How to change your oil yourself

Changing your car oil is easier than it sounds and could also save you money in the long term. It shouldn't take longer than 45 minutes – just make sure that you follow your manufacturer's specific instructions and safety directions.

Firstly, choose the ideal oil for your car from the Shell Helix range by clicking here or using our Shell LubeMatch tool here. Then check you have the necessary tools.

You'll need:

  • Shell Helix Engine Oil (4 or 5 litres - check owner's manual)
  • New oil filter - check owner's manual
  • Safety glasses and rubber gloves
  • Plastic container and funnel
  • Car jack and jack stands
  • Drain plug socket wrench
  • Paper towels and a rag
  • Oil filter wrench

What you have to do:

1. Prepare your car

The car should be on a level surface with the parking brake on and engine off, leaving the oil to cool for a few minutes. If you need space under the car, jack it up and use jack stands to support it. Jacks on their own are very unstable – never get under your car without using jack stands. You could also put something underneath the engine to prevent spilling oil onto the ground.

2. Unscrew the oil cap

Locate the oil cap (check with the manual to locate it) and unscrew it. This is very important, as a vacuum will not allow all the oil to drain out.

3. Locate the oil drain plug

Get underneath the car and locate the oil drain plug. This is a lone bolt at the bottom of the oil sump.

4. Place the container

Place a container big enough to hold the oil beneath the oil drain plug and unscrew the plug, being careful not to let it fall into the container. Do not come in contact with the oil – it can be extremely hot.

5. Drain out the old oil

Allow all the oil to drain out. This can take several minutes.

6. Locate the oil filter

Locate the old oil filter with the help of your car’s owner manual. It should be identical to the one you are replacing it with.

7. Remove the old oil filter

Turn the filter wrench anti-clockwise to loosen the oil filter. The filter may be full of oil so take care not to spill any.

8. Prepare the new filter

Clean up the filter seat on the engine and place a light coating of oil on the gasket of the new filter.

9. Install the new filter

Carefully screw the new filter into place by hand, making sure it is not over-tight. Screw back in the oil drain plug and tighten it with the wrench.

10. Fill up with oil

Using the funnel, carefully fill the engine with Shell Helix, avoiding spillages. Measure the oil level with the dipstick after every two litres filled.

11. Check the level is correct

When you have reached the correct level, replace the oil cap. Turn on the engine for ten minutes and then off again. Check the oil level with the dipstick once again - if the level is low, add more oil.

12. Clean up

Clean up all oil spillages on your engine and check for any leaks from the drain plug.

13. Properly dispose of the old oil and filter

Used oil is highly toxic and must never be disposed of with domestic waste. It's illegal to pour used oil into the sewage network. Put your used oil in a sealed container and label it. Then take it to an auto repair centre, service station or recycling centre. Most places will accept used oil for free.