The oil change is the most common and simplest car maintenance procedures that exists. Some would call even call it iconic. But how long does an oil change take exactly?
How Long Do Oil Changes Take?
The length of time to perform an oil change will vary considerably depending both on the vehicle and the experience of the person doing it. Mechanics who specialise in performing oil changes and do this job all day will change the oil much faster than your grandma likely will!
Oil change specialists at lube shops can be extremely fast, sometimes as little as 15 minutes. This is of course dependant on the lube shop being ready to work on your car and not having a backlog of customers.
A normal mechanic or repair shop will probably take a little longer than a specialist quick lube place. You are probably going to be waiting at least 30 minutes at these types of places.
The specific car you drive can have a huge effect on how long it takes to get an oil change. On most cars it’s simply a matter of removing an easily accessible oil drain plug from underneath the car. But in other cases, especially with some high end or luxury vehicles, things can get much more complicated (and time consuming!).
The Oil Change Process Explained
The mechanic will lift your car and place a container underneath the oil pan. They will then open up the drain plug and let the old oil drain out. This draining process can take some time since oil is much thicker and flows slower than water.
Once the old oil has drained, the mechanic will swap out the dirty oil filter for a new one. They will then tighten the drain bolt and fill the engine with new clean oil!
When to Change Your Oil
All the different manufacturer’s will have different specifications about how often to change your car’s oil. Consult the service manual which came with your vehicle and make sure not to exceed the time or number of miles it recommends between oil changes.
In addition you should always be on the lookout for the following signs and symptoms:
- Getting less miles from your vehicle after filling up.
- Any unnatural noises or vibrations coming from the engine.
- Being able to smell oil whilst driving.
Remember that oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle’s engine. It needs to be kept clean to ensure the engine runs smoothly. If you neglect your oil change, then the oil’s lubricating qualities will degrade and your engine will start to make a lot of noise.
Frequently Asked Questions
In between 15 and 45 minutes if you don’t need to wait for other customers. However, it can be much longer if your vehicle has a difficult to access drain plug.
If you know what you are doing and have all the required tools and supplies, there is no reason you cant. When you factor in the time and hassle it takes to get your car to the shop, it will probably be faster!
A specialist quick lube shop! They do nothing else but oil changes, and their whole business model is based on getting you out of there as quickly as possible.
As a rule of thumb, you can go 5000 to 7000 miles in between oil changes. However, it is always best to consult your car’s handbook from the manufacturer and follow their recommendation.