The Ultimate Guide to Vehicle Engine Oil Changes

If you own a passenger vehicle, you’re probably aware that engine oil changes are an essential part of maintenance. However, you might not know why, when or how they’re necessary.

This engine oil guide will answer these questions for you and more. We’ve created this guide to outline everything you need to know about engine oil changes. 

We will briefly touch on each sub-topic and release future articles about each in more detail. After reading, you will have a greater understanding of engine oil changes and why they’re so important.

If you feel some information is missing or have any questions about this guide, please
contact us.

The Purposes of Engine Oil

The most complicated component of a vehicle is its engine. Oil is necessary for keeping the intricate parts inside the engine working correctly.

Here are the primary purposes of engine oil:

1) Lubricating the moving parts within your vehicle’s engine

2) Helping reduce combustion byproducts

3) Dissipating heat away from the combustion chamber

4) Minimizing oxidation inside the engine

Having the correct type and amount of oil is critical for optimal engine performance. Now we will outline the process for an oil change.

The Process of an Engine Oil Change

Several steps need to be taken when changing a vehicle’s engine oil.

1) Determining the Type of Oil and Filter

The first step for an engine oil change is determining what kind of filter and oil are needed. You’ll also need to know the correct amount of oil you’ll be using. You can easily find this information in your owner’s manual or online.

Having the correct oil and filter are imperative for your vehicle’s long-term health. We’ll further discuss types of oil later in this guide.

2) Gather the Supplies and Materials You Need

In addition to oil and a filter, you’ll need an oil-filter removal wrench, a wrench to remove the drain plug, a funnel, a drain pan and some gloves.

3) Remove the Oil Filter

It’s the softball-sized cylindrical component screwed onto the engine. (Although some engines have housing that you slip a filter cartridge into). 

Using your hand or a wrench, loosen the oil filter enough that the oil starts to come out of the top and drip down into your receptacle. Wait until the flow subsides and finish removing the filter. 

Before installing your new filter, be sure to verify that the old oil-filter gasket—a thin rubber O-ring—wasn’t left behind.

4) Pull the Oil Plug and Install the New Filter

Make sure you place your drain pan or some container beneath the plug. Once you pull the plug, your vehicle’s old engine oil will start to drain. This plug is a long bolt head at the bottom of the pan.

After draining all your engine’s old oil, install the new oil filter.

5) Adding New Oil

After putting the oil plug back in, you can now lower your vehicle back down to ground level. Open the hood and remove the oil cap, which should have an oil-can symbol on it. 

Using a funnel, carefully fill the engine with the new oil at the indicated volume.

6) Recycle The Old Oil

Please make sure you take it to an automobile shop so that it can be disposed of properly.

Why you Shouldn’t Add Only Oil

A typical corner that’s cut is only doing step #5 of the process and not removing the old oil. Doing this saves a small amount of time and money in the short term.

Old engine oil needs to be removed from your vehicle because:

  • It becomes dirty, thick and sludge-like over time
  • Your filter will become too dirty and stop collecting metal shavings and other debris

Now your engine parts aren’t lubricated well, and they’re pressing up against each other in a way that makes the engine hot. As a result, your engine could have a variety of problems. Your head gasket could crack, and then antifreeze could spread into the engine and damage it. Your engine’s cylinders could warp, affecting the pistons.

What You Need to Handle Your Own Oil Change (DIY)

Here are all the essential supplies and materials you need to complete your oil change.

Tools Required

– Rags
– Rubber mallet
– Safety glasses
– Gloves
– Wrench set
– Funnel
– Jacks 

Materials Required

– Container for used oil
– Engine oil
– Oil filter
– Oil filter gasket
– Oil pan

We recommend doing further research for your vehicle’s material needs. You should make sure you have everything you need before handling your oil change. 

What Happens if you Don’t Regularly Change your Vehicle’s Oil?

The consequences vary depending on how much driving you do and how long it’s been since your last chance. In general, your vehicle’s engine becomes too hot, and a variety of problems can occur.

Your vehicle will run less efficiently in mild cases and might clog up when the current oil becomes too old. Some parts of your engine may also start to warp due to severe heat and lack of lubrication.

In extreme cases, your engine will shut down and need to be replaced entirely. This scenario puts drivers out thousands of dollars or forces them to purchase a new car.

How to Know when you Need an Oil Change

Each vehicle’s oil needs vary depending on age, type of oil and driving conditions. 

Intervals are defined by a certain number of kilometres and time. Your owner’s manual or an automotive professional will recommend an interval for you.

For example, my vehicle requires an oil change every 5,000 kilometres or six months. I have an appointment by whichever I reach first.

Setting reminders in your phone can be useful for staying on top of oil changes for your vehicle.

How much Would it Cost to have my Oil Changed Professionally?

If you’re like most people and don’t want to do your oil change, you can take it to a mechanic or service shop. 

Depending on where you live, car oil change prices will vary. You should expect to pay around $40 to $50 to have a mechanic handle it. 

If the shop uses synthetic oil for your vehicle, it will cost a bit more.

The Types of Engine Oil

As we mentioned above, each vehicle requires a specific type of engine oil. Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all for every car.

It varies based on things like the automobile’s manufacturer, the model and the type of engine.

1) Conventional Oil: This is the most commonly used type of oil. It is ideal for light-duty, late-model cars with low to average mileage and a simple engine design.

2) Full Synthetic Oil: Synthetic is the highest quality and highest cost oil. 

3) Synthetic Blend Oil: This is the middle ground between conventional and synthetic oil with a few additives.

4) High Mileage Oil: As the name suggests, this is oil for older vehicles with high mileage. 

The Types of Oil Filters

Oil filters play a crucial role in protecting the health of a car’s engine. Your car’s motor oil soaks up contaminants that can damage the engine.

The oil filter purifies this fluid, making it as clean as possible before making its way through the engine.

1) Full-Flow Oil Filter: This is the most common type in Canada because it allows more room for oil to flow. It’s more effective for cold climates because oil can thicken dramatically.

2) Secondary Flow Oil Filter: These support the primary filter for a vehicle. Their purpose is to remove any contaminants the primary filter may have missed.

3) Cartridge Oil Filter: This type is also a “full-flow filter.” The main difference is cartridge filters have no metal, so they’re easier to recycle.

4) Spinner Oil Filter: These filters are secondary and use centrifugal force to trap contaminants from engine oil. They’re very effective but more expensive.


We hope you’ve found this guide to be informative and helpful. We’ve outlined everything you need to know about engine oil changes and will go into more detail with future blogs.

Now you should have a greater understanding of engine oil changes and why they’re so important.

If you feel some information is missing or have any questions about this guide, please contact us.