Giving your vehicle a routine oil change is essential to keeping it in working order. Worried you don’t have enough time to address the oil life light on your dashboard? How long does an oil change take, anyway? Turns out, once you get the process down, it should not take you more than an hour, though there are some things to keep in mind.

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How Long Does an Oil Change Take?

In most cases, a standard oil change takes between 20-60 minutes. This figure depends on tasks completed including, heating up the vehicle’s engine, and the actual process of swapping out the oil, and filters.

Professional Mechanic

If you plan on bringing your vehicle to a professional to get the oil change done, then there is one question you have to ask yourself: Where is your car going? At a standard repair shop, you can expect to wait around 15-45 minutes for an oil change. That is assuming that your car is going to be seen quickly. If the auto shop is busy, it could take all day.

A quick lube shop will typically take less than 30 minutes.

Why Do Repair Shops Take Longer Than Quick Lube Shops?

Quick lube shops specialize in oil changes, meaning that the setup of the shop is geared towards getting cars in and out fast. Repair shops are more complex since they handle more than simple maintenance. Inspections and tune-ups will increase the duration of your visit. Plus, the mechanics in a repair shop are going to have a quick check for faults, even if your appointment was solely for an oil change.

If you don’t know which one to choose to get your car an oil change, consider the services. Perhaps you heard a strange noise or smelled something odd and would like to know the answer while you are there. In that case, choose the repair shop. Otherwise, if you know your car is in working order and just need that oil and oil filter swapped out, the quick lube shop is the better choice.

DIY At-Home

Usually, doing the oil change yourself at home takes between 30-60 minutes. However, this largely depends on the equipment you have, your experience, and the vehicle. For instance, you may struggle for an hour with getting the drain plug unstuck if you have no idea what you are doing.

The kind of vehicle you drive also changes things up. Some filters and drain plugs are very easy to access and remove. Other cars are more awkward to locate, making them harder to access. A less accessible oil filter could hinder your speed, thus making your at-home oil change all the more time-consuming.

Want to know what goes into changing the oil in your vehicle? This video shows you all the steps:

When to Change Engine Oil

How long does an oil change take? You now know it is between 15-60 minutes, depending on who is doing it. Now, you should know how frequently such a service needs to be completed. Long ago, the rule of thumb was to bring your vehicle to the mechanic every 3,000 miles. This is an obsolete rule. Back then, vehicles generally ran on conventional oil and were far less efficient.

Modern technology and synthetic engine oil formulas have made it possible to wait for 5,000 miles, 7,500 miles, or in some cases, even 10,000 miles before your next oil change. Now, that is not to say that there are no vehicles that would benefit from an oil change every 3,000 miles. Older models will have less efficient engines and will require more maintenance.

If you are driving your car infrequently, let’s say only a couple of hundred miles a year, it will need more frequent oil changes. On the other hand, running a full synthetic oil through the engine for longer distances tends to extend the performance.

For the general mileage range, look at the owner’s manual. It will tell you what is best for the engine. Whatever you do, don’t waffle if you see the oil life light come on. That means that the oil level is getting dangerously low.

Why Should I Get Regular Oil Changes?

Why not? There are many advantages to maintaining your car and getting oil changes routinely, including:

  • Environmental impact. New, clean oil is far more efficient than used oil. By changing the oil regularly, you reduce the harmful emissions produced by your car.
  • Enhanced fuel economy. The smoother the engine runs, the less effort the engine requires to move. That translates to far less gasoline used.
  • Quick and affordable maintenance. Getting an oil change keeps the engine (and other functions in the vehicle) going strong.
  • Keeps engine temperature stable. Lubricating the engine with oil reduces the heat caused by excessive friction.
  • Promotes better engine health. Replacing the oil and oil filter is key in removing harmful contaminants from the engine that could damage the internal parts.


How long does an oil change take? About 15-30 minutes at a quick lube shop, up to 45 minutes at a repair shop, and potentially 60 minutes or longer when doing it yourself. That said, oil changes are one of the quickest forms of vehicle maintenance and are also cost-effective. Make sure you are getting your vehicle’s oil and oil filter changed regularly, so your vehicle will be around for many years.

Categories: Oil Guides


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