How To Change Your Own Oil

How To Change Your Own Oil

How To Change Your Own Oil

Are you interested in learning how to change your own oil so that you can save money and get better at do-it-yourself type of activities?  Then read on…


How to Change Your Own Oil- Money Saving Breakdown

  • Difficulty (Super Easy/Easy/Medium/Hard/Expert)Medium
  • Average Savings per Year ($/year): 114
  • Time Required (mins)120
  • Savings for your time ($/hr)57

How to Change Your Own Oil – Is it Worth It?

How’d you like to spend ~2 hours of your time a year to save about $114?  If so, learning how to change your own oil in your car, van, truck, or SUV can be a good way to squeeze out that last bit of savings from your budget.  This time commitment and savings price is based on a two-car household with four oil changes a year.  If you make the leap to changing your own motor oil, then your savings could be higher or lower depending on these variables.

How to Change Your Own Oil – How Often Should You Change It?

Well, I’ve been trying to change our oil at about 4,000 miles on all of our vehicles over the years and have never had any issues.  I use a regular (non-synthetic) type of oil recommended in our owner’s manual.  Try consulting your vehicles owner’s manual, because most newer cars can go 7,500 – 10,000 between oil changes with no issues.

As I’ve researched the issue more, it seems that I’ve been changing our oil way too much!!!  I think if I switch over to synthetic ($10 more for five quarts) I can move from oil changes every 4,000 miles to every 10,000 miles or every 6-months – whichever comes first.  Most synthetic oils are rated to run longer, but after 10,000 miles the oil filter becomes the limiting factor.

How hard you drive your car also factors into how often you’ll need to change your motor oil.  If you’re very hard on your car: lots of city driving, towing, racing, extreme heat/cold, lots of short trips, then you’d be wise to change your oil earlier than the normal person would need to.

How to Change Your Own Oil – What Do These W’s and 30’s Mean?

The short answer is: you don’t really need to know.  Just use the type recommended in your owner’s manual or what’s indicated on the oil cap.

For an awesome long answer to this question, see the top rated answer here: What does 5w30, 10w30, etc. mean?

How to Change Your Own Oil – What About the Oil Filter?

Yes, your oil filter should be changed any time you change your motor oil – plain and simple.  I’ve used Fram Oil Filters for ~15+ years and have never had any issues with them.

How to Change Your Own Oil – OK, What Tools Will I Need?

Here’s a full list of everything that you’ll need to change your own oil.  I put the items in orange below that are semi-optional:

  • Something to remove the oil bolt: Wrench or ratchet set
  • Something like this to catch the oil: Low Profile Oil Drain Pan
  • Something to catch any oil drippings: general purpose tarp
  • Something to clean up mess hands: roll of paper towels
  • Something to help remove the oil filter: oil filter wrench (optional)
  • Something to protect your hands from heat: general leather gloves

How to Change Your Own Oil – OK, How Do I Actually Change My Own Oil?

Because I love you all so much, I’ve made a two YouTube videos (below) that step you through the whole process :-)  Leave a comment here or on the video if you have any questions!

How to Change Your Own Oil – Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this how to change your own oil article has convinced you that you can save a few bucks by learning to how to change your own oil.  It really is pretty easy to learn how to change your own oil.   The YouTube video I made steps you through everything (most oil changes are very similar to this).  I also learned that I can switch to synthetic oil and save an extra $40 a year and ~one hour of my time by extending the miles between changes!!


  1. Renee s says

    Great post :) I mystery shop and get my oil changed for free and earn a few dollars for doing the shop…that way I don’t have to get my hands dirty.

    • says


      Thanks for stopping by! Can you expand on this a little bit? It sounds like a good potential opportunity. Are you saying that you mystery shop for the oil changing business?!?

      • Renee s says

        haha yea, there are TONS of mystery shops available for oil changes…they practically BEG people to do them. They pay for a basic oil change and usually a $5-10 dollar shoppers fee in exchange for you to fill out a form and explain how they did on customer service, cleanliness, etc. I don’t mystery shop a ton, but I do to get things that I want: dinner, movies, oil changes. I haven’t paid for a movie in a longgg time, but I’m at the theaters a lot :)

        • says


          Wow, that sounds pretty awesome. Especially the oil change and movie tickets. Any idea where I could get started with that as a mystery shopper, or should I just google it?

          Thanks for the cool tip!!!

          • Renee s says

            I use, intellishop and jobslinger which is a search engine for mystery shops and companies. Let them know I sent you!
            solomon. re at gmail .com

  2. says

    I’ve wanted to learn how to change our my own for awhile….great step by step instructions on how to do it, Derek! One thing to keep in mind about the time commitment is it certainly takes time to drive to and wait for someone else to change your oil. So, the time commitment to do it may actually be zero…or even a net gain!
    Brock @cleverdude recently posted…Clever Posts Of The Week – December 6thMy Profile

    • says


      That’s a great point! I’ve never really been to the oil change shop, so I don’t know what the normal wait times are like.

      I usually get the materials and set the oil draining in about 5 minutes. Then I’ll go cut the grass or do some other “messy” type of outdoors chore and return after about 30 mins. I’ll then close everything back up and add the oil after changing the filter. It takes about 10 mins of actual devoted time because I can multitask while the oil is draining. If I had to guess, this is probably less time than you’d have to wait at an oil change place.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • says


      Thanks for stopping by! I would ask for forgiveness vs. asking for permission :-) You can also change it at any gas station if you’re serious about giving it a try!

  3. says

    Wow that is impressive. I never would have even considered trying to do something like that myself. I’ve done other things DIY around the house though like fixing clogs, patching walls, repairing leaks, etc. My dad does a lot of DIY on his truck to save money but I’ve never tried anything auto related.
    Untemplater recently posted…How To Go From Mediocre To RemarkableMy Profile

    • says


      Thanks for stopping by! Truthfully, I think changing oil is actually easier than fixing a clogged drain to your sink (if you’re talking about unscrewing things under the sink). About the only way you can screw it up is to add the oil back without remembering to screw back in the oil drain plug :-)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge