 (always follow the manufacturer’s tightening specifications). Once the filter is installed, lower the car.

Step 9:

Clean the oil filter neck and pour in the new oil using a funnel.
Typically, you will use 4 to 5 quarts of oil (see manual for exact oil capacity). Fill to three-quarters of the engine’s capacity to avoid overfilling (there is always oil that does not drain). Replace the cap.

Step 10:

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 oil leaks. If a leak is noticed, shut the engine off immediately and correct any leaks. Check the dipstick. Add more oil if necessary.

Step 11:

Dispose the used oil properly.
Bring your used oil to a recycling center or a NAPA AUTO PARTS Store to recycle it for you. These are the only acceptable methods for oil disposal.

Important Tips:

  • Read your owner’s manual or see your local NAPA AUTO PARTS Store specialists to ensure you are using the correct type of oil and oil filter.
  • You’ll need the year, make, model and mileage of your car if you go to a NAPA AUTO PARTS Store.
  • Make sure the car is securely supported. You will need two jack stands to support the front of your car after jacking it up.
  • Record the date and mileage after you change the oil so you will know when your car is due for another oil change. It helps to put a small sticker on your windshield to remind you.
  • Handle hot motor oil with extreme caution.
  • Mechanic gloves will keep your hands protected and clean.
  • Only dispose of used motor oil and filters at authorized locations.
  • If you prefer, bring your car to your local NAPA AutoCare Center and they can change your oil for you.