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How To Change Your Oil & Oil Filter

Abby Wingett | 11th July 2022 | 7 minutes to read

Do you need to replace or change your engine oil filter? Let us show you how with this Repco Know How piece.

  1. The importance of changing your oil and filter
  2. What you will need to change your oil and oil filter
  3. Steps to changing your oil filter and engine oil

The importance of changing your oil and filter

With oil being the lifeblood of any internal combustion engine it is critical to periodically change this according to the manufacturers service schedule. Oil is used not just for lubrication but also for cooling and removal of harmful carbon build-up and when left for extended periods can cause blockages in oil galleries, wear on metal parts and decreased cooling capacity. All this adds up to both decreased performance and lifespan of your engine.

In the guide below we run through the procedure of changing a spin on type oil filter. Paper cartridge type oil filters are also commonly used and have a similar process yet only require the replacement of the filter element and not the housing.

What you will need to change your oil and oil filter

  • Oil Filter
  • Oil - Appropriate amount and type for your engine (use Repco rego search to help you find the right oil for your car)
  • Socket set - To remove the sump plug
  • Oil Filter Wrench - To remove the old oil filter
  • Oil Pan - To catch the old oil
  • Funnel - To avoid any spillage
  • Jack and Axle Stands - to lift your car high enough to get underneath

Repco Top Tip: Warm up the engine for 2-3 mins to make the oil more viscous allowing it to flow easily. We also recommend an engine oil flush additive; this helps to break away any carbon build up in the engine that has occurred over time

Steps to changing your oil filter and engine oil

Locate and loosen the Sump Plug

Step 1: Locate and loosen the sump plug

The sump plug is located in different places on each vehicle. Your cars manual should be able to give you the exact location of the sump plug however can often be easily found by looking underneath the vehicle around the bottom of your engine (sump). Before doing the oil change you should also run your engine for a few minutes to warm the oil, this will allow the oil to flow out more easily when removing the sump plug.

Tip:

Your sump should be warm to touch, if the sump is hot, the oil may cause burning when released so make sure to only run the motor for a short time.

Lift pan as you remove sump plug

Step 2: Lift pan as you remove sump plug

Bringing the pan closer to the sump plug when releasing the plug will limit the chance of the oil missing the pan and leaving oil stains on your driveway or garage floor. Once the sump plug is removed the oil pan can be placed on the ground to catch the remaining oil that will drain from the engine.

Drain the oil

Step 3: Drain the oil

Place the oil pan on the ground and allow all of the oil to drain from the engine. Allow at least 5-10 minutes to ensure all of the old oil is removed and visually inspect the sump plug area to make the oil flow has stopped before inserting the sump plug back in.

Tip:

Always check the condition of the sump plug and washer when replacing the sump plug. If there are any obvious signs of wear on the sump plug or washer this should also be replaced when doing the oil change. Applying a new sump washer at every oil change will limit the chance of having oil leaks.

Replace and tighten sump plug

Step 4: Replace and tighten sump plug

Once the engine oil has completely drained from the sump, wipe the area where the sump plug is going to go back in. Replace the sump plug and tighten it by hand ensuring that it isn't cross threading. Once the sump plug is hand tight, put the single hex socket back on and tighten till firm.

Remove the old oil filter

Step 5: Remove the old oil filter

To limit spilling when removing the oil filter always endeavour to hold as upright as possible as hot engine oil will remain in the filter. Before loosening the oil filter place the drain pan under the location of the oil filter to catch any spillages. To help you undo the oil filter use an oil filter wrench once loose if easier you can then begin to loosen by hand. Use a rag to clean the surface of the engine and ensure that the old gasket on the oil filter isn't stuck on the mounting surface.

Prepare new oil filter

Step 6: Prepare new oil filter

It is now time to prepare the new oil filter, you will need to remove the plastic cover off the oil filter. Before installing the new filter ensure to put a little bit of new oil around the seal.

Tip:

Make sure the old filter still has its seal as sometimes they can get caught up on the engine.

check area for any obstruction

Step 7: Check for any obstruction and wind on oil filter to vehicle specifications

It is now time to check the area to ensure there are no obstructions, you can clean the area with a rag. Once cleaned you are now ready to fit the new filter, the filter can be done up by hand you will most likely not need to use the wrench however check the vehicle manufacturers specifications.

pour in new oil

Step 8: Pour in new oil and replace oil cap

To refill your oil remove the oil cap located at or near the top of the engine. Using a clean funnel, you will want to pour the recommended volume back into the engine based on the manufacturer’s specifications. Do not overfill with oil as this can pose significant problems to operation and if this has occurred you will need to drain the excess out of the sump. Once filled to the correct level be sure to securely replace the oil cap.

Tip:

Check how much oil you've added using gauge on side of oil pack

Check under the car for oil leaks

Step 9: Check oil indicator, start engine and check under the car for oil leaks

It is important once doing an engine oil and filter replacement to check for any check engine lights and leaks. To do this you will need to start the car and focus on the dash to see if a check engine or oil light appears on the dash within 20 seconds if it does you will need to turn the car off. If no errors appear on the dash, run the car for another 5 to 10 seconds before turning the car off. Once you have turned the car off get under the car and have a look for any leaks. Ensure to check all the areas that you worked on to make sure there are no oil leaks.

lower car off jack stands and check oil levels

Step 10: Lower car off jack stands and check oil levels

Once happy that there are no engine oil leaks, you will need to jack up the car enough to remove the jacks stands, and then lower the car back on the ground. Now the car is level the oil in the sump will be sitting as it's meant to so you can correctly check the oil level. You will need to pull the dipstick out the handbook will show you where it is on the vehicle. Clean the dipstick with a rag and place it back in the hole and pull it out again, this will indicate how much oil is in the vehicle, ensure the dipstick shows it is full.

As you can see really, it's a pretty easy job that you can do yourself you just need a few tools.

Key take home note:

To keep your engine running at its prime - oil and oil filters should be replaced every 6-9 months, or 8 - 15,000kms. Check your owner manual to see what the correct interval is for you. With the right tools, it's definitely a job you can do yourself.


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