By YOUCANIC on May 20, 2019

How to change engine oil yourself using an extractor

In this guide, you will find step-by-step instructions (with pictures and video clips) on how to change engine oil using an oil extraction pump.

This method is quick, easy and safer way to change the engine oil.  Often this is referred to as the top-down or topside oil change method. 

Benefits of using an oil extraction pump

diy oil change extractor
  • Fewer tools required to change the oil
  • An easier and safer method to change the oil
  • You don't have to struggle with removing the drain plug. No need to replace the drain bolt washer either.
  • No chance of an oil leak due to improper torque of the drain plug.

The only drawback of changing the engine oil with an extraction pump is that a minimal amount of old oil may remain in the pan. 

It is insignificant since typically less than 5% of old oil remains. If you do regular oil changes, then an oil extractor is perfectly an acceptable way to change the oil.

In a neglected engine, debris and sludge sit at the bottom of the oil pan and may not be picked up by the oil extractor.  

What you will need

  • Oil Fluid Extractor Pump
    There are two main designs to consider. 
    • Oil Vacuum Extractor
      mityvac oil extractor pumpThese oil extractors come with a container and a manual pump that you will have to pump to get the oil out. The oil vacuum extractors have been around for a long time. Not only do they require manual labor but they also are large and require space to store them. 
    • Electrical Oil Extractor
      12v 12v Fluid Oil Diesel Extractor + Tubes Truck Rv Boat ATVAn electrical oil extractor is a lot easier to use. Connect it to a 12-volt battery source such as your car battery and let it do its job. You will need a container to collect the old oil, but that's not an issue. The other advantage of the using an electrical oil extractor is that they are very easy to store and put away. 
  • Ramps
    If your oil filter has to be accessed from the bottom of the engine, you will need to use ramps to raise the car and get to the filter. If your oil filter is on top of the engine, you don't need ramps
  • Oil filter removal tool
    Regardless if your oil filter is on top of the engine or the bottom, you will need oil removal tool. There are many oil filter tools on the market such as a three-prong oil tool, strap oil filter tool, and chain oil filter tool. Ideally, our favorite tool that works better than any of the ones we mentioned is, oil filter pliers as they work on almost any oil filter. 

Before you get started 

Check if your car has oil dipstick. Some cars do not have an oil dipstick and tube.

This was common among European cars between 2005 and 2010, especially with BMW and Mercedes. Newer car models typically have a dipstick, even the European ones. Just double check before you get started. 

Instructions

Follow these steps to change the oil using a vacuum extraction pump or electrical pump. 

Get the engine oil warm 

Turn off the engine and let it cool down for at least 15 min. If the engine is cold, start it up and run it for a couple of minutes. You want the oil to be warm but not hot. 

Open the hood and remove the oil dipstick. 

Insert the tube into the oil dipstick.

oil change with extractor

Push the tube until it stops. Typically it should go into the dipstick about two to three feet. Note that some extraction pumps have two piece tube.

securing oil extractor pump tube

Ensure that the two tubes are tight together. Otherwise, one of the tubes can fall out and get stuck in the oil dipstick. 

Connect the oil extraction pump

If you are using a 12V Motor Oil Extractor, insert the other side of the tube (discharge side) into an empty container. Ideally, a clear container or one that you can measure the amount of oil that you are extracting. 

connect discharge hose to container

Connect the extraction pump to your car battery.

connect oil extractor
  • Positive: Red clamp on (+) battery post (note red battery cable). 
  • Negative: Black clamp on (-) battery post (note black battery cable).

Extract oil from the engine

Turn on the extraction pump.

turn on extractor to suck old oil out

If you are using a vacuum extraction pump, there is no need to connect it to the battery, because you can't. Instead, start pumping the oil and be ready to get a good workout. 

how to change oil using an oil vacuum extractor pump

Suck out all of the engine oil

Let the oil extractor pump run for about 10 to 20 minutes. You will know when it is finished extracting the oil, as you will see air bubbles on your oil container. If you pay close attention, you will notice that the sound of the electrical oil extractor will change when it is finished extracting the oil as at this point it will run dry. 

When you think all the oil is extracted, move the tube into the dipstick by pushing it down or twisting it slightly. This will ensure you are sucking all the oil at the bottom of the oil pan/sump. 

diy oil change with extractor pump

Remove the oil tube from the engine. Make sure to have a rag ready as a small amount of oil will drip out of the tube. 

Replace engine oil filter

If your oil filter is on top of the engine, consider yourself lucky. Replace the oil filter which in most cases is cartridge oil filter type usually found on BMW and Mercedes-Benz. 

replace cartridge oil filter

On Japanese and American cars, you may need to get under the car to access the engine oil filter. 

replace oil filter at every oil change oil filter location

Roll the car up on ramps. Make sure to set the parking brake and block the rear tires. 

Add engine oil 

Check your owner's manual the amount of engine oil you need to add.

add oil to engine

Add the recommended quantity minus half a quart. If your car requires 4.5 quarts add only four as a starting point. Let the oil make its way to the oil pan and check the engine oil. 

Check the oil level and add more oil if necessary to bring the level between the Min and Max mark.

Important

  • Don't force the suction tube in the dipstick if it is too large. Otherwise, you risk getting the tube stuck in the dipstick. 
  • Make sure the tube is pushed in all the way, and it is at the lowest point of the pan. 
  • On some car engines that have the oil filter installed on top. It is possible to remove the oil filter and use this channel to insert the tube and extract oil. 
  • Note that by changing the oil yourself you may void your warranty. Unfortunately, some car manufacturers require that you pay a technician to change your oil. 

FAQ

Yes, there may be a small amount of oil left in the oil pan, but the same is usually true when you drain via drain bolt. In many, cases, the bolt isn't always at the lowest point of the oil pan. If you have a well-maintained vehicle the is no reason to worry about using the oil extraction method. Make sure to change the oil filter as well.

  • Make sure the oil extractor has a large capacity to hold all your oil.
  • Consider an electrical oil extractor
  • If you are buying a vacuum oil extractor, look for one that allows you to easily discharge the old oil.

Two of the most used oil extractor are the vacuum type and electric oil extractors. Both these methods are great for alternatives if you are looking to use for DIY oil changes.

  • Mityvac Fluid Evacuator
  • Airpower America
  • Hydro-Turf Oil Extractor
  • Briggs & Stratton Oil Extractor Pump
  • OEMTOOLS Fluid Evacuator
  • Koehler Multi-Use Siphon Fuel Transfer Pump Kit
  • XtremepowerUS 12v Fluid Oil Diesel Extractor
  • EWK Pneumatic / Manual 6.5 Liter Oil Changer Vacuum Fluid Extractor Pump Tank Remover
  • Pela 650 Oil Extractor
  • Astro 7351 Air Operated Oil Evacuator - 8 Gallon
  • Yamaha engine oil extractor

If you change the oil regularly using an oil extraction pump is acceptable. Note that the benefit of removing the drain plug and draining the oil is that you get out almost all of the old oil. When using an oil extraction pump a little bit of old oil will remain. If there are any small amounts of metal debris or particular matter in the old oil, it shouldn't be a problem as the oil filter will trap them. Make sure to replace the oil filter even if you extract the oil.

If you have an engine that thus engines sludge, it is better to drain the oil than extract it. Don't neglect your car. Change your oil at the recommended intervals, and you shouldn't have this problem.

Conclusion

Using an oil extractor is a great way to change the engine oil as long as your car has a dipstick. If your oil filter is mounted on top of the engine and you don't want to invest in a lot of tools to do basic car maintenance such as an oil change, this method will save you money, time and headaches.

Did you know that in some cases such as (Smart car) the only way to change the oil is using the oil extraction method? 

Changing the motor oil with an oil extraction pump is the perfect method if you are just starting out with DIY auto repair or are tired of making a mess every time you change the oil.

Make sure to recycle your old oil. All auto parts stores that sell oil including AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts, PepBoy even Walmart collect old oil free of charge. 

 

Comments

Bethany , 2017-06-20

I drive an older E320 but it requires 0w40 oil. Now I am going to change it myself and save money.

Larry , 2017-06-21

Thanks for the write up. I better start changing the oil myself now on my BMW. No more excuses.

I have one of these vacuum pumps and it works great but two of my cars have twisted dipsticks and the tube will not go down into the pan. The one is a Chevy Express and when you put in the dipstick it twists as it goes in which makes me think the tube has a female twisted slot in the tube. Is there a way to use a skinny tube to suck out the oil? Anyone ever heard of this problem?

duncan, 2019-04-30

One of the main problems with this method is that your mechanic doesn't get to see any metal filings that may get attached to the drain plug (most plugs are magnetic). So you don't get the benefit of fixing a potential problem before it destroys the engine. Many recalls have to do with metal components that were not manufactured correctly. My mechanic found a piece of metal in the differential when he drained it. If he had just sucked out the old oil I would have never known the gears were going bad until they tore the diff apart.

jjsjjsva, 2019-10-28

On my Toyota the dip stick only goes low enough to measure the oil min/max level. There is a horizontal swash plate that would prevent a hose going to the bottom of the pan. Thus only half the oil at best could be removed. Not good. Know you oil pan construction before you rely on this method. The drain plug method is as quick, cheaper, and as easy to remove as with this process since they say use ramps anyway. You have to get under the vehicle to remove/install the oil filter. I see no value added and ge potential for way more than just 5% of old oil to not be removed.

George, 2019-12-13

The Toyota comment is spot on. The dipstick goes only into the shallow end of the pan. If you force a skinny tube further, it will twist around and MIGHT get to the deep end; but chances are also good that it will be caught in the sharp notches of the baffle that goes across mid-pan. Then the extractor tube will be stuck. Also in some cars, the end of the dipstick tube is not deburred, and may have sharp edges that point inwards (think a pipe cut with cutting wheel that goes around and around). This will allow the extractor tube to go in easily, but will nick and cut the extractor tube on the way out. In that case, carefully rotate the tube as you pull, don't rely on brute force to yank it out. If you do, the tube may be severed, leaving a section in the oil pan.

Plain text

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type='1 A I'> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id='jump-*'> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Only images hosted on this site may be used in <img> tags.