How to change oil through a dipstick tube

Updated March 23, 2017

Changing oil through a dipstick tube is an easy way to do an oil change, and on some vehicles removing the oil through the dipstick tube means the vehicle does not even need to be lifted off the ground. In fact, not only is removing the oil through the dipstick tube easier, it even helps you get more of the old oil out of the engine, as the oil does not have to drain around crevices in the oil pan that can prevent proper drainage.

Warm the engine and allow it to reach normal operating temperature. This makes it easier to drain the oil.

Place the drain tube down the dipstick tube. Be sure to remove the dipstick and set it in a place where you can find it later.

Build vacuum pressure. Close the pinch valve on the drain tube so that you build up suction. With the pinch valve closed, pump the collection canister about 50 times so there is enough vacuum pressure to pull out the oil.

Release the pinch valve and allow oil to leave the engine. Depending on the capacity of the oil pan, it can take some time for all the oil to drain into the vacuum's collection canister.

Change the oil filter. While the old oil is being sucked out of the engine, you can change the filter. If the oil filter is on the bottom of the vehicle, put your band-style oil filter wrench on the filter and break it loose. When putting on the new filter, be sure to lubricate it with some clean motor oil. If your vehicle has a canister-type oil filter located on the top of the engine, be sure to use the appropriate socket to break the filter housing loose.

Add new engine oil. With draining completed, remove the vacuum tube from the dipstick housing and replace the dipstick. Next, remove the oil filler on the valve cover (located on the top of the engine), and fill the engine with the amount of oil recommended in the owner's manual.

Check oil level. After filling, replace the oil filler cap and use the dipstick to check the oil level. Remove the dipstick, wipe it clean and reinsert into the tube. The oil level should be between the "add" and "full" marks on the dipstick. If necessary, add more oil gradually and check the dipstick each time you add.


Always properly dispose of the oil in your vacuum pump's collection canister. Many auto parts stores and recycling centres accept used motor oil.

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum pump/topside oil changer
  • Oil filter
  • Oil filter wrench
  • Motor oil
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About the Author

Michael Ryan is a freelance writer with professional experiences in the auto industry and academic training in music. Ryan earned a Bachelor of Arts with honors from Olivet College. Since college, he has been a featured speaker at music conferences at the University of Michigan and Bowling Green State University. Ryan is a published writer, with work featured on websites including eHow and