How to Change a Diesel Oil Filter

The process of changing a diesel oil filter is basically the same for most gas and diesel powered vehicles. The frequency of changing your oil filter depends on the manufacturer’s recommendations and the condition of your vehicle. However, since a part of the engine's oil always remains in the filter when the oil is drained, it is beneficial to replace the oil filter every time you change the oil.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Drain pan
  • Filter wrench
  • New diesel oil filter
  • New drain plug gasket
  • Oil 
  • Car jack
  • Flashlight
  • Gloves
  • Old rag or newspapers

Step 1 - Choose the Correct Oil Filter and Oil

Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding filter type, oil type, and oil grade for your car. Use a high-quality engine oil filter. Cheap filters wear out more quickly and may not properly keep contaminants out of the engine.

Step 2 - Remove the Old Filter

Park the car on level ground, set the brake on, and block the rear wheels on both sides to prevent rolling. If the car engine is hot, give it a little while to cool. Make sure you’re able to go underneath your vehicle. If not, use a jack to raise it up. Use a flashlight if needed. Once you’re under the car, locate the oil filter—the filter location will depend on the manufacturer and the type of car. Place the drain pan under the car’s oil reservoir. Remove the drain plug using a socket wrench. Some engines have an oil drain tube with a plug on the end. Let the oil drain to the prepared pan. Be careful not to let it spill on your face or into your eyes when you’re under the car. Unscrew the filter and remove the old gasket. If you put the new gasket over the old gasket on the engine block, it will start a severe motor oil leak. Clean the area where the filter was in contact with the engine block.

Step 3 - Install the New Filter

Put a few drops of oil on your finger and spread it around the top of the new gasket to ensure good sealing. Screw in the new oil filter and replace the drain plug on the bottom. Refill your engine with new oil until the oil dipstick indicates that it’s full, and then put the cap on the oil tank. Start the engine and allow it to run for at least 5 minutes. Check for leaks. When the oil filter is replaced, it’s empty and needs to be filled with oil while the engine is running. Switch off the engine and recheck the oil level to make sure it's filled up.

Step 4 - Precautions

When you’re working under the truck, take all safety precautions. Be careful not to spill oil everywhere and don't smoke while replacing the filter. Dispose the waste oil and filter appropriately.