Tuxlee Shares His Oil Change Tips

oil change tips

Hey, Tuxlee here. I’ve traveled to tons of Advance stores and automotive events, and one thing people always ask me about is changing their own oil. (My parents say I’ve done so many oil changes since I was a puppy that it turned my fur jet black—it’s a small badge of honor to me actually). I also hang out with some pretty knowledgeable people, and I’ve picked up a few tips over the years that will make your next DIY oil change a breeze, whether it’s your first time or if you’re on your 70th bottle.

My first tip is to buy a good pair of latex or nitrile gloves to keep your paws hands nice and clean. With the oil type, you have a few options on whether to go conventional, synthetic blend, or full synthetic (there’s also high mileage varations). I suggest you first stick with your car’s recommended oil viscosity—this is usually printed on your engine’s oil cap, or if not then in your owner’s manual—and then go from there. Conventional oil gets the job done, but synthetic oil lasts longer and performs better under heat and cold. I like both types, so you can read more about it here to see what works better for you.

Oil Change Tools and Supplies

Alright, you have your oil. You’ll need a few other supplies, all of which are sold at your local Advance store. P.S. You can get awesome deals on oil filters when you buy one of our oil change specials!

While you’re in the store, grab a free reminder decal to record the date and mileage of your next expected oil change. Or write it down in your car maintenance journal like I do.

•Oil filter
(Regular filters go with conventional oil, heavier duty filters pair better with synthetic oil)

•Oil filter wrench
(Some can get by using their hands or an old belt, but this is good to have)

•Oil drain plug gasket or crush washer
(Keeps leaky drips away)

•Oil drain pan
(So your oil doesn’t end up all over the driveway)

•Wrench for drain plug
(Look in your owner’s manual to find the size you need)

(For a smooth, no-mess pour. Trust me you’re going to need this)

(To wipe off old oil and keep things neat)

•Safety glasses
(I don’t like barking out orders, but safety first!)

(Unless you want to look like a black Yorkipoo)

Oil Change Steps

Now you’re ready to give your car some tender love and oil!

1. Securely raise your vehicle on ramps or jack-stands (use a jack lift for the latter). Makes sure to put blocks behind your tires. If you can safely get under your vehicle without needing to raise it, then go for it.

oil change tips2. Warm up the engine for a couple minutes to get the oil warm (but not too long or the oil will be hot). Raise your hood and open the oil cap on top of your engine to let the old oil drain faster.

3. Get under the car and position your drain pan under the oil plug (account for the initial stream of oil shooting out further than directly under the plug).

4. Using your wrench, loosen the plug a few turns. Then finish loosening the plug with your hand, quickly pulling it away when the oil is starting to drain out. Be careful of hot motor oil (gloves help in this case).

5. Wipe the drain plug while the oil drains and inspect it for bent or broken threads. Replace the sealing washer if cracked or worn, or use a new metal crush washer if needed.

6. After the oil has drained (give it 10-30 minutes for a good drain if you have the time), wipe away oil residue from the oil pan and put the drain plug back in. Tighten it firmly, but don’t overdo it. Your owner’s manual will have the exact torque required.

Do me (and other animals) a favor, clean up oil leaks and don’t dispose of oil in your yard, streams, or waste-water drains. Your favorite Advance store will safely dispose of your used oil for free! Available at most of our 3,500 stores (unless prohibited by law).

7. Reposition your drain pan by the oil filter and remove it using your oil filter wrench (or hand if it will budge). Some wrenches work from the end, while others wrap around the filter.

8. If your filter still won’t budge, puncture it with a screwdriver at its lowest point to drain, then use the same screwdriver to spin off the filter. A little more oil will come out when you spin off the filter, so have your rags handy.

9. Apply a film of clean oil to the top of the new filter gasket. Then spin the filter on using only your hand. Go ¾ of a turn after you feel the gasket make contact with the engine after spinning it on.

oil change tips10. Double check the filter and drain plug for tightness, then fill your engine with the recommended viscosity and amount of motor oil. (Again, your owner’s manual will provide this).

11. Determine your oil level using the dipstick, then check for any leaks. Start the engine and check for leaks again. Bring used motor oils to Advance for proper disposal or recycling.

Well, that’s a wrap. You can now safely do your own oil change or you learned some tips. Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?!

Find satisfaction in knowing you’re taking good care of your car. Your car will be sure to return the favor! For more oil change tips and a helpful video, click here


  1. Rasmus Erdal says:

    Nicely done explanation of the process. Safe and logical.

  2. Twice in my life and once in my neighbors which caused his daughter to loose an engine this story happened at an oil change store. The oil gasket from the filter stayed on the engine block. Always clean the surface and check for the old gasket. A reputable shop offered an oil change for such a good promotion price I could not pass it up. Older car so I thought the dripping was just from age. Well It was not, they left the old gasket on the block so I had double on there. Hence the leak.
    Thought this was worth the warning for newer Do It Yourselfers.

  3. Regarding oil-change procedure for beginners: It might be wise to mention that when removing the old oil filter, make sure its rubber gasket is still intact. If the gasket is not on the old filter you removed, you can bet it is still attached to the car…so remove it! If you don’t, placing a new filter and gasket on top of the existing gasket, unknowingly, will result in oil leakage which could be a real problem down the road, figuratively and literally! And, pour fresh oil into the new filter before attaching to the car. This will eliminate a “dry start” the first time you start the engine after the oil change. Quick change facilities skip this step. If, for example, your vehicle required 5 quarts of oil, some of that oil will go into your new filter….and the rest directly into the engine. Obviously, if your filter fits with the gasket end facing downward, you will not be able to add oil to the filter.

  4. I position a large piece of discarded cardboard under the vehicle, which provides 2 functions: 1. it absorbs oil than somehow doesn’t find its way to the drain pan, keeping your driveway or garage floor clean; 2. when you are under the vehicle, your clothing will slide easier on cardboard than cement, and keep your clothing clean.

  5. Stuart Harnden says:

    Missed one VERY important step…make sure the OLD oil filter gasket comes off when removing the oil filter. Oftentimes it sticks to the engine. It will not allow the new oil filter to seal properly if it isn’t removed.

  6. I leave the drain plug out when removing the old filter as many engines will drain additional oil into the oil pan. Also clean the oil filter mount obviously removing the old rubber gasket if it is stuck there. VERY IMPORTANT:
    Since most filters are mounted vertically, fill the filter with oil before installing it. This will cut down on the dry start time greatly. Even if the filter is mounted sideways or inverted you can still saturate it with oil and leave only as much oil in it as you can without making a mess installing it.

  7. Keep the oil cap on before you loosen the drain plug. If you take the drain plug out with the cap still on this will prevent the surge of oil from happening. After plug is off then take cap off to let the oil drain.

  8. Thanks guys ( John, Barry, Buck, Stuart, & Kal)!!! Your comments are all taken to heart, and very much appreciated. I have decided to do my own oil changes after becoming frustrated with shop incompetence, escalating charges, and the time wasted in scheduling and waiting. You all have helped make this novice (woman) feel better about successfully tackling this job independently at home. 🙂

  9. Hard learned lesson. Never do anything to destroy the integrity of the oil filter by penetrating it with a screw driver or some other lever type tool to help remove the filter. The cans are made of thin metal and will rip apart, resulting in a major repair or partial disassembly of the engine. Did this once in my life, major pain.

    On a top mounted filter, a trick to keep the engine clean from oil coming from the filter as you remove it is to 1) slightly loosen the filter to insure it will come off and 2) punch the filter with a screw driver on the top and this will allow the oil to drain into the oil pan. After the oil drains, you can remove the filter without any oil spilling. Have a 1988 RX-7 with this type of filter setup and the engine is very clean

  10. Karen,
    If you do not or can not pre-fill your filter (a lot of people don’t) – be sure to check the oil level (using the dip stick) AFTER you have started the engine. Depending on your filter size you can be up to a quart low once the engine has been started and the filter is pumped full of oil.

  11. Don’t reuse the drain plug washer. They’re cheap and some are one time only use.

  12. replacing vehicle engine oil can be a tough job if it is a new vehicle or one that has been done by a lube shop/ dealership.

    Yes I have used the screw driver method to remove an oil filter on my new never serviced GM sedan .. I did get it off . never had that problem again because I did not over torque it. same problem is the drain plugs are torqued so high the threads get damaged . just another reason to do these jobs yourself.
    before draining the oil drive the vehicle and get the engine up to temp. this is to remove all the sludge.
    Then allow at least 30-45 min for drain it does take that long. synthetic oil saves on gas and cost on oil changes . you use the synthetic media filters like the wix XP series good for 15 K miles.
    conventional costs more on cash and your time. I do 10-15K miles a year , change oil once a year.
    if I used conventional I would have to do it 4 times a year and then deal with extra sludge wear issues compared to synthetics.

  13. Michael W Conway says:

    One thing i didn’t notice being mentioned is when the plug and filter are being removed is the “righty tighty lefty loosey”… So turn them counter clockwise to remove the filter and the plug. Also it wasn’t mentioned if you do notice a small leak on either of the plug or filter to turn them a 1/4 turn more. But never over tighten or the money you saved by doing your own oil change will be gone in a heart beat when you have to get it fixed or the time spent by doing it your self.

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