How long do oil changes take? Changing engine oil is one of the easiest and quickest car maintenance tasks. It’s important to change your car’s engine oil about every 3,000 miles or around every three months. But how long does it take?
How long does it take to change oil? It takes around 15 to 45 minutes to change your car’s oil, depending on where and how you get it changed.
- Quick Lube Shop: 15 minutes
- Mechanic: 30 to 45 minutes
- Car Dealer: 30 to 45 minutes
- DIY: 1 hour
The actual time to change oil depends on the skill of the mechanic and his tools. There is also preparatory work required before changing the oil.
Read on to learn more about how long it takes to change oil, whether by a quick lube shop, mechanic, dealer, or by yourself.
How Long Does It Take to Change Oil?
There are 4 main options to get your oil changed. There are also some things that you need to consider before you make your choice. Time and cost are two main factors that will determine your choice.
Option 1 – Change Oil at a Quick Lube Shop
This is the quickest way you can change the oil in your car engine. It is also the most efficient because it will be done by knowledgeable people that are experienced in quick lube jobs. Most of these service shops will allow you to wait inside their shops while they are servicing your car.
How long do oil changes take at a Quick Lube shop? From start to finish, the change oil process will take approximately 15 minutes. Some quick lube shops might even be able to change in as fast as 10 minutes.
Cost-wise, it is more economical if you will assign the change oil job to a quick lube shop. But it may not be your best option. They can do the job faster in quick lube shops because they are using special machines to do the job.
These machines suck the dirty oil from the car engine through the tube where the dipstick is located. The men doing the job will not unscrew the plug in the oil pan. They will not drain the oil pan of the dirty engine oil. The oil is extracted by the machine.
Honestly speaking, this is not the best way to do it. If the suction pump of the machine can’t access the dirty oil inside the engine, it will stay there and contaminate the new engine oil that they will pour inside the engine. More seriously, the contaminated oil can cause problems in your car engine.
Option 2 – Change Oil at a Mechanic
Most car owners get their car’s engine oil changed at an independent garage shop. They just go to the local car mechanic or car repair shop nearest them and ask the mechanic to do a lube change for their car.
How long do oil changes take at a mechanic? Most local garage shops can do the lube change job from 30 to 45 minutes.
This time can vary depending on how busy the mechanic is and the size of his shop. You may also have to leave your car and return after the change oil job is finished.
The service charge of the mechanic may also be expensive. But he will do a thorough job of the oil change. It is also a convenient oil-change option because there are many of these shops located in neighborhoods so are close to most people.
Option 3 – Change Oil at a Car Dealer
Car dealers also change oil, especially for car brands that they sell. However, of all the available options, this is the most expensive. The whole process is also longer.
How long does an oil change take at a dealership? On average, it will take a car dealer from 30 to 45 minutes to change the engine oil in your car.
If that’s how long they will service your car, you may be forced to leave your car to the dealer and just return after 45 minutes to get your car back. Or they may even tell you to return after a couple of days or even a week because of their tight schedule.
However, a dealer may be your safest option. Car dealers employ professional mechanics who are very knowledgeable and well-trained for this change oil job. Mistakes can be committed during an oil change. Your car may be damaged by less knowledgeable and less trained local mechanics.
In a car dealership, these mistakes are minimized. The dealer has better mechanics and better machines. You will be signing a service contract in a dealership. The dealer will take responsibility in case something bad happens to your car.
Option 4 – Change Oil Yourself
This is the best option for changing oil if you are a DIY person. If you change the engine oil yourself, you won’t pay for service charges. You will only pay for the new engine oil and oil filter. But be ready to get dirty.
How long do oil changes take when done by yourself? If you change the oil by yourself, it might take you a full hour or so.
The actual time will depend on your skills and experience in doing the job. If this is your first time doing it, expect to spend a longer time. But, as already mentioned, as you gain experience, this will become an easy job that will take less than an hour.
Read up on how to do it efficiently and fast. You may not do the job perfectly at the start. But this is a fairly easy and straightforward job. So in time, you will be able to change oil like a professional mechanic – and faster even.
The drawback to changing the oil yourself is that if you make a mistake, you have to call a professional mechanic to solve your problem. So, it is important for you to read up and prepare everything that you will need, such as the proper tools, car jacks, the proper safety equipment, safety gloves/goggles/clothing, the new oil, and the new oil filter.
What about the used oil that you have drained out of our car engine? Don’t just throw it down the drain. That will hurt the environment. Ask your local car mechanic if he has any use for used engine oil.
There are shops that collect the used oil. They give them to oil processing companies that purify the used oil so that they can be reused for other purposes.
See the below video to learn how long it takes to change oil with the DIY method:
How Long Does Each Step in an Oil Change Take?
Do you want to know how long each step takes in a change oil job? You need to strictly follow these steps to avoid committing any mistake. Here are the approximate lengths of time each step will take in a change oil job.
Step 1 – Lift the Car
Lifting the car takes 5 minutes or less by a mechanic.
If the dealer or the shop of the local mechanic has a hydraulic lifter, this step will be very easy and fast. But if you are doing it yourself, you need at least two car jacks to lift your car and support it evenly while you are working on it. And it may take you 10 minutes or more if you lift the car yourself.
Step 2 – Open the Drain Plug
Opening the drain plug takes only a couple of seconds.
To open the drain plug, you simply unscrew the plug. It can be a bit stiff to open if you haven’t opened the plug in a while. Use a cloth over the plug to make it easier to unscrew it.
Step 3 – Drain the Used Oil
Draining the old oil takes from 15 to 20 minutes.
When you unscrew the drain plug, the used oil will readily trickle out. So, get the oil pan ready to catch the used oil. The car engine uses oil in large quantities, so expect to wait a long while before you can complete this step.
Step 4 – Change the Oil Filter
Changing the oil filter could take from 10 to 20 minutes.
You need to unscrew the old oil filter and screw the new one. This task is a bit more difficult than the rest. The actual time will depend on the skill of the mechanic.
Step 5 – Pour the New Engine Oil
Pouring in the new engine oil is a fairly easy task. It takes only about 5 minutes maximum.
You should know how much oil your engine can take. After pouring the oil in, check its depth with the dipstick.
How Can You Change Oil Faster?
Planning the things that you will do to change the engine oil will enable you to do it faster. You will be prepared, and you know the steps that you need to follow.
The mechanics at the car dealerships and the repair shops have been doing this job every day so they can do it instinctively. You, as a first-time engine oil changer, need to think and prepare before you tackle the job. Here are some suggestions on how to change oil faster.
Schedule the Next Change Oil
Call the car dealer or the car repair shop to schedule your next change oil. It will prepare the mechanic to receive your car at the appointed time. That will make the processing of your car faster. Don’t just barge in the dealer and demand them to service your car first.
Go to the Service Shop During Off-peak Hours
Weekends, after office hours, and lunchtime are usually the peak hours of car service shops. Don’t go there at these hours. Take your car early in the morning, or take an early lunch break so you can take your car to the service shop when there are fewer customers.
Practice changing the oil yourself. More practice will make you more confident and will enable you to commit fewer mistakes. Soon, you will be doing it faster.
Additional Tips to Quicken the Oil Change
Here are some additional tips that can quicken the process of changing the oil in your engine:
- Check for oil leaks after the oil change. Start the car and check the underside of the car engine to see if there are oil leaks.
- Use quality lube oil. It may be more expensive than standard lube oils, but this will benefit your car engine – and you as well.
- Check the level of the engine oil after you have completed the change oil process. This will ensure that the engine is full of oil.
- Be familiar with the drain plug, the oil pan, the dipstick and every part that is related to oil change.
- Know the parts of your car, especially its major components. This will help you take care of your car so that you won’t experience car problems too often.
Why Is It Important to Change Your Oil?
We’ve answered the question, ‘how long do oil changes take?’; now, I want to address why it is important to change your oil. You will understand why there’s a window of 15 to 45 minutes to change oil if you look at the whole process. A car is composed of many parts. When you are driving your car, its components are constantly moving.
Some of these components, especially the parts in the engine assembly, are in constant contact with each other. That constant contact produces friction, which in turn produces heat. This is the reason why you need to add oil and change oil from time to time.
The oil of the car decreases the amount of friction and, therefore, the heat inside the car engine. If there is no oil inside the engine of your car, the heat produced inside will bond the engine parts to each other. When that happens, the engine will abruptly stop. That’s what happens when your car engine overheats.
So, to do its work, the oil has to constantly circulate inside the car engine. This constant moving around, and constant contact with moving metals inside the engine, where gasoline is constantly being burned at an unbelievably fast rate, makes the oil dirty. When the engine oil is dirty, it loses its ability to reduce friction and heat. This is the reason why you need to change oil frequently.
Conclusion – How Long Does It Take to Change Oil?
How long does it take to change oil? It can take as fast as 15 minutes to get your oil changed at a Quick Lube Shop. How long does an oil change take at a dealership? It can take around 30 to 45 minutes to get your oil changed at a mechanic or a dealer. It can take about an hour if you change the oil yourself or faster over time with practice.
If you own a car, you can’t ignore its need for an oil change on a regular basis. If you ignore this need, it will backfire on you. Changing the engine oil is not a very difficult task. It does not take too much time either.
Remember to get your oil changed around every 3,000 miles of driving, or about every 3 months. And if you go somewhere to get it changed, expect to wait about 15 minutes to 45 minutes depending on where and how you get it changed.