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How To Change Oil Filter- A Complete Guide of 2021

Just as a human body needs food for energy, your car needs proper oil to function properly. Oil runs through your vehicle just as blood runs through a human body. Any obstruction in the passage will cause several problems. The oil contains dirt, dust and micro-contaminants. Oil filters help to clean dirt and small particles from the oil, providing a good oil filtration and a long term engine performance. Oil filters would also help to increase your vehicle’s lifespan. So, need to know how to change oil filter.

 A good engine might get damaged and may also lay impacts on your cars if it is contaminated. A clean oil filter would lubricate, smoothen and cool operations performed by the engine at various temperatures. Thus changing oil filter is as essential as changing the oil of your vehicle.

When to Change Oil Filters?

Every vehicle is different and consumes oil in different amounts but the average amount of miles traveled by your vehicle, after which oil filters need to be replaced, is around 7,500-10,000 miles.  Also check your car owner’s manual for the proper oil filter maintenance for safety. Mechanics suggest you should change your oil filters with every oil change. Some also suggest when your vehicle’s service light is switched on you may require a new oil filter ahead of the maintenance schedule. Also, if you travel extensively or your car travels long miles carrying heavy loads; in these conditions, extra stress is put into your engines and a new oil filter will be necessary for it to function smoothly.

Tools Needed to Change Oil Filters

Engine Oil / Oil Filter / Floor Jack / Funnel / Container/plastic/newspaper / Jack Stands / Oil Drain Pan / Oil Filter Pliers / Drain plug / Socket Wrench Set / Work Glove / Pen or screwdriver

Process of Changing Oil Filter (Step by Step)

Remove All Oil From Your Engine

First of all, you need to drain all the oil from your vehicle’s engine. So you will need to lift the car off the floor using jacks and jack stand. Remember never to go underneath your vehicle supported only by jack; always make sure you put a jack stand as well. Use a block box to block up your rear tires too, so that the car doesn’t roll.

Heat the Engine

Before draining your engine oil, start your engine and go for a short drive. This will warm up your engine oil. Thus, this will help the engine oil to be drained easily when you remove your plug. Letting your engine work will also allow pieces of dust or micro contaminants which have sunk into the bottom of the oil to come up near the surface. This would improve the chances of thoroughly removing your vehicle’s engine oil, and provide a better engine performance once the new motor oil has been put on.

Locate the Oil Drain Pan Beneath Your Engine

Turn off your car’s engine and remove your oil cap. Search for the oil pan. It will be a flat metal dish located near the bottom of your engine. Get underneath your car to find it.  You will see either a bolt or a plug near your engine or below it. Once you have found the oil pan, place a container you will use to collect the oil underneath it so that oil doesn’t spill all over the floor. You can also place a newspaper below your pan to prevent spillage.

Locate and Remove the Drain Plug of the Oil Drain Pan

​You will need to find the drain pan near your vehicle’s engine. Put a plastic container under your drain pan to collect the oil. Once you located the drain plug, remove it. Loosen the drain plug of the drain pan with a socket wrench and carefully turn it anti-clockwise direction. Be careful as the oil will continuously start to flow out as soon as you do it. Carefully carry this step out, as you can’t allow oil spillage. Simply put the plastic container or container beneath the whole oil pan and this will catch any trapped extra oil as you remove your oil pan. Once the oil stops coming out, you will know your oil has been drained and you can change your oil filter now.

Change Your Oil Filter

​The exact positioning of the oil filter may vary according to each different make and model of your vehicle. As a result, may need to look into your car owner’s manual in order to find out where it is situated, in case you can’t find it. Most cars have it beneath them. After finding the filter, try to spin it and take it off. If it’s too tight and won’t come off (which is pretty normal) use a filter removal wrench. There are 4 types of tools available in the market to take the oil filter off. You can use oil filter wrench to spin the oil filter and take it off. Once you start spinning oil will start to spill again. Put the plastic container underneath your filter to prevent spillage. Once you have successfully taken off the filter. It’s time to put on a new one.

Take your new oil filter. It should be empty. Refill it with your new motor oil and also lubricate the gasket too. Filling your new oil filter with motor oil will prevent the engine from running dry and provide give a longer lasting engine

Precautions and Actions Taken Against Rubber Gasket Rings

​The rubber gasket present in the oil filter ring helps to seal the oil filter against your vehicle. This should come off when you unscrew the oil filter. If it is kept stuck to the car or kept unrevoked then it will cause difficulties when you begin to fit a new oil filter. It will prevent the oil filter from creating a tight seal and will thus begin to leak oil which can cause all sorts of damage on the inside of your car’s engine. While working if you see that the ring gets stuck to the car then you should use either your fingers (wear work gloves while working) or long wretch to help you get some leverage to tear it off. If you want to avoid any oil spillages around you, remove the oil filter from its position in the car, you can use a plastic bag or spread out a newspaper to prevent any oil from reaching the floor.

Lubricate Your Oil Filter Gasket

​Just like we mentioned in point number 5 previously, you need to lubricate your oil filter gasket to prevent your engine from becoming dry. After filling the new filter with your new motor oil, spread only a little amount of motor oil on the new gasket ring. This will lubricate it properly and will help to make sure that it creates a good seal against your vehicle. Oiling the ring slightly will also make it easier and smoother for you to tear the ring off the next time you replace your filter again. You should also put a small amount of oil into the oil filter itself before you put it up in its place. This will decrease the time it takes for your vehicle to reach the required amount of oil pressure after you have refilled the motor oil in the engine. If the filter fits into your vehicle in a vertical position, then you will find that you can almost fill the filter all the way to the top with motor oil. If the filter sits at an angle then you may not be able to refill quite as much.

Last Step

You have to cautiously screw the new filter back into place. Make sure that you do not cross the threads as you are twisting it into position; tighten it carefully without adding too much pressure. Use your hands to spin the new filter and check that it doesn’t come off. Use a towel or paper to wipe away the extra oil spillages from the filter and pan. If you are still facing difficulty the instructions on the box of your new oil filter should inform you on how exactly you should tighten it and should screw it into place.


This guide is for new drivers or beginners who don’t know how to change oil filter. Now that you have learned how to change your car or truck’s oil filter you don’t have to worry anymore. You won’t also have to worry about your engine being contaminated with dirt and dust. Choosing a good oil filter with excellent features will also be beneficial because it will provide with more options and functions that you can use in various situations. So make sure to choose a good oil filter for your car. Hopefully, this guide will help you to change your best oil filters properly and give you all the details you need to understand how to and where to begin with.

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Angela E. Bouchard
Angela E. Bouchard

Angela E. Bouchard is a writer and blogger as well as the chief editor of Route Vibes. She was grown up in a small neighborhood of Linden Avenue, Orlando, FL. From childhood, she has developed a keen interest to know about everything. Such characteristic helped her to become a passionate writer as she grows up. Before starting at the Route Vibes project, Angela E. Bouchard worked as writer and editor at multiple top-notch blogs and magazines. You can follow her on different social media, including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Instagram, to know more about his work.

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