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Truck Oil Change: How Does It Work?

Truck Oil Change

Your truck oil change is one of the most common repairs you might hear about. Knowing how to perform your truck oil change can save you a lot of time and effort.

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In this article, we walk you through a step by step on all you need to prepare for your oil change and how to change your truck’s oil successfully, without any previous mechanical skills.

Why does my truck need an oil change?


Your truck’s engine must operate within the temperature range, as specified in your truck’s owner’s manual. As your engine operates, many temperatures are generated, resulting in increasing your engine’s temperature significantly. 

Beside your cooling system, the engine’s oil help cooling down your engine by providing the required lubrication and preventing moving parts from wearing out against each other. If your engine doesn’t receive the quantity and quality of specified oil, a lot of friction is generated between its moving parts, challenging the cooling system from working properly.

Over time of use, your engine’s oil collects foreign objects and goes bad. Besides, even the oil filter can get clogged with these contaminations preventing oil flow to your engine. 

That’s why all truck’s owner’s manuals request changing your engine’s oil within a certain period to avoid the engine’s destruction.


How does truck oil change work?


Since changing your truck’s oil is a frequent repair, it is worth learning how to do it on your own to repair costs by eliminating labor costs. 

In this section,  we provide you with a step-by-step on how does truck oil changes work. 

Before starting the oil change, you need to prepare the working station, prepare the vehicle, and get the required tools and parts. Once you’ve done that, all you need to do is drain the old oil, install a new filter, refill the new oil, and reset your truck’s oil change reset button.


  • Work station and truck preparation


It is a good practice to choose the best working station for your truck’s oil change—a good flat area where you expect some mess due to oil spills. A perfect place would be your garage or driveway.

Once you decided on the working station, you need to warm up your vehicle for at least five minutes. When you do so, the old oil gets wormer and flows out of the drain plug much easier. Furthermore, the old oil collects all contaminants and foreign particles as it flows outside the drain plug. 

When the warm-up is done, you need to confirm using the parking brakes for more security as you will be working under the vehicle for quite a good amount of time. 


  • Prepare the required parts and material



Your truck must be raised above the ground for your oil change to allow easier access to the oil drain plug and the oil filter cap. 

That been said, you cannot perform the oil change without having a jack stand and a jack to raise your truck. Furthermore, you need to know how to raise your truck safely by referring to your vehicle’s owner’s manual. If you don’t have access to your manual, you need to obtain a copy from your local mechanic or download a copy from the web.

In short, you need to jack up the front part of your truck and place a jack stand under it for safety purposes and to ensure the truck doesn’t fall on you as you are working. 


  • Get the required parts and tools


While changing your oil is very straightforward, you need to have certain tools and parts for successfully changing oil change. 

There are specific required tools based on your truck’s make, model, and year. Also, there are optional or general tools needed for any oil change.

  • Required parts (refer to your truck’s owner’s manual for specifications)
    • An oil filter
    • Specific quality and quality of the oil
    • Your vehicle’s owner’s manual as you will need to  refer to it while changing your truck’s oil
  • General tools
    • A pair of gloves
    • Safety glasses  
    • A bucket or any container to collect the old oil
    • An oil filter wrench that is suitable for your vehicle’s oil filter cap
    • A wrench to fit the oil drain plug


  • Drain the old oil


Once you prepared all the required tools and parts, it is the time to drain the old oil following these steps:

  • Refer to the truck’s owner’s manual and locate the oil drain plug
  • Place the oil container or the bucket right under the oil drain plug
  • Using the wrench, loosen the oil drain plug and allow the old oil to drain completely in the bucket or the oil container
  • When draining the oil, you need to expect many messes due to oil splashes on the other vehicle parts. Therefore, grab a dry disposable towel and clean up the old oil splashes before they get dry.
  • Using another towel, clean up the oil drain plug before reinstalling it to the right location. 
  • As you reinstall the oil drain plug, make sure not to overtighten it to avoid breaking it in the next oil change. At the same time, you don’t want to keep it loose to avoid oil spills or leaks


  • Change the oil filter


After draining the old oil completely, its the time to change the old oil filter. Many people might miss this step and wonder why their engine’s performance did not improve after the oil change. 

  • Refer to your truck’s owner’s manual and locate the oil filter’s  cap
  • Place the oil container or the bucket under the oil filter’s cap because there will be additional old oil filling the oil filter
  • Using the oil filter’s wrench, loosen up the oil filter’s cap and allow it to drain for a couple of seconds
  • After the oil filter finishes draining, you can take it out completely and  remove the old oil filter along with the O-ring and install the new ones
  • It is recommended to lubricate the O-ring to prevent it from bending inside the oil filter housing
  • Again, do not over tighten the oil filter’s cap to avoid breaking it in the next oil change.


  • Refill with the new oil


Once you drained the old oil and changed the oil filter, you can lower the truck down and add the oil filter's required oil. 

  • Locate the oil filler’s cap on the engine’s top or by referring to the truck’s owner’s manual
  • Open the cap and place a funnel for easier refilling
  • Add the required amount of oil-based on your vehicle’s owner’s manual’s specifications
  • Monitor the oil level by using the dipstick frequently. Make sure not to overtop the oil and follow the exact amount described in the manual
  • Start your engine for a couple of seconds to allow the oil filter to be filled with oil
  • Measure the oil level one more time to make sure you have the right amount of oil after filling the oil filter


  • Reset your vehicle’s change oil light


Unlike most check lights on your dashboard, your truck’s change oil check light will not turn off unless you manually do it, even after you’ve changed the oil.

Therefore, if you decided to change your own engine’s oil, you must reset the change oil light; otherwise, your vehicle will not know when to warn you for the next oil change. 

Resetting the change oil light varies depending on your car’s make, model, and year. However, the general process is pretty much similar. 

Here is all that you need to do to reset your truck’s change oil check light:

  • Turn on the ignition switch without starting the vehicle
  • Locate your reset button or switch on your dashboard. If you were not able to locate it, refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual for more detailed instructions
  • Get access to your vehicle’s set up on your dashboard by referring to the manual
  • Within the setup menu, there should be some settings for an oil change
  • Hold and press the reset button 
  • You should see on the screen some changes indicating that you’ve completed the reset process. For example, some vehicles might give you a 100% oil life, others might tell you the rest was completed successfully. 



Your truck needs an oil change frequently to maintain a perfectly running engine. Ignoring the oil change can result in significant engine damages, costing you a lot of time and effort. 

Many people find it helpful to learn how to do their truck oil change to save on labor costs. 

To perform your truck oil change, you need to prepare the required tools and parts, drain the old oil, replace the oil filter, refill with the new oil, and reset your change oil check light. 

Although the oil change is very straightforward, most DIYs do not go well the first time you do it. It will take time and practice before you master doing your oil change, but it's worth it in the long run.

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