How to Change Your Oil Filter

What does an oil filter do?

Your car’s oil filter helps to sift out contaminants from your engine oil, which can accumulate over time.

Since your engine oil passes through so many important parts of your engine, any contaminants can wear out these vital components, so it’s important that your oil stays clean.

How often to change oil filter?

How often you’ll need to replace your oil filter will depend on your vehicle’s make, model, and age. While older classic cars will typically need a new oil filter around every 3,000 miles, improvements in modern vehicles mean you shouldn’t need to change a newer car’s oil filter until it’s clocked at least 6,000 miles, or after 6 months.

It’s also recommended that you change your oil filter every time you replace your oil, and vice versa.

Step-by-step guide to changing your oil filter

Please note: This is a generic process, and you may not be able to follow these exact steps for your make and model. Always consult your owner’s manual information specific to your vehicle.

Before you begin

Make sure you have the right oil for your car. Your owner’s manual will tell you what oil type you need, or you can use our online tool.

You must not dispose of old oil or oil filters in standard waste bins. You can find your nearest recycling point here.

What you’ll need

  • A new oil filter (specific to your vehicle model)
  • New engine oil (specific to your vehicle model)
  • Something to catch the old oil (a drain pan or container)
  • A jack and axle stands (if needed)
  • Socket set or spanners
  • Oil filter spanner
  • Sump plug seal
  • Sump plug (if recommended by the manufacturer)
  • Clean cloths
  • Disposable gloves

Step 1: Warm your engine

Warm oil is easier to drain and will capture more contaminants, so leave your engine running for a few minutes.

We’d also recommend using an oil flush at this stage, like the Wynns Engine Flush, to remove any deposits or build-ups.

Park on a level surface ready to begin.

Step 2: Locate your oil filter

Your oil filter will be accessible either from underneath the car or within the engine bay – your vehicle’s Haynes manual will have this information.

If your oil filter is underneath the car, you may need to jack the car up to access it.

Step 3: Drain your oil

Important: wear protective gloves for the duration of this process

Place your drain pan or container beneath the oil sump plug.

Loosen the sump plug with a spanner and remove, then allow the oil to drain completely. Take care as the oil may be hot if the engine was running for a while.

As best practice to prevent leaks, we recommend you replace the sump plug seal every time.

Some manufacturers (such as VW) also recommend fitting a new sump plug after every oil change. If your manufacturer doesn’t specify this, check the condition of your sump plug and replace if needed.

With the oil drained, you can now re-tighten the plug. Some manufacturers have a torque setting that must be followed.

Step 4: Change the oil filter

Remove the old filter using the oil filter spanner.

Ensure that the old filter seal is removed.

Coat the seal of the new filter with fresh engine oil to lubricate, then tighten it into place by hand. Some filters are contained within a cartridge and so will need to be tightened using a spanner.

Step 5: Refill your oil

Top up your engine oil under the bonnet to the level specified in your owner’s manual. Make sure you use the right oil type for your car, specified by the manufacturer. Again, this can be found in your owner’s manual.

Run your engine for a few moments to allow the oil to circulate. The oil light should go out once the oil has moved around the engine and filled the new filter. Check for any leaks during this time.

Stop the engine and allow a few moments for the oil to settle back into the sump, before checking your oil level to make sure you’ve put enough in. If your vehicle doesn’t have a dipstick under the bonnet, you can check the oil level display on your dashboard.

Halfords oil and filter change

With the right tools, changing your oil and filter is a simple job. However, if you’d rather leave the work to us, you can book in for an oil and filter change at your local Halfords store.

We’ll drain the old oil and replace it with new oil to your manufacturer specification, as well as replacing your oil filter, to keep your car performing at its best.

How long does oil and filter change take?

Depending on your car, an oil and filter change can usually be completed in around 45 minutes.

How much for an oil and filter change?

Again, this will depend on your vehicle make and model, as different cars require different oil grades and filters. Enter your vehicle registration number and chosen garage to be shown the full price for your vehicle here.