I did an oil change a couple days ago. I usually get a few steps out of order. I thought I’d try writing down the steps, in order, to see if I could.

Every car is a little different, so I’ll just write down the MR2 first (why not). There are lots of ways to change oil, so just go with my flow

2001 Toyota MR2 oil change

  1. drive the car to Wal-Mart, buy fresh 5 L of Pennzoil Platinum 5W-30

  2. park in the garage, change into garage clothes

  3. collect supplies:

    • nitrile gloves, paper towels in back pocket

    • fresh Toyota YZZF2 oil filter

    • around 4 L of oil, using up new-old-stock first, mixing is fine1

  4. collect tools:

    • floor jack, 2 jack stands, 2 wheel chocks

    • carpet & cardboard

    • claw-type oil filter wrench

    • drain pan

    • long funnel (MR2 oil cap is below these crossbars), dirty funnel (for old oil)

  5. Standard Lift2: jack up the car from the rear jack point, place jack stands, lower onto stands, place wheel chocks

  6. loosen oil cap, place drain pan, open drain valve3, wait 10 minutes

  7. wrench oil filter barely loose, unscrew by hand, drain, toss

  8. open new oil filter, apply some fresh oil to seal

  9. wipe filter “interface” clean, gently thread new filter on by hand

  10. hand-tighten new filter until Hella Snug

  11. close drain valve, wipe clean

  12. add 3 - 3.5 L fresh oil

  13. check for no leaks, start the car, run 20 - 30 seconds4

  14. check dipstick: add remainder oil (difference from E to F is 1.3 L)

  15. check dipstick, check no leaks5

  16. pour old oil through dirty funnel into recycling jug, wipe pan

  17. tools away, supplies away, change out of garage clothes

  18. put old oil in car, in box

  19. drive to AutoZone, recycle the oil

  20. Done.

Estimated time: 1 - 2 hours, especially including the trip to Wal-Mart and the final trip to AutoZone

2016 Lexus IS 300 oil change

  1. drive the car to Wal-Mart, buy fresh 5 L of Pennzoil Platinum 0W-20, maybe 10 L

  2. park in the driveway, change into garage clothes

  3. collect supplies:

    • nitrile gloves, paper towels in back pocket

    • fresh Toyota YZZA5 oil filter

    • around 6 L of oil, using up new-old-stock first, mixing is fine1

  4. collect tools:

    • 2 low-angle ramps, 2 wheel chocks

    • carpet & cardboard

    • Toyota-type oil filter wrench, breaker bar, torque wrench

    • drain pan

    • big funnel, dirty funnel

  5. place ramps in front of wheels, drive slowly up, park, place wheel chocks

  6. loosen oil cap, place drain pan, open drain valve3, wait 10 minutes

  7. unscrew 3 10 mm bolts to access oil filter, break oil filter loose, unscrew by hand, drain, toss paper filter6

  8. open new oil filter, insert All The Way into filter housing, replace large o-ring, apply fresh oil

  9. gently thread new filter on by hand

  10. hand-tighten new filter until Hella Snug, then torque to ?? ft-lbs (I think it says on it)

  11. close drain valve, wipe clean

  12. add 5 ? L fresh oil

  13. check for no leaks, start the car, run 20 - 30 seconds4

  14. replace oil filter access panel and 3 10 mm bolts, check dipstick: add remainder oil (difference from E to F is ? L)

  15. check dipstick, check no leaks5

  16. pour old oil through dirty funnel into recycling jug, wipe pan

  17. tools away (except ramps), supplies away, change out of garage clothes, back off ramps, ramps away

  18. put old oil in car, in box

  19. drive to AutoZone, recycle the oil

  20. Done.

Estimated time: 1 - 2 hours, especially including the trip to Wal-Mart and the final trip to AutoZone

  1. I had a tiny bit of Super Tech 5W-30 left over from the last Sienna oil change, and maybe some Mobil 1 5W-30. All synthetic; I think mixing is okay but I shouldn’t need to do it anymore. 100% Pennzoil Platinum is what I want to gamble on.  2

  2. yeah, it’d be nice to have a 2-post lift or something, a full garage, a pit to walk in, &c. The floor jack & stands is Standard for me. If I got a lift I’d call it a Pro Lift or something. 

  3. I installed a drain valve a couple days ago, so this will be new procedure  2

  4. so that the filter becomes saturated with oil, pulling down the dipstick level to a truer value  2

  5. in my case, the drain valve leaked a bit overnight(!) so I tightened it another quarter turn (which seemed a lot). It still leaked about the same, so I backed it off. Instructions state to hand-tighten plus eighth turn, but the trouble is there’s no good way to get any leverage with your hand, and the threads on the oil pan are a bit friction-y, so I can’t get it on well enough with hands. So I wrenched on a bit further. It leaked a little, so I wrenched it another sixth turn. It leaked a tiny bit (a single drop, but still), so I wrenched it another sixth turn. So far, so good. I think the rubber washer/gasket that comes with the valve was just soft, or something. I do not think I overtightened it; the instructions were clear to not do that. At first, I worried I had gone too far, but working it back and forth I realized it was mostly rough threads that was holding it in, not torque from stretching the bolt or anything. It wasn’t really on, in other words.  2

  6. I don’t bother with the drain port at the bottom, but I’ll still change the little o-ring inside