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Oil Change Tips

The general oil changing tips below are not vehicle specific and should be used in conjunction with the appropriate workshop manual.















With a Fumoto oil drain valve, your hands are away from where the oil pours out.  Less danger of scalding or splashing.




With a Fumoto oil drain valve, you do not need to find the right tool to drain the oil - it is operated by your thumb by a simple lift and turn action.

No need for replacement washers with a Fumoto oil drain valve.

Better still replace your sump plug with a Fumoto oil drain valve!









Less mess with a drain valve.  The nipple type even allows to connect the valve to a suitable container with an hose.







Due to the simple thumb-operated, lift and turn lever on a Fumoto oil drain valve, it is possible to drain the oil on many vehicles without jacking it up at all.  This makes the process much safer as well as quicker and easier.













Your hands are kept clear of the pouring oil with a Fumoto oil drain valve.


This process is so much easier with a Fumoto oil drain valve.  It is opened with a simple lift and turn action.  No tools needed - just your thumb!  Your hands are away from the pouring oil.

No splattering with a drain valve!


The nipple type drain valve allows the waste oil to be directed in to a suitable container via a hose.


















Wouldn't you rather just turn a lever on a drain valve?  One simple turn and it is then closed, the ball valve will ensure a perfect seal with no drips and no risk of stripped threads.









With a Fumoto oil drain valve, you still need to check that you closed it!  This is a simple process of turning its lever with your thumb.







No risk of leaks and drips with a Fumoto oil drain valve.  Constructed from forged brass and stainless steel, it really is a well-engineered solution.





Overfills are quickly corrected with a Fumoto oil drain valve.  The excess can be quickly drained without having to empty the entire engine.








There is less cleaning up with a Fumoto oil drain valve.  It is much quicker, cleaner and easier than the traditional sump plug.

With the nipple type of drain valve you can direct the oil direct in to a suitable container via a hose.  No bowl to clean up and no puddle to clean up if the oil missed the bowl!


Regular Oil Changes

The scheduled oil change intervals may be too long if you are using your vehicle for short journeys.  Before the engine reaches full operating temperature, more contaminants from combustion get past the piston rings and degrade the oil.

Many people half the mileages between oil changes as a way of prolonging the life of an engine.  The cost of oil and filters is negligible compared with the cost of an engine rebuild.  Worn engines have lower performance, use more fuel and also pollute more and this is a frequent cause of MoT failures.


Warm the Oil

Warm oil drains from an engine quicker than cold viscous oil.  While time-saving is probably not the main consideration, the quicker the oil drains from an engine, the more particle contaminants and sludge are removed due to scouring action.

Be careful of having hot oil.  Oil temperatures can be higher than water temperatures in an engine.  There is a very real danger of badly scalding yourself when draining the oil.  Do not drain your oil immediately after a long journey.

If the engine is cold, start it up and let it get up to normal operating temperature as shown on the water temperature gauge.  The oil will now be warm enough to drain quickly so switch off.


Check you have the right tools and parts

Have a look at the your sump plug before buying the parts for your oil change.  There are a variety of plug types.  Although most have hexagonal heads and can be removed with standard ring spanners or sockets, other plugs require square drives, hexagonal Allen keys or Torx star keys.  You may need to get the appropriate tool while buying the other bits for your oil change.

Get a couple of copper washers.  Just in case the first one leaks when fitted, you will have a spare so that you can have another go.

If your sump plug is damaged, get another plug.  A damaged head is storing up trouble for when you refit it or when trying to remove at your next oil change.

Other tools and parts you may need are:-

Washing up bowl or suitable container to collect the waste oil.
Empty 5 litre container or screw top milk containers for the waste oil.
Newspapers, cloths.
Plastic sheet or tarpaulin.
Disposable gloves.
Bucket and washing-up liquid for cleaning hands, tools.
New oil - check the type and grade required by your vehicle.
Replacement oil filter.  Never replace the oil without changing the filter.
Replacement plug washers.  Get a couple!
Oil filter removal tool, Stillson wrench or similar.


Drive on to a plastic sheet or tarpaulin 

Large plastic sheets or tarpaulins are available from DIY stores quite cheaply.  It is often easier to drive the vehicle on to the sheet than to place one under the vehicle.  This way the sheet is held in place initially by the tyres and then by the jack and axle stands.

Forward planning for some mess at this stage will save time and effort cleaning up later.


Make sure the vehicle is level before you start

A level place to service your vehicle makes jacking it up less dangerous.  Unless the vehicle is level you will not get an accurate reading from the dip stick when adding the new engine oil.


Securely Raise the Vehicle

Refer to your owner's manual on where to jack the vehicle up.  Once the car is raised, use axle stands to support the vehicle.  Do not rely on the jack alone when you will be working under the vehicle.

Alternatively, drive the car on to ramps before working.

Ensure that the handbrake is fully applied and the car is in gear or in Park if you have an automatic gearbox.


Remove the oil filler cap

Removing the oil filler cap will allow air to enter the engine as the oil drains out the bottom.  This enables the oil to drain quicker so improving the removal of heavier contaminants.


Puncture the oil filter

If your oil filter is mounted sideways on the engine block, i.e. with a vertical mating surface, it may still contain a significant amount of oil after you have undone the sump plug.

If possible, pierce the TOP of the filter with a hammer and nail, to allow air to enter and for the oil in the filter to drain in to the sump.  This will reduce the amount of oil remaining in the filter and so will reduce the potential for mess when you remove it.

Clearly, the engine must not be operated after puncturing the filter in this way!


Wear disposable (latex or plastic) gloves

Engine oil is not good for your hands.  Modern synthetic and semi-synthetic oils are more likely to cause an allergic reaction with your skin.  Disposable gloves also save time and effort cleaning your hands.


Press the drain plug and remove it quickly

To deter oil dribbling from the sump plug, press the plug in against the threads to provide something of a seal.  Where possible use an extension on the socket when removing the sump plug.  The oil may be hot and it is just as well to keep your hands clear of the plug.

When you feel that the plug nearly completely undone, prepare to remove it quickly from the drain hole.  This prevents the oil splattering over the plug, your hands and tools as it pours out.  If you can avoid dropping the plug in the oil container under the car, so much the better.


Be ready to move the collection bowl

Position the collection bowl where you think the oil will land as it pours out.  Be prepared to move the bowl quickly.  Particularly where the drain hole is on the side of sump, the stream of oil can quickly change from shooting out almost horizontally to dropping directly below the hole.  It is much easier to guess where the oil will pour when the drain hole is on the bottom of the sump.


Removing the oil filter

There are many different types of oil filter removal tool.  Each have merit depending upon the type and, more often, the location of your vehicle's oil filter.

You may be able to undo the filter without specialist tools.  Wear rubber gloves for a better grip and you may be able to remove it by hand.

Place newspaper on the ground under the filter and have a supply of cloths to hand.  The oil filter will still contain oil.  If the filter mating surface is horizontal, be careful not to tip the filter as you remove it as it will probably be brim full of oil.


Replacing the oil filter

Apply a smear of clean engine oil to the rubber mating surface of the new filter before screwing it in place.  This prevents damage to the seal when fitting it so preventing leaks from the filter.  This film of oil also makes it easier to remove the filter at the next oil change.

If your filter mating surface is horizontal when fitted, half fill the filter with new oil before screwing it in to place.  This will reduce the time it takes for the oil pump to fill the filter and raise the oil pressure.  Reducing the time that the engine is running without much oil will reduce engine wear.

Oil filters do not need to be fitted very tightly.  Usually tightening by hand is sufficient.  Over-tightening can damage the seal and cause problems with removal at the next oil change.


Replace the sump plug

The sump plug and new washer must be carefully refitted.  Wipe the mating surface on the sump clean so that the best possible seal can be made. 

Be careful not to over-tighten the sump plug.  Check the torque setting in your vehicle's workshop manual and use a torque wrench.  If neither of these are available use a ring spanner rather than a socket wrench as this makes it harder to over-tighten.  The combination of a hardened steel sump plug in to a mild steel or alloy sump is a recipe for a stripped thread.  Sadly, the odds are that it will be the sump threads that will be damaged rather than threads on the plug.  If this happens, your vehicle is undriveable and the solution will involve fitting a helicoil or drilling and re-tapping the drain hole for a slightly larger sump plug.


Throw away the oil can seal

When you open your can of new engine oil, completely remove the disc of card or foil sealing the can.  You do not want to risk it falling in to the engine.  Apparently, these discs are a major cause of engine failure particularly on truck engines when they block the oil passageways in the engine.


Filling the engine with new oil

Double-check that the sump plug is back in place before putting new oil in the engine.  It sounds obvious but it would be embarrassing to have your new oil pour on to the driveway!

Lower the vehicle on the ground again.  The oil dip stick will not give a true reading unless the car is level.

Use a funnel in the filler hole to prevent oil pouring over the engine.

Large oil cans have a tendency not to pour steadily as air enters the can as the oil comes out.  To overcome this 'glugging', you may wish to pour the oil from a clean jug in to the engine rather than from the 4 or 5 litre oil can.  Oil cans pour more evenly if your pour them on their side with the label uppermost.   This usually enables you to get the opening of the can closer to the oil filler hole and funnel and so the oil can be more accurately poured.


Only put one litre of oil in to your engine!

Start off by just putting about 1 litre of oil in to your engine.  Wait for it to drain in to the sump.  Check to see if the sump plug is leaking.  If it is you may wish to risk tightening the sump plug further.  You could drain the engine and have another go using that second washer that you bought.

If there is a problem then it is better to know about it before you have filled the engine with new oil.


Filling your engine with oil

Your engine oil capacity can be found from the workshop manual or by measuring the amount of oil that you drained from the engine.  You can safely add about three quarters of the new oil to the engine.  The final filling should be done carefully, allowing time for the oil to trickle down in to the sump before checking the level with the dip stick.

Take care not to overfill. Too much oil in an engine can cause problems as big ends of the piston connecting rods may splash in to the sump oil.  Oil is then forced up past the piston rings in to the combustion chamber creating clouds of smoke from the exhaust and damaging your catalytic converter.  Overfills can only be corrected by draining the oil and refilling.  How many sump plug washers do you have?

Once the dip stick is showing the correct level.  Turn the engine over as slowly as you can.  On some vehicles it may be possible to remove and ignition lead to prevent the engine from firing.  If this is not possible, do not rev the engine when it starts.  Turning the engine over on the starter motor or run it for a few seconds until the oil pressure warning light on the instrument panel goes out and then switch off the engine.

The new oil filter will now be filled.  Allow time for the oil to return to the sump before checking the level again, some small topping up may be needed.

Check the filter and sump plug for leaks.


Do the washing up

Clean any oily tools, jugs, funnels, bowls, plastic sheet as soon as you have finished the oil change.  A bucket of water and washing up liquid is usually sufficient for this task.  Although an unpleasant job at this stage, it gets nastier if the oil has dried out and attracted dirt.  The funnel and jug, if used, in particular must be clean.  There is little point changing the oil if your jugs or funnels introduce contaminants in to the engine.


Disposing of your old oil

Oil must not be poured down drains.  In the UK and other many countries this is a criminal offence.  Local recycling depots will have facilities for taking used engine oil.  Your local garage workshop may be able to help.  Many have oil-burning stoves specifically designed to use old engine oil and may welcome the additional fuel, particularly in colder months.

When transporting containers of used oil in your vehicle, keep them upright.  I usually stand my bottles in a carton or crate and then pack with scrunched newspaper around the containers to ensure that they do not fall over.


The best tip of all

Get a Fumoto oil drain valve!  These replace the sump plug on your engine and overcome most of the problems associated with changing the oil.  They are quicker, cleaner and much easier.  You are less likely to get oil on your hands.  No more replacement washers or leaks.  The drain valves eliminate the risk of stripped threads.  If you accidentally overfill your engine with new oil, the excess can be drained off easily.

Most important of all, having a Fumoto oil drain valve will make the task of changing the oil much more pleasant and so you will not be deterred from performing regular oil changes and so prolonging the life of your engine.

If you get the valve type with the nipple, you can attach a hose and direct the old engine oil straight in to a suitable screw top container.  You will not have to come in to contact with the old engine oil.

        Quick Valve UK Ltd supplying Fumoto oil drain valves to Europe
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