How to Change Your Oil

One of the most basic car maintenance tasks for Indianapolis drivers is the regular oil change. When it comes to changing your vehicle’s oil, you have two options: do it yourself at home, or take your car to a quality car service company that can do it for you. We’ll summarize both options for you here, so you can make an informed decision about how to do your next oil change.

DIY Oil Change

An oil change is not an overly complicated procedure for most vehicles. However, it does require you to have the time, tools, and location to get it done. Before you get started, you’ll want to make sure you have the following tools and materials on hand:

  • wrench
  • oil filter wrench
  • drain pan
  • funnel
  • latex gloves (or a suitable alternative if you’re allergic to latex)
  • car jack or ramps (to elevate vehicle)
  • oil
  • oil filter

Your car or truck should have a manual. Check the manual for the type of oil and oil filter your vehicle requires. notes, “Check to see if the manual calls out other specific oil requirements as defined by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the International Lubricant Standardization Approval Committee (ILSAC.) Sometimes synthetic oil is expressly called for. Sometimes it’s not necessary.”

After you have what you need, here’s the basic process of an oil change (see the full version on

  • Locate the oil filter and drain plug.
  • Place the drain pan under the drain plug, and then remove the oil cap.
  • Put on your gloves, and remove the drain plug slowly. Make sure the drain pan is catching the oil, and adjust if necessary.
  • Check and clean the drain plug while the oil drains out.
  • Put the drain plug back in place tightly after the oil has finished draining.
  • Reposition your drain pan under the oil filter and remove the oil filter. Have some rags nearby in case it gets messy.
  • Put a small amount of new oil on the new filter, and then position the new filter in place. Make sure the oil filter and drain plug are replaced tightly.
  • Using your funnel, add the new oil to the reservoir. When you’re finished, place the oil cap back on.

A DIY oil change can take anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour, depending on your level of experience and familiarity with the vehicle. Never change your own oil before you feel completely comfortable with the process.

Professional Oil Change

If the DIY oil change process seems too much of a hassle or cars just aren’t your thing, then a professional oil change at a local service department will likely be your best bet. At an oil change, you can expect that all steps in the DIY process will be covered. Plus, many oil change companies will do a basic maintenance inspection of your engine and other fluid levels, blinkers, etc.

For Indianapolis residents, Joe’s Service Department offers you a quality oil change at an affordable rate. You can stop in for an oil change at your convenience or schedule an appointment by calling 317-405-8456.

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