How to Replace Your Engine Oil and Oil Filter

Preventive maintenance, big or small, is essential to keeping your vehicle operational. One simple and inexpensive way to extend your engine’s life is by changing your engine oil and the oil filter in your vehicle. Follow along with this article to learn how to replace your engine oil and oil filter quickly and safely.

how to replace your engine oil and oil filter - faire la vidange d huile de votre moteur
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • How often: Recommended every 5,000 km


Oil filters play a key role in providing engine protection by helping keep debris out of your oil. This is why experts recommend you change your motor oil and oil filter in your vehicle every six months or 5,000 km. Oil changes at 15,000 km or more are too long an interval for most common driving conditions in Canada.

To save money and trouble later, stick with your approved car maintenance schedule. Refer to your owner’s manual for recommended procedures and maintenance and to keep your vehicle in top condition.

Note that short-trip driving is especially hard on oil because the engine never warms up enough to boil off the moisture and sludge that accumulates inside the cylinder head and crankcase. If you use your vehicle for demanding tasks that put more stress than usual on the engine oil and oil filter, you’ll find change recommendations under the “Severe Service” maintenance intervals in your manual.


Before you replace the , you need to decide between synthetic motor oil and conventional motor oil.

Not all motor oil types fit all vehicles, and higher engine oil viscosity numbers do not necessarily provide better protection. Follow your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations for your motor and driving conditions for best results.

If your vehicle manufacturer does not specify a type of motor oil, consider if switching to synthetic engine oil may be the best choice for you.

Here’s why: synthetic engine oils improve fuel economy, give you more time between oil changes, and provide instant lubrication on start-up.

Vehicles with high output, turbocharged, or supercharged engines; vehicles that are used for towing; and vehicles that are operated in extreme climates would benefit from synthetic engine oil. The only big downside to synthetic engine oil is that it’s more expensive than conventional mineral-based oil.

NAPA Premium Oil and NAPA Gold Oil Filter in front of an engine


To properly do an oil change, make sure you have the following materials:


When doing vehicle maintenance of any kind, remember that your safety comes first! Whenever you’re working on your vehicle, we recommend you follow these important safety rules:

  • Have a first-aid kit and fire extinguisher
  • Be careful when working around hot or sharp objects.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for all products.
  • Ensure your jack stands are supporting the vehicle’s frame if you must raise your vehicle.
  • Don’t run the engine without proper ventilation.
  • Don’t smoke when working around the engine.

In addition, before doing an oil change, check the colour of your engine oil: milky brown engine oil is an indication of coolant mixed in with the oil. This can be a symptom of a blown head gasket, a failing transmission cooler, or cracked casing.

This condition is very serious and needs to be checked by your local NAPA AUTOPRO service centre.


Be sure to READ these instructions COMPLETELY before starting!

A spin-on filter is perhaps the most commonly replaced service part of a vehicle. To ensure proper installation, most filters have instructions printed on them. Follow these five steps when changing any spin-on oil filter.

Step 1: Get set up

Start with warming up your vehicle to the operating temperature. This loosens contaminants in your engine and makes the oil flow easily.

Once your vehicle is warm, turn off the engine and secure the vehicle with the emergency brake, wheel chocks, jack stands, or ramps. This prevents rolling and provides better access to the oil filter.

A car is on ramps to lift the vehicle to start doing an oil change

Step 2: Drain the old oil

Now that your vehicle is turned off and secure, put on a pair of gloves to protect your hands.

Next, slide your oil drain pan under the drain plug and loosen the plug by turning it counterclockwise with a wrench. Remove the drain plug by hand, keeping inward pressure on the plug until it’s completely free. Do this quickly to avoid burning yourself and getting dirty.

Allow the oil to completely drain from the engine, then clean the drain plug and hole. Reinstall the drain plug with a new crush washer by hand to ensure proper threading before tightening it with your wrench.

Person is draining the old oil from their engine into a drip pan

Step 3: Remove the old oil filter

Place the oil drain pan underneath the filter. Carefully remove the filter by turning it counterclockwise with the oil filter wrench or the correct oil filter end cap. Caution: The oil and oil filter may still be hot!

If the old filter’s gasket is still attached to the base, remove it and wipe off any residual oil from the oil filter housing.

how to use a oil filter wrench

Step 4: Install the new oil filter

Before proceeding, make sure the rubber gasket on the new oil filter is in place and secure.

Apply a thin layer of clean engine oil over the entire gasket surface. Spin the new filter onto the filter housing stud and make sure the gasket makes contact with the oil filter housing.

Tighten the filter by hand only and follow the oil filter’s installation instructions.

replace your oil filter

Step 5: Fill the engine with fresh motor oil

Remove the oil cap from the valve cover and fill your motor to the correct capacity with oil. Make sure to use the recommended type and viscosity of oil for your vehicle as stated in the owner’s manual.

Check the oil dipstick to verify your oil is at the proper level. Then reinstall the oil cap.

Start your engine for 10 seconds before turning it off. Look for leaks around the filter and drain plug. Then check the oil dipstick again to confirm the oil is still at the proper level.

If the oil is at the correct level and there are no leaks, properly dispose of your used oil and filter.

Person pouring pouring oil into their engine


You’ve finished replacing your engine oil and filter. Now, while the hood of your vehicle is open, consider taking this opportunity to check your engine air filter. If you’ve got your vehicle on jacks, maybe take a look at your brakes to guarantee your vehicle is in top condition.

6 Replies to “How to Replace Your Engine Oil and Oil Filter”

  1. Ahmed Misbah ur Rehman says:

    Very helpful and well explained. Really appreciate it.

  2. Pierre duval says:

    How do you delete the check engine oil warning in a Ford after oil changes

  3. Robert says:

    Being a certified mechanic I would not recommend hanging on to the hot exhaust pipe as the lady is doing in the picture of the oil draining . Also it is much easier to oil the gasket on the filter on the bench than doing it under the car, preferably with new oil.

  4. filter says:

    It’s great that you are sharing useful information. I enjoy reading your blog.
    David, author, and owner of the blog

  5. Robert says:

    What do you do to get rid of the used oil ?

    1. admin says:

      Hi Robert, you can bring it to a recycling centre or bring it back to your local NAPA store.

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