Step-by-Step Guide: Changing engine oil in 30 minutes

Change engine oil DIY

Changing engine oil regularly would better protect the car engine and have a smoother drive. With the recent high COE prices, many drivers are holding their plans to change cars.

Gone were the good old days where Singapore drivers would change their vehicles when their vehicles reach five years old. Many car owners (including us) intend to drive the car until the end of COE. Hence, it is even more critical to protect the vehicle engine to ensure their vehicle last until the 10th year.

Car servicing is mostly done every 10,000 km. However, many drivers find that the engine starts to be “noisier and not so smooth” after 5000 to 6000km based on our driving experience. Changing engine oil would usually solve the problem, but it will be too earlier and costly to get the car service before the 10,000 km is up. Hence, we have prepared the following DIY guide in changing engine oil that you may want to consider.

There are three items needed for changing engine oil.

  1. Engine oil
  2. Oil extractor
  3. A small empty mineral water bottle.

We use fully synthetic engine oil (attached picture) from Giant supermarket because it is affordable. Online forums were stating that this is low-quality engine oil and rumoured that its viscosity drop after 7000 km. We have no intention of using this for more than 5000 km. You are free to use the engine oil of your choice.

We have been changing engine oil with this brand for the last two years on these models: Jazz, Fits, Accord, Mazda 3, Volvo S60, and Mercedes CLC180.

Most cars that are less than 1600cc will use less than 4 litres of engine oil, and hence one bottle is than enough for most cases. For a vehicle of more than 1600cc, they usually require more than 4 litres so you should be getting two bottles. Check your car manual, mechanic, or online for the engine oil needed for your vehicle.

Do note that this is not a sponsored post and we do not get a commission for stating this brand. Also, this guide is not encouraging drivers to skip their car servicing!!!

Ok! Let's get our hands dirty by changing engine oil!

  1. Purchase an oil extractor (see attached picture) that will suck out the engine oil from your car engine. We purchased it from a hardware store near Lavender for around S$100.
  2. Let your car cool down for 20 minutes if you have just started the car engine. Locate the dipstick (yellow in the picture) for checking the engine oil level and remove it.
Changing engine oil
  1. Set up the oil extractor with one end pushing into the dipstick. Do note that you should not insert the entire suction pipe into the engine. You should measure the tube with the dipstick, and this would give you an indication of how much to push the suction pipe in.
  3. Take note of the amount of engine oil pump out. This amount would give you an indication of how much new engine oil you should put in. Furthermore, this would also give you an indication if your engine “eat black oil”. For example, you last put in 4 litres and only pumps out slightly above 3 litres in the picture. (Note: every ring/section is 1 litre in the picture)
    1. Locate the engine cap and unscrew it to open. This cap usually has an oil logo on it.


  1. You may wonder why an empty mineral water bottle comes into play, and this is the reason. Cut the empty mineral water bottle into half, as shown below. Use a clean tissue to dry up the bottle to ensure that there is no water and we have our funnel.
run out of engine
  1. In our example, we check online that we need 4 litres of engine oil. After pouring 4 litres, we double confirm with the dipstick to ensure that there is a sufficient amount of engine oil in the engine. Ensure the engine oil level is between the two small holes on the dipstick

  3. Pour in the correct amount of engine oil. Screw tight the engine oil cap and put the dipstick back in. Start the engine and to make sure everything is ok. (Notices below how black the engine oil is? The engine oil turns extremely black after the car has driven slightly over 5000km) Once everything is ok, it is time to pack up.
change engine oil

Base on our limited understanding, engine oil is non-biodegradable and is an offence in Singapore not to dispose of it properly. In our case, we would drive to the nearest car workshop in Sin Ming or Kaki Bukit on Sunday to pour the black engine oil into their big drums for proper disposal. We go on Sunday as no one is working and so we will not be charged by the workshop for disposal. Haha!

Changing engine oil is easy, and the whole process takes about 30 minutes. Regularly changing engine oil would better protect your engine and hopefully prolong the lifespan. Besides changing the engine oil, you should change the oil filter if you know how to do it.

Disclaimer: If you are having problems with your vehicle, please consult your friendly mechanic. We are not a car mechanic nor a car service expert, and we will not be responsible for your car even if you follow the above guide in changing engine oil.

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