Do I Need To Jack Up My Car For An Oil Change?

An oil change is absolutely necessary if you want to keep your vehicle running in perfect condition. The oil change must be done after every 3000 miles making it a very frequent job for people who drive their vehicle a lot. It can be a real hassle for you if you have no idea whether you should or should not jack your car up for an oil change.

In this article, we will discuss in detail if you need to jack your car up for an oil change. We will also discuss why do you need an oil change and how to do it.

Do You Need To Jack Up Your Car For An Oil Change?

The process of changing engine oil requires a good amount of space between the underbelly of the car and the ground. You need to have complete access to the oil pan and oil filter for a successful oil change.

You have to jack up your car depending on the ground clearance it can offer. If you want to change the oil of an SUV or a pickup truck, then jacking up your car might not be necessary as they have plenty of ground clearance.

On the other hand, a sedan or a coupe generally does not have enough clearance for properly accessing the oil pan and the oil filter. So, you’ll need to jack it up in order to gain additional ground clearance and working space.

It is definitely recommended to jack up your car for an oil change if you are doing it for the first time. Besides, a lack of space under the car can be very hard to deal with because you need to remove the oil plug and the oil filter. Lack of proper visual contact can stall the oil-changing process as well. Moreover, it can cause disturbance to claustrophobic people.

You can use a ramp or a jack to secure enough ground clearance. But, using a ramp can be troublesome and it can take up quite a lot of space to store in your garage. That is why using a car jack to lift up the car is a much better option. A car jack is easy to operate and takes up a small area to store in your garage.

Why Do You Need An Oil Change?

An oil change helps to flush out any dirt, dust, or grime accumulated inside of your engine. Sludge buildup inside of the engine of a car is one of the most common issues. It can easily be solved by replacing the engine oil. Changing oil also helps the engine to run more smoothly and gives you a jerk-free ride.

Moreover, changing the oil on a regular basis can help to improve engine efficiency, improve gas mileage, and help to prolong the lifespan of your engine by reducing wear and tear.

How To Perform An Oil Change?

Believe it or not, you can change the oil of your car very easily all by yourself if you properly follow some simple steps. The steps by following which you can change oil are:

Step 1: Lifting The Car

First of all, give yourself enough room and lift your car up as you will be spending most of your time underneath it. You can use a car jack or a car ramp for lifting the car. After doing so, remove the plastic undertray (if your car has any) and reveal the oil pan. The oil pan will have a drain plug which can be unscrewed by rotating it counterclockwise.

Step 2: Draining The Old Oil

Take a large bucket and place it directly below the oil pan. After that, carefully unfasten the drain plug and let the old oil pour into the bucket. Drain the old oil from the oil pan for about five minutes.

Step 3: Replacing The Old Oil Filter

You have now successfully drained your old engine oil. Next, it is time for you to replace your old oil filter. It will be cylindrical in shape and will be situated near the oil pan. Gently unfasten the oil filter by rotating it counterclockwise and let the remaining oil flow out from the old filter.

Step 4: Installing New Oil Plug & Filter

It is now time to fasten the oil plug and the new oil filter. Make sure to install the new filter with the rubber gasket on. You may need to use a washer for properly sealing the drain plug. After properly securing the drain plug and the filter, fill your car back up with compatible engine oil.

What Type Of Car Jack To Use?

The car jack is a device that helps to lift up a section of your car. It is used in order to gain easy access to the underbelly of the car. Mechanical jacks and hydraulic jacks are two fundamental types of car jacks.

The most commonly used car jacks for lifting cars are:

1. Scissor Jack

Scissor jack is widely used because of its lightweight and portability. It is a type of mechanical car jack. A long threaded screw runs through the middle of the jack. Rotating the screw clockwise helps to close the scissor mechanism and produce a lift. Opposingly, rotating the screw counterclockwise opens up the scissor mechanism and lowers the lift.

2. Bottle Jack

Bottle jacks are a type of hydraulic car jack. It uses fluid compression method for generating lift. Because of their narrow and small construction, bottle jacks can be used in confined spaces. Moving the handle of a bottle jack in upstroke motion extends its main piston and produces lift.

Make sure to place the jack on a flat surface before lifting objects as it can be unstable because of its narrow shape.

3. Floor Jack

The floor jack is also a type of hydraulic jack. It is used to lift up vehicles that do not have good ground clearance. Bottle jack and floor jack work based on the same principle. You can operate a floor jack with your feet as well.


From the above discussion, we can certainly conclude that you need to jack up your car if you want to change oil comfortably and safely. Make sure to note down the curb weight of your car and choose a jack that is rated to safely lift the weight of your car.

Do not forget to lift the car along its jacking points because not doing so can permanently damage the car frame.

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