How to Change the Oil in Your Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

We tend to think of motor oil as just that stuff that keeps everything slick and sliding smoothly inside of a complex machine; but the truth is, it's as much a component of that machine as any piston, gasket or bearing. The molecules in your oil roll like tiny ball bearings between your engine's moving parts. They flex and squish to absorb impact, and they ferry heat away from those parts like a kind of supplemental cooling system. But this vital liquid component can't do any of those jobs very well once its molecules are cooked, broken or mixed in with contaminants -- all the more reason to change it before any of that happens.

Under The Hood:

 How to Change the Oil in a Honda CRF 70

Start the CRF 70F and take it for a short, 5-minute ride. Stop the engine and support the motorcycle on its kickstand. Let the engine cool for another 5 minutes.

Wipe the area around the oil cap, located on the right side of the engine, with a damp shop towel to remove any dirt or dust. Unscrew the oil cap and its attached dipstick from the engine by hand.

Unscrew the drain plug from the bottom right side of the engine crankcase, using a 17 mm socket and socket wrench. Drain the engine oil into a drain pan. Rock the motorcycle from side to side, once the oil flow has reduced to a light trickle.

Pull the sealing washer off of the drain plug threads. Clean the drain plug with a parts cleaning spray, then slip a new sealing washer over the drain plug thread. Screw the drain plug into the engine crankcase by hand, then tighten the drain plug to 18 foot-pounds with a torque wrench.

Unscrew the bolts from the perimeter of the right engine crankcase cover, using a 10 mm socket and a socket wrench. Pull the cover away from the engine crankcase cover to reveal the clutch assembly. Pull the oil screen out from below the clutch assembly by hand.

Spray the oil screen with a parts cleaning spray to remove trapped debris from the screen mesh. Wipe away remaining particles with a shop towel. Push the oil screen into the engine, facing the tapered side of the screen inward.

Reinstall the right engine crankcase cover. Tighten the cover mounting bolts to 7.5 foot-pounds, using a 10 mm socket and a torque wrench.

Pour a half-quart of 10W-40 engine oil into the engine through the oil cap filler neck. Wipe away any spilled oil, then screw the oil cap into place.

Start the motorcycle and let it idle in place for 3 minutes, allowing the oil to circulate through the engine. Stop the engine and let the oil settle for another 3 minutes.

Unscrew the oil cap by hand, then wipe its dipstick clean with a shop towel. Insert the dipstick into the engine until the oil cap is resting against the top of the filler neck, then pull the dipstick out. Add 1 to 2 oz. of 10W-40 engine oil into the engine, if the oil level reading is below the upper level mark imprinted into the dipstick. Wipe the dipstick clean, then screw the oil cap tightly into place by hand.

Items you will need

  • Shop towels

  • 10 and 17 mm sockets

  • Socket wrench

  • Drain pan

  • Parts cleaning spray

  • Sealing washer

  • Torque wrench

  • 1 quart, 10W-40 motorcycle-specific engine oil

 How to Change Oil on a Cadillac CTS

Park your Cadillac CTS on a level area.

Lay under the engine of the Cadillac CTS. Locate the oil drain plug on the back, left side of the engine block. Put the 13mm closed ended wrench on the drain plug and unscrew it. Position the oil drain pan below the oil drain hole and capture all the old oil. Screw the drain plug back in once the oil has drained out.

Locate the oil filtration system. It is on the top of the engine, in front of the oil cap filling lid. The top of the oil filter housing is held on by a 24 mm nut. Unscrew the nut holding the oil filter housing on.

Pull out the old filter. Rub oil around the rubber seal on the top and bottom of the new oil filter. Place the new oil filter in and screw the top of the oil filter housing back on.

Open the oil lid on top of the engine. Pour 5 quarts of oil into the oil fill hole. Check the oil level on the dipstick. Add more oil as needed. Some Cadillac CTS's have 5-quart capacity while some take 6 quarts. Put the oil lid back on when finished.

Items you will need

  • 13 mm socket

  • 24 mm socket

  • Socket wrench

  • Oil drain pan

  • Cadillac CTS oil filter

  • 6 quarts of 5W-30 oil

 How to Change the Oil in a Polaris Ranger XP

Drain Old Oil and Remove Filter

Set a drain pan underneath the oil tank of the Ranger XP and remove the plug from the drain.

Allow the oil to drain completely into the drain pan.

Replace the drain plug and loosen the clamp holding the oil hose.

Remove the oil hose from the screen fitting located on the bottom of the oil tank. Remove the screen fitting and clean it by applying thread sealant to the threads on the fitting.

Install and tighten the fitting. Install the oil hose on the fitting and reinstall the clamp on the oil hose.

Place some rags underneath the oil filter. Use an oil filter wrench and remove the filter. Lubricate the O-ring of the new filter with engine oil.

Install New Oil and Filter

Install the new filter. Turn it by hand until the gasket of the filter contacts the sealing surface, at which point you should turn it another half turn.

Remove the drain plug located on the lower right of the crank case to drain it and reinstall the drain plug. Keep one cup of the engine oil in the crankcase.

Remove the dipstick and fill the tank with two quarts of Polaris Premium 4 Synthetic Oil.

Turn on the ignition, place the Ranger XP in neutral gear and set the parking brake. Prime the oil pump, stop the engine and inspect for leaks.

Check the dipstick to determine the oil level and add the necessary amount of oil to bring the level to the uppermost mark on the dipstick.

Items you will need

  • Drain pan

  • Thread sealant

  • Rags

  • Oil filter wrench

  • Engine oil

  • 2 quarts Polaris Premium 4 Synthetic Oil

  • New filter

 How to Change the Oil on the Mazda B3000

Park the truck on level ground and turn off the engine. Open the hood.

Place a drain pan directly below the drain plug on the underside of the truck. Loosen the drain plug with a socket wrench and allow the oil to drain into the pan. Wait a few minutes to allow all of the oil to drain from the engine.

Close and tighten the drain plug. Open and remove the engine oil cap on the top of the engine by twisting counterclockwise. Place a funnel into the opening.

Pour the engine oil into the funnel. A Mazda B3000 can hold a maximum of 5.7 quarts of oil. Add a few quarts and then check the oil level using the dipstick. Continue adding oil and checking the oil level with the dipstick. Stop adding oil when the level on the dipstick is between the "MIN" and "MAX" marks. Do not overfill, as excessive oil could blow the engine seals and lead to costly repairs.

Remove the funnel and reattach the engine oil cap. Close the hood.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench

  • Drain pan

  • Clean rag

  • SAE 5W-20 engine oil

  • Funnel

 How to Do an Oil Change on a Kia Sedona

Open the hood of the Sedona and remove the engine cover. Use a wrench to remove the metal bolts securing the cover. Set the cover and bolts aside.

Remove the oil fill cap. Set the cap aside somewhere safe. Raise the front of your Sedona with a jack and set a pair of jack stands underneath to support it. Once the jack stands are secure, remove the jack.

Locate the oil drain plug in the oil pan beneath the engine. Position the drain pan beneath the plug and remove the plug with a wrench. Let the oil drain completely from the oil pan. Replace the drain plug and tighten it with a wrench.

Raise the car with the jack and remove the jack stands. Lower the car to the ground. Locate the oil filter on the right side of the engine block, near the rear. Remove the filter with an oil filter wrench. Use the oil filter wrench to remove the top of the filter canister and dump the filter out into the drain pan.

Insert a new filter into the canister and replace the cover. Replace the oil filter canister on the engine block and tighten it with the oil filter wrench. Fill the engine with 5W30 or 10W30 oil. The Sedona will take up to 6 quarts of oil in a full oil change.

Replace the oil fill cover and screw it tightly into place. Replace the engine cover and tighten the retaining bolts with a wrench. Close the hood and test-run the engine, monitoring the oil pressure gauge to be sure it is reading properly.

Items you will need

  • Wrench set

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Drain pan

  • Oil filter wrench

 How to Change the Oil for Force 85 Outboard

Straighten the engine. If the outboard is on an angle, the oil will not drain properly.

Place the oil drain pan under the bottom oil drain plug, located on the underside of the propeller housing. Use a large, flat-head screwdriver to remove the drain plug. After the drain plug is off, remove the vent plug located on the top of the propeller housing. This allows the oil to drain freely.

Allow the oil to drain completely (about 10 minutes). If there is excessive water in the oil, the oil will be milky, and is a sign of lower-unit damage.

Fill the lower unit with oil. The new oil is filled from the drain plug, and outboard oil comes in squeeze tubes to make this process easier. Squeeze the oil into the drain plug until it begins to come out of the top vent plug hole (about 2 quarts). When full, remove the tube nozzle and place your finger over the hole to prevent leaking.

Install the vent plug while holding your finger over the drain hole. Turn it hand-tight to create a vacuum. Quickly remove your finger and replace the drain plug. Using the screwdriver, tighten both plugs snugly. Properly dispose of the used oil.

Items you will need

  • Large flat-head screwdriver

  • Oil drain pan

  • 2 quarts gear oil in nozzle squeeze tubes (SAE 80 or 90 weight, Hi Vis)

 How to Change the Oil in a Piaggio Fly 150

Turn the bike off and place a drain pan under the drain plug.

Use a socket wrench to remove the drain plug. Remove the plug and the retaining ring. Allow the oil to drain into the drain pan.

Use a crescent wrench to remove the micro-filter revealed by removing the drain plug.

Use a crescent wrench to loosen the bolt securing the oil filter to the underside of the bike. Remove the oil filter.

Wipe off the micro-filter with a clean cloth and place it back into the bike. Reattach the drain plug and retaining ring.

Place the new filter into the bike and tighten the bolt to secure it.

Remove the oil cap from the engine. Pour the new oil into the engine. Reattach the oil cap.

Items you will need

  • Drain pan

  • Socket wrench

  • Crescent wrench

  • Oil filter

  • 1.2 liters of 5W40 oil

  • Clean cloth

 How to Change the Oil in Your Car

Park the vehicle on hard, level ground -- preferably concrete -- and allow the engine to idle up to temperature. Hot oil drains faster and more thoroughly than cold oil, so it's important that the engine is at least warm. Turn the engine off. Find the factory jacking points under your car. Ideally, you want to lift the whole front of the car at once, by placing the jack under the front support crossmember, but often these either aren't present or aren't accessible. In these cases, you'll need to lift the car one side at a time, using the jacking points under the chassis, just behind the front wheels. Never put the jack under the engine. Set the jack stands under the jacking points to the rear of the front wheels and lower the vehicle onto them. Never get under a car supported only by a jack.

Pop the hood and find the oil filler cap. It's typically located on the top front of the engine, on or near one of its valve covers. Remove the cap. Don your gloves and safety glasses. Crawl underneath with a couple of rags and and your tools, and find the oil drain bolt on the engine oil pan. Be sure you're looking at the engine oil drain bolt and not the transmission drain bolt. They're easy to confuse on vehicles with the engine mounted sideways.

Place a drain pan under the drain bolt, and remove the bolt by first loosening it counterclockwise with a ratchet and the appropriate socket or bit, and then unscrewing it the rest of the way by hand, but be careful. Be ready to move quickly to drop the bolt into a rag -- the oil may be hotter than you think. Take the bolt out from under the car and clean it with a clean rag while the oil drains. Some vehicles, like Volkswagens and BMWs, require a new drain bolt or gasket every time you change the oil. Reuse the gasket on one of these vehicles and there's a good possibility the gasket will leak. If you see a rubber or plastic gasket on the bolt, call a factory dealer service department to double-check that you don't need a new one.

Reinstall the bolt after the oil has finished draining. It's a good idea to look up your engine's oil drain plug torque requirement, since some engines are more sensitive to proper plug torque than others. Most mechanics default to about 15 to 20 foot-pounds of torque, or just "snug" with a standard ratchet. They're very easy to strip, so don't go wild. Slide your oil drain pan under the oil filter for the next step.

Spin-On Filter Removal: Use a strap oil filter wrench or an application-specific oil filter socket to turn the oil filter counterclockwise and remove it. Oil filter sockets are convenient, even required, in some applications, where only the bottom of the filter canister is visible or accessible. Again, while spinning the filter off and taking it loose, oil will probably flow -- down your arm if you're not ready for it. Upend the filter into the drain pan.

Spin-On Filter Installation: Clean the flat filter mating surface on the block with a lint-free rag. Do the same with the threads on the filter mount. Use your finger to spread a thin coat of clean engine oil around the rubber sealing ring on the new filter. Screw the new filter onto the engine by hand until the gasket makes contact. Tighten it another three-quarters of a turn. Don't over-tighten it.

Canister- or Element-Style Filter Removal: Many vehicles, notably German cars, use a bare filter element tucked into a cylindrical housing with a removable cap. Some are accessible from the top, others from the bottom. If your canister-style filter faces down, you'll likely see a pressure-release valve in the middle of the cap. Push it up to drain the canister oil out before you remove the cap. Most caps use a protruding, cast-in nut or hex-fitting. Simply slip the appropriate-sized socket over this fitting, and use a ratchet and extension to break the cap loose and unscrew it. The filter element will usually come out with the cap; if not, reach into the filter housing and pull it out.

Canister- or Element-Style Filter Installation: Generally speaking, these kinds of filters require a new rubber O-ring on the cap; it should come with the new filter element. Pop the old ring off the cap, lubricate the new one with a bit of engine oil, and install it in the ring groove on the cap. Likewise lubricate both sealing ends of the filter element, and then either plug it into the cap, or push it down into the housing, depending on how it came out. Tighten the cap down just snug, but do not over-tighten it. These canisters and caps are usually plastic, and they tend to strip or break easily. Volkswagen calls for 16 foot-pounds of torque for the oil filter cap on its 2.0-liter TSI engine, for example. That's a fairly typical range for these setups.

Pull the dipstick out and clean it off. Refill the engine with the prescribed amount oil through the oil filler cap, using a clean funnel. It will likely read above the "Full" mark on the dipstick at this point. Look under the vehicle for leaks around the drain plug. Lower the vehicle to the ground, start the engine and allow it to run for 30 seconds. After 30 seconds, shut the engine down, and wait for two minutes while the engine oil drains back to the oil pan. This is necessary for an accurate level reading. While you're waiting, check again for leaks around the drain plug and filter; a flashlight can be handy here. Check your oil level again, and add as necessary to bring the level to the "Full" mark. You'll likely also need to reset your factory oil change or service reminder; you should find the information in your owner's manual, online, or from a quick call to your local dealer.

Items you will need

  • Floor Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Protective gloves and safety glasses or goggles

  • Ratchet

  • Socket set

  • Extension -- by application

  • Oil filter socket or wrench -- by application

  • Drain pan

  • Engine oil -- amount, type and weight by application

  • New oil filter or filter element -- by application

  • New filter O-ring or oil drain pan bolt gasket -- by application

  • Torque wrench

  • Clean, lint-free rags

 How to Change the Oil in a 2003 Mitsubishi Outlander

Park the Mitsubishi Outlander on level ground and open the hood. Allow the engine to cool before proceeding to avoid serious burns.

Raise the front driver side of the frame off the ground using a car jack. Place a jack stand under the frame behind the front wheel and lower the frame onto the jack stand.

Get under the engine on the driver side and position the oil catch pan under the drain nut on the bottom of the oil pan. Remove the drain nut using a ratchet and 1/4-inch socket.

Drain the oil into the oil catch pan. Replace the nut on the bottom of the oil pan. Pull the cover off the oil filter and remove the oil filter with an oil filter wrench. Place the new filter onto the oil pump and tighten it until it is snug.

Remove the catch pan from under the engine and raise the front end of the Outlander off the jack stand. Remove the jack stand from under the frame and lower the SUV to the ground.

Turn the oil cap on the top of the engine counterclockwise and remove it. Insert the funnel into the hole and pour the 4 1/2 quarts of engine oil into the engine. Remove the funnel and start the engine. Check the oil level and add oil if needed. Replace the cap and close the hood.

Items you will need

  • Car jack

  • Jack stand

  • Oil catch pan

  • Ratchet

  • Socket, 1/4 inch

  • Oil filter wrench

  • Oil filter

  • Funnel

  • 10W40 engine oil, 4 1/2 quarts

 How to Change Oil in Porsche 911

Jack up the car using a floor jack and place the car securely on jack stands at all four corners using the factory jacking points.

Place an oil container under the oil drain plug of the motor.

Using an 8-mm allen socket, remove the drain plug at the bottom of the oil pan.

Let the oil drain thoroughly--this will take about 20 to 25 minutes.

Once all the oil is drained from the engine, install a new drain plug along with a new aluminum sealing washer. Tighten the drain plug to 37 lbs using a torque wrench.

The oil filter cartridge is located in front of the oil pan on the right side. With an oil filter removal wrench, unscrew and remove the cartridge. Be careful of spilling oil.

Install a new oil filter cartridge and O-ring. Before installation, run a bead of oil around the O-ring to lubricate it. Torque the oil filter cartridge to 19 lbs.

Pour new oil into the oil filler neck located in the engine bay. 1998 to 2001 911s (996) take 8.5 quarts, and 2004 and up take 8.25 quarts. Newer 911s (997) take 9 quarts. When filling the engine with oil, pour in 8 quarts and then use the dipstick to get the amount of oil exact.

Lower the car off the jackstands.

Items you will need

  • 8-mm allen drive

  • Ratcheting wrench

  • Oil filter wrench

  • 8.5 to 9 quarts of oil

  • New oil filter cartridge

  • New drain plug and aluminum sealing ring

  • Floor jack

  • Jackstands

 How to Change the Oil in a Polaris FST

Slide or push the snowmobile onto a level, even surface. Check the Polaris snowmobile's front panel display and review its coolant temperatures. The temperature should be between 145 degrees and 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is below 145 degrees F, turn the ignition key and run the engine on idle until the temperature is between the two aforementioned ranges. Turn the ignition key to the "Off" position to shut down the engine.

Open the front hood of the Polaris FST snowmobile. Lift up and remove the plastic side panel on the left side of the engine compartment.

Put an oil drain pan on the floor. Disconnect the oil return hose, a rubber tube connected to the plastic oil tank. Place the end of the hose into the drain pan to allow the old oil to drain out. It may take up to 30 minutes for all of the oil to drain.

Change the oil filter while waiting for the oil to drain. Take off the oil filter cap, found on the left side of the engine compartment, and slide out the oil filter. Insert a new oil filter and turn the oil filter cap to tighten it.

Reconnect the oil return hose and remove the oil dipstick from the oil tank. Wipe the dipstick with a clean rag. Pour two quarts of engine oil into the oil tank and insert the dipstick back into the tank. Turn the snowmobile's ignition key and run the Polaris FTS snowmobile's engine on idle for five minutes to bring the temperature back between 145 degrees and 160 degrees F.

Turn off the engine. Remove the dipstick and look at the oil levels by checking the oil marks on the stick against the stick's engraved level measurements. Add more oil to the tank until the oil levels match the dipstick's recommended marking.

Place the plastic panel back over the engine compartment. Push down to lock into place. Close the Polaris snowmobile's hood. Resume use of the vehicle.

Items you will need

  • Performance Synthetic 4-Stroke oil

  • Polaris FST oil filter

  • Oil drain pan

  • Rag