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How Long Does an Oil Change Take?

By Joe Ballard
Published on February 26th, 2024

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Changing your engine oil may take anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours if your local shop is doing it for you. The same applies if you’re replacing the engine oil yourself, as it depends on expertise.

how long does an oil change take for a vehicle?

Regular maintenance is required for your vehicle to ensure that it runs smoothly. An oil change is one of the most important services you should have done regularly. An oil change will ensure your engine is properly lubricated and performs well under stress like inclement weather and long road trips.

The aim of this article is to explain what is involved in a proper oil change and approximately how long you should expect to wait for it to be completed.

A Little History

Since the dawn of automobile development, oil has been used to lubricate the internal combustion engine's inner mechanical components. These components mainly consist of pistons and rings, crankshaft bearings, valves, piston rods, and camshafts, to name a few of the most important parts for proper engine operation.

Over time, the engine and lubricants have evolved to increase fuel economy, performance, and intervals between oil changes. The most dramatic disruption occurred when synthetic oil was commercially introduced in the early 1970s because it opened the doors to advances in engine technology that were not feasible using conventional oil.

Should I Upgrade to Synthetic Oil?

Synthetic oil provides many important benefits over conventional oil, such as:

  • Greater engine wear protection
  • Cleaner engine operation
  • Engineered to flow quickly (coat engine components) even at low temperatures
  • Protection at higher operating temperatures (especially high-performance engines)
  • Superior protection of Turbocharger components
  • Extended oil change intervals
using synthetic oil to make engine oil last longer

Upgrading to synthetic oil will help clean your engine by removing carbon and other deposits that conventional oil cannot remove. Although oil change intervals may be extended, the time required to change the oil does. If you choose synthetic over conventional oil, it still requires draining the oil, changing the oil filter, and adding fresh oil.

One other thing to consider when scheduling time for your appointment is the additional services that may be included in the service appointment. Many dealers or shops will include services like a rotation of the tires and a multi-point inspection to check the status of your vehicle's components to ensure that any issues can be dealt with before they fail and cause a major issue. These additional services may add up to 30 minutes to your appointment, bringing the total time to over an hour, but it will be time well spent.

What Are The Typical Symptoms of a Faulty MAP Sensor?

Usually, the first sign that your vehicle has some problem is when the check engine light (CEL) is visible on your dashboard. Typically, this indication can pop up for many reasons, but if you have noticed some performance issues, you may not be surprised that the CEL came on.

Initially, you may not know if the CEL is an indication of a faulty MAP sensor, however the following performance issues may provide some clues:

  • Engine Performance - a faulty MAP sensor can cause several engine performance problems, such as rough idling, stalling, hesitation, or a noticeable decrease in power and acceleration. These issues are usually due to incorrect readings from the sensor that impact fuel injection and combustion efficiency.
  • Poor Fuel Economy - a faulty MAP sensor can impact the air-fuel ratio and lead to inefficient combustion. This will result in decreased fuel economy, which will cause you to spend more at the pump. It may be worth checking the MAP sensor if you notice a reduction in your vehicle's mileage.

So How Long An Oil Change Take?

The important thing to remember when scheduling your oil change appointment with your local shop or dealership is that it will typically take about 30 – 45 minutes to complete or possibly an hour if additional services are included.

changing your engine oil can take up to an hour or two

Sometimes, this time can be reduced if you keep up with your vehicle's preventative maintenance schedule and follow the manufacturer's service recommendations, especially the oil change schedule.

On the other hand, if you choose to replace the oil yourself, it may take longer as you'd have to prepare the necessary tools and equipment. There may also be a slight learning curve if it's your first time.

Want To Change The Oil Yourself?

How about if you want to do it yourself? It is indeed a possibility, but here are a few things to keep in mind if you want to go that route:

  • The time involved in changing your oil will increase due to the preparation involved.
  • You need the tools required to perform this service, such as a hydraulic jack, jack stands, wrenches, creeper, and access to the drain plug and oil filter. Vehicle manufacturers don’t always place the filter and drain plug in convenient locations, so this may present a challenge to your DIY job.
  • Another consideration is the disposal of the used oil because you cannot just pour it down the drain as this is not only bad for the environment but illegal. You must take the used oil to a recycling center for proper disposal.
  • Reference the owner’s manual. This is important as there are different oil types and weight requirements for particular vehicles.

There are several guidelines that will assist you in determining when you should change your oil. These include your vehicle owner's manual, odometer mileage, date of last oil change, or unusually loud noises emanating from the engine compartment.

A good rule of thumb for scheduling an oil change is about every six months or 5000 miles.

Considering that it will most likely take longer to change the oil, dispose of the used oil, and clean up any spills, some decide that it is better to let the professionals handle it as they are equipped to handle the job quickly and efficiently.

engine oil cap for replacing engine oil

But, if you’re handsy and love fixing things yourself, replacing your own engine oil is definitely a skill worth learning. If you own a newer vehicle, having an OBD2 scanner may come in handy as it can tell you the oil level as well as the oil life status.

Your vehicle's engine consists of many moving parts, and regular oil changes are a key service to ensure that these moving parts are well-lubricated to reduce friction and heat that can damage engine components. Frequent oil changes will also help soak grease and particles that build up over time and tend to gunk up the engine's efficiency.

This is why, over time, with prolonged exposure to engine heat and soaking up of contaminants, your oil will eventually degrade so that it cannot lubricate your engine, and you will need to replace it with new oil.

Conclusion

We cannot emphasize enough that changing your oil on a regular schedule is important to keep your vehicle’s engine operating at the highest level of performance. Many late-model vehicles will have a built-in maintenance minder display that may look like an "oil can" or a description like "service required." These can remind you to schedule an oil change on a regular schedule.

Once the service has been completed, the technician will reset the maintenance minder to provide a reminder for you to schedule maintenance when needed.

When you consider that the typical oil change takes about 30 minutes and possibly an hour if additional services are performed, it is time well spent to ensure your vehicle is well maintained.

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