Knowing how to change your oil is important for any driver or vehicle owner. MVD Express in Albuquerque knows that having your engine oil at good levels, increases car performance, reduces need for maintenance and helps your vehicle last longer.


Oil should be changed on a regular basis. Most mechanics recommend you change it every 3,000 miles or every three months, however, many cars can go 5,000 miles or more in between oil changes. We recommend you always check your owner’s manual for more information on how many miles your vehicle can go between oil changes.

Items you need for a DIY Oil Change

MVD Express in Albuquerque is going to walk you through the steps of how to change your car’s oil. First you will want to gather your tools and materials:

  • New oil filter – different cars required different sized filters. Your car manual should list what size you will need.
  • Oil – you need to have enough oil to refill your engine after you drain it. Most vehicles need around four to five quarts of oil. You also want to make sure you are using the correct grade of oil, which can be found in your car manual.
  • Oil filter wrench – this is an attachment that fits on the end of a socket wrench and helps you get the filter off if it is screwed on too tight.
  • Socket wrench set – this is needed to unscrew the drain plug and can the oil filter.
  • Something to catch the old oil – when the old oil drains, you will need a pan or bucket, or anything really, that you can let it drain into. It does not have to be new or fancy.
  • A funnel – this makes pouring the oil in much easier and with less mess.
  • Old rags – changing oil is dirty work, this will help you keep your hands and work area clean.
  • Car ramp – you can use anything to elevate the front of the car off the ground so you can work underneath it.

Once you have the items needed for changing your oil, you can begin.

Steps for Changing your Oil

In just eleven quick steps, your vehicle will have new oil and be running better than before.

  1. Warm up your vehicle – start your engine, go around the block a couple of times and make sure that your car is warmed up enough. You can test this by running the heater, if it is warm then you are ready to drain the oil.
  2. Park your car on a flat surface or on the car ramp and turn off the vehicle. For added safety you can add blocks behind the back tires.
  3. Open the hood and remove the oil filler cap.
  4. Remove the oil plug – this is found underneath your car. You will need a wrench for this.
  5. Drain the oil. Once the plug is removed, the oil will begin to drain. Use your pan from the materials listed to catch this oil. It should take around 2 minutes.
  6. Remove the oil filter. Make sure you have the drip pan underneath it when you do remove it, as it can often stream oil.
  7. Install the new oil filter. Use a small amount of new oil to grease the gasket ring so it will fit better against the engine. Some oil filters come with instructions.
  8. Replace the oil plug. Once you have the plug tight, you can get out from under your vehicle and can remove the pan.
  9. Add oil to the engine. Using your funnel, fill your car up with the new oil. Screw on the oil cap and shut the car’s hood when finished.
  10. Let the car run before driving away. This will help the engine regain proper oil pressure and you can check for leaks.
  11. Dispose of the old oil. Do NOT dump motor oil in a sewer or trash can. Take it to a proper disposal location.

Now your oil is changed and you are ready to hit the open road!

MVD Express in Albuquerque, NMcares about your safety on the road and the first step to being safe is to have a valid driver’s license and know how to maintain your vehicle’s performance. By regularly maintaining your vehicle, you are keeping you and your fellow New Mexicans safe when you share the road. Changing your oil on your own will save you money and will inform you on your vehicle’s health.