Insider's Guides > Fluids

Car Maintenance

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Change The Engine Oil and Filter

Changing the engine oil and filter regularly is the best way to keep an engine in good condition. The oil deteriorates in the engine both with age and with use, and this can cause engine wear.

change oil
You will need:
  • Plenty of clean cloth
  • Disposable gloves
  • Draining container (5 litres)
  • Oil filter removal tool
  • Spanner to fit oil drain plug
  • New oil filter
  • New drain plug sealing washer
  • Engine oil and funnel
  • Hydraulic jack and axle stands

Before you start:

  • The engine should be warm (after a short run)
  • Jack up the front of the car and support on axle stands
  • Disconnect the battery negative lead

1 Remove the oil filler cap, and put on the gloves. Position the draining container below the drain plug under the engine. The oil may flow out with some force initially - position the container to allow for this.

2 Use the spanner to unscrew the drain plug. Keep the plug pressed into its hole, and unscrew it by hand the last couple of turns. As the plug comes out, pull it away quickly so that the oil runs into the container, not up your sleeve.

3 Allow some time for the oil to drain. You might need to move the container as the flow slows down. When the flow of oil stops, wipe the plug clean, and wipe around the plug hole. Fit a new sealing washer to the plug, then screw the plug back in and tighten it.

4 Move the draining container under the oil filter. The filter may be most easily reached from under the car.

5 Using an oil filter removal tool, loosen the filter (turn the filter anti-clockwise), then unscrew it by hand. Drain the oil from the filter into the container.

Warning! Some of the engine parts will be hot during the oil change - be careful not to burn yourself, expecially on the hot exhaust pipe.

6 Wipe around the filter mounting on the engine. Smear a little clean engine oil on the sealing ring of the new filter.

7 Screw the new filter onto the engine by hand until the sealing ring touches the engine, then tighten it by hand by another half- to three-quarters of a turn. Remove the draining container and tools from under the car, and lower the car to the ground.

8 Pour in about two-thirds the recommended quantity of oil (see your Haynes Manual for oil capacities), using a funnel to stop spills, then wait a few minutes for the oil to run down into the engine. Reconnect the battery negative lead while you're waiting.

9 Check the oil level on the dipstick and top up as required. Run the engine for a couple of minutes to check for leaks around the filter or drain plug. Re-tighten slightly if you spot a leak, but don't overtighten. If all is well, leave the engine for five minutes, then check the oil level once more. Keep topping up gradually until the oil reaches the 'Max' mark on the dipstick. Be careful not to overfill the engine. If you do, you will need to remove the drain plug briefly to drain off the excess.

Haynes Hints

  • The manufacturer's specified interval for oil and filter changes is typically every 10,000 miles or every 12 months, whichever comes first.
  • We recommend an interval of 5,000 miles or 6 months, in order to minimise oil contamination and engine wear.
  • This advice applies to all models, but especially to older or high-mileage cars.
  • Make sure that you buy the correct filter for your particular car. Different engines use different filters.