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How To Jack Up A Car To Change Oil: 5 Steps Guide

You might agree that one of the most intimidating jobs is to jack up your car on your own and change the oil. No worries, we will talk comprehensively about how to jack up a car to change oil throughout the article.

You must first jack up your vehicle and locate the oil filter. Once that's done, unscrew the oil pan to allow the old oil to be drained out of the engine. After draining is complete, install a new oil filter and replace the old oil with the new oil. Replace the oil cap, and see if there's any evidence of leakage.

We're going to go through everything in a step-by-step manner to ensure that you understand it well.

Before changing the oil, you need to jack up your car. And there are some steps you can take to ensure you do it safely and effectively.

Step 1: Find the Jack Points

To raise your vehicle, you must find the jack point on each side. Mostly there’re points behind the front wheel and in front of the back wheels. Rarely you’ll find two extra central jack points situated behind the front and rear bumpers.

If you can’t find the spot, search for “jack” labeled on the undercarriage.

Step 2: Place the Jack

After you’ve successfully found the points, position the jack under them. It doesn't have to be perfectly straight because you can move it until it touches the car.

Step 3: Lift the Jack

To do this accurately, you'll need to know the type of jack that you have. Hydraulic types are generally easier to use than scissors because they can be raised quickly with a single hand.

Use a hydraulic jack, if possible, as it's designed specifically for this purpose and will provide more stability when jacking up a vehicle.

5 steps of jacking up the car

Step 4: Lift the Car

When the jack contacts the bottom of your car, it will be more difficult to lift it up. Well, you’ve to pull the jack-up until you see that the corner of your vehicle is off the ground. Pull as hard as you can until you have enough room to complete your mission.

Step 5: Use Jack Stands or Ramps

This might sound like a no-brainer, but if you're doing anything that requires you to put any part of your body under the car calls for jack stands. You can also use ramps, which are better for supporting the car’s weight because they are wider and more stable than regular jacks. However, without jack stands, it is dangerous to work under the vehicle.

5 Steps To Change Oil From A Car

Before you begin, read the owner’s manual to locate the oil pan. Also, ensure that you know where the engine’s oil is before loosening any drains.

Step 1: Locate Oil Filter

The oil filter looks like a metal cylinder that sticks out of the engine. If you can’t locate it, use a flashlight and look under your car and around the engine compartment. It may be covered by a plastic or metal cap, so look carefully if you can’t see it immediately. This is also where you will find your oil filter.

Step 2: Loose Oil Pan’s Bolt

Loosen the bolt on your oil pan using a wrench; it's possible to remove it using your fingers. Then use a container to capture the oil as it drips from the pan. As a result, the oil will begin to flow freely into the collection container within a few minutes.

Step 3: Remove Oil Filter

During the oil draining process, go back to the oil filter location and rotate it in a counterclockwise motion to remove the filter.

Though removing the oil filter by hand is possible, you can use a wrench to unloose it.

Change Oil From A Car

Step 4: Install New Filter

Take the new oil filter and do the installation by twisting it clockwise. While installing the new filter, you may see some oil leaking. This is typical. However, the oil filter must not be overtightened.

Step 5: Pour New Oil

When you're replacing the old oil with new oil, always use a funnel and measure out the correct amount. Of course, you may find this information in the owner's manual for your vehicle.

You'll need to install the oil cap and turn on the engine when you're done. Let your car stay idle for a few minutes. Finally, check the oil level with a dipstick and ensure there are no leaks on the ground.

Which One is Safe: Jack Stand or Ramps?

When it comes to lifting a vehicle, you've got two options. You could either use jack stands or ramps. So, which one is safe?

Jack Stands

They are compact and smaller, suitable for use in tight places. If you’re out of space in your garage, they are the best option you can get your hands on. You can place them under your car’s jack points and lift them up.

However, they usually need to be adjusted before you can use them. If you don't do it correctly or the jack stand isn't strong enough, the whole thing could collapse and crush you or your car.


It is quicker and more efficient to use ramps than jack stands. There is absolutely no likelihood of using ramps incorrectly because they are broader than tires. Moreover, you won't need additional stands, and ramps are less expensive than jack stands.

That being said, ramps must be used on level ground at all times. If they're not level with each other, especially when using two ramps, the car may tip over and cause damage or injury to anyone nearby!

Final Verdict

Jacking up your car and changing the oil isn't rocket science, but it requires caution and good judgment. Don't forget to read your owner's manual before jacking up any vehicle. You should also watch out for the safety devices on your car, such as the electronic stability control (ESC), which will automatically kick in if it detects the wrong angle of lift or roll.

In the end, we hope that you’ve learned enough about how to jack up a car to change oil. Best of luck!

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