In this day and age with How-To blogs and DIY Youtube Channels you can figure out how to do most anything yourself. This is includes regular automotive maintenance projects like changing your oil yourself. We often get asked by beginners if they should change their oil when the engine is piping hot or ice cold and we decided to give you our take on this topic.
When changing the oil you want to get as much of the old oil out of the engine as possible so you can refill with fresh oil. Oil when it is cold is quite thick and doesn’t like to move very easily. This means that it will take a LONG time to get all of the oil to drain out of the small drain plug hole when the engine is cold. Also the engine and oil pan walls will have oil that will cling to it because the oil is so thick. Think of cold oil like honey or molasses. Not something you want to wait for 5 quarts of to drain out!
We’ve found that changing your oil when the engine is warm or shortly after a short drive is best. Ideally a hot engine will allow the oil to flow out the quickest and easiest but it is also the most dangerous time to drain the oil. Engine oil can get up to 200F+ Degrees and can burn or scold you if it splashes on your skin. For this reason we suggest letting your car run for 2-3 minutes from cold and then draining the oil. If you’ve been driving the car for longer and want to know when it’s safe to drain your oil you can check by turning the key to the “On” position and checking to see where your coolant temperature gauge rises to. If the gauge reads 1/8-1/4 hot from cold you’re most likely safe and you can drain the oil. Anything over 1/4 could mean the engine is quite hot and the oil could hurt you.
If you need to get tools and supplies to service your own vehicle you can get everything you need to do major mechanical repairs on your vehicle HERE.