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How Long Does An Oil Change Take?

How Long Does An Oil Change Take?

If you’ve just bought a car, you may be wondering how long does an oil change take? There are many steps in it, affecting the time taken for the change.

Below, we’ll be running through each of these steps, assessing how they impact the process. In the end, we’ll discuss the average wait time for oil change. If interested, read ahead.

What Type Of Oil Are You Using?

You may be wondering how much oil changers make. They are expensive, which is why doing it at home is recommended.

If you’re looking to change your car’s oil, the first step is to go through your vehicle’s manual. This is very important as different cars require different oils.

You should assess the manual carefully, going through the recommended brand. This would ensure your engine works as smoothly as possible.

What’s more, the manual may specify that the car can handle oil that is a certain thickness. For example, it may need 5W-20 oil. You could easily bring home a 5W-30 bottle, compromising how well its engine performs.

That’s not all:

It would specify if the oil had to undergo specific testing. Certain oil brands undergo procedures on their bottles, such as the API. These specific bottles may be needed.

Get Your Equipment Ready

It’s a huge process to change the oil in a vehicle. You can’t just tip the bottle, pouring the oil into an engine. Instead, you’ll need lots of equipment.

Thankfully for you, they can easily be brought from any auto shop.

You may be wondering what this equipment is.

They are:

A funnel, a drain pan, gloves, and a filter wrench. Most people think gloves aren’t important because you can get the job done without them. However, this is to prevent motor oil from getting on your body. It can get pretty sticky and even cause your skin to get irritated.

You should know that these are not all the equipment you’ll need.

Your car’s engine may be difficult to access. If this is the case, you’ll need something to elevate the vehicle. This can be done with a floor jack. Ensure you have a safety stand as well. Otherwise, you could get into an accident.

In terms of a funnel, you don’t have to buy one. You can easily make one at home by cutting open a large, 1-litre bottle.

Get The Oil Ready

You have all the things you’ll need to get the job done. Before you get down to it, you should check the oil’s temperature. It’s important that it’s not too cold to the touch. It should be warm.

You need to monitor your vehicle’s engine as well. Remember to touch it and ensure that it’s warm as well. If it’s very hot, the filtering process can be dangerous.

Hence, it’s recommended that you start the car, turn off the ignition and let it sit before you get to work. The longer you wait will affect the average oil change time.

To sum it up:

  • A cold car makes the oil viscous, so it’s hard to drain the oil out
  • Warm oil is easier to funnel into an engine.

Find The Drain Plug

With that out of the way, you have to find your car’s drain plug. Usually, it’s at the bottom of the car so having it elevated helps. Be sure to take your time and find it. Otherwise, you may waste time meddling with your vehicle’s parts.

When you find the drain plug, you’ll need a pan to collect the oil in the engine. This will take up to a minute at most.

If you’re wondering what a drain plug looks like, it’s a large nut beneath a vehicle’s engine. Usually, manufacturers don’t place other nuts close to it, so it’s easy to find.

Motor oil is not fun to clean up. So you’ll have to position the drain pan at a specific angle. Because of the oil’s viscosity and the plug’s position, oil falls at a specific angle. So, you’ll need to offset the pan to catch what’s spilling.

If you’re wondering how long does it take to get oil changed, the cleaning up of oil spills will affect this.

An added tip:

Be careful of the direction of the wind. It can shift the direction the oil falls in, so be sure to drain the vehicle when it’s not windy.

The Oil Filter

With the oil drained out, you need to get rid of the oil filter as well.  When doing so, be careful. These have a lot of oil on it so it can spill. That’s why you should have gloves on and a container next to you as well.

If you’re draining the car outside, take the wind into account when unscrewing the filter as well.

Unfortunately, people find it difficult to take oil filters out. This is because they turn it clockwise when the opposite is needed. If you keep turning it clockwise, you’ll break the gasket.

What’s more, people don’t realize they need a hex to open it. Instead, they try and do so with their hands.

With the filter out, you can throw it away. It’s of no further use so don’t be afraid to recycle it.

Replace The Filter

You’ll need to add a new filter each time you’re changing your vehicle’s oil. When adding new oil, you may notice it doesn’t fit properly. Don’t be afraid as the gasket swells over time, encompassing the filter.

Most of the time, your car’s manual would have instructions on how many turns it takes to place the filter in. Be sure to follow this. In this instance, a filter wrench is needed.

Pour The Oil

Now, you have to pour the oil into the engine. Before you do so, there’s another step you need to go through.

Put your finger in the bottle of oil and get it completely moist. With the oil on your finger, you can lubricate the ‘O’ ring of the filter you’ve just added.

You can finally add the oil. However, add less than what’s needed. You’ll have to add a quart less than the required amount. So, if 6 quartz of oil is required, make it only 5.

With this done, turn on the engine and let the oil settle. You can see if it spills out of the engine when doing so.

If your car was elevated, take it down and add the final bit of oil needed.

And voila! You’ve just changed your vehicle’s oil.

If you’re wondering how long is an oil change good for or how long can you go between oil changes, it depends on your vehicle’s manual. However, a rule of thumb is to change it every 5000-10,000 miles.


As you can see from the above points, changing a car’s oil takes time. It’s a lengthy process and you’ll need to get various equipment and follow specific guidelines.

What slows the process down, even more, is the temperature of the oil and engine. Be sure to keep them warm if you want the process to go as smoothly as possible.

Now how long do oil changes take? With the vehicle heated up, refilling oil in car will take 45 minutes to an hour maximum.

Thus, how long does it take to service a car and change its oil depends on how prepared you are.

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