Can You Change Oil with One Jack?

Changing the oil in your car is a crucial maintenance task that ensures your engine runs smoothly and efficiently. But what if you only have one jack? Can you change the oil with just one jack?

In this comprehensive guide, we will answer this question and provide you with step-by-step instructions to help you complete this task safely and efficiently.

Can You Change Oil with One Jack? Yes, You Can!

Changing the oil in a vehicle typically requires lifting the front end of the car using a jack to access the oil pan and oil filter. While it is possible to use only one jack to lift the front end of the vehicle, it is not recommended for safety reasons.

Using only one jack can be unstable and unsafe because it may not provide sufficient support to keep the vehicle stable while you work underneath it. If the car were to shift or fall off the jack, it could result in serious injury or damage to the vehicle.

Risks Involved in Using a Single Jack for Change Oil

While it is technically possible, it comes with several significant caveats and risks that you should be aware of.

1. Safety Concerns

The most critical factor to consider when using a single jack is safety. Lifting only one side of your vehicle can result in an unstable and potentially hazardous working environment.

If the car were to tip or fall off the jack, serious injury or even death could occur. Safety should always be the top priority when working on your car.

2. Limited Accessibility

Changing your oil with one jack limits your access to the underside of the vehicle. This can make it challenging to reach the oil drain plug and filter, potentially leading to spills and messy cleanup. It’s also harder to inspect for other maintenance issues or potential leaks.

3. Uneven Weight Distribution

Using a single jack means that your car’s weight is unevenly distributed on one side. This can put excessive stress on the jack and may lead to damage or failure.

Additionally, uneven weight distribution can affect the accuracy of your oil change, potentially leaving old oil in the engine.

4. Risk of Vehicle Damage

Lifting your car with only one jack can put strain on specific components, such as the suspension and frame. Over time, this can cause damage to your vehicle, leading to costly repairs.

Alternatives to Using One Jack

Given the safety concerns and limitations of using just one jack, it’s recommended to follow the traditional method or consider alternative approaches to changing your car’s oil:

1. 2 Jack Stands

The safest method is to use two  jack stands to lift your vehicle evenly. This approach provides stability, reduces the risk of accidents, and allows for proper access to the underside of your car.

2. Ramps

Ramps are an excellent alternative to jacks. They allow you to drive your car onto the ramps, providing a stable platform for performing an oil change. Ramps are easy to use and widely available at auto supply stores.

3. Professional Service

If you’re uncomfortable performing an oil change yourself or lack the necessary equipment, it’s always a wise choice to seek professional automotive service.

Experienced mechanics have the expertise and tools needed to ensure a safe and effective oil change.

How to Safely Change Oil with One Jack

Now that we’ve covered the critical safety precautions, let’s walk through the process of changing oil with one jack:

Step 1: Prepare Your Vehicle

  • Park your car on a level surface to ensure proper drainage.
  • Set the parking brake to prevent any movement and use wheel chocks to further secure the car in place.

Step 2: Access the Engine

  • Open the hood of your vehicle and locate the oil filler cap. This will allow air to flow freely, aiding in the oil draining process.

Step 3: Position the Drain Pan

  • Place an oil drain pan directly underneath the oil drain plug. The pan will catch the old oil as it drains from the engine.

Step 4: Drain the Oil

  • Use a suitable wrench to carefully loosen the oil drain plug. Be cautious as the oil may be hot. Allow the old oil to flow into the drain pan completely.

Step 5: Replace the Drain Plug

  • Once the old oil has drained, replace the drain plug and tighten it with your wrench. Ensure it’s snug but not overtightened, as you don’t want to damage the threads.

Step 6: Add New Oil

  • Pour the appropriate amount of new, clean oil into the engine through the oil filler cap. Refer to your owner’s manual for the correct oil type and quantity.

Step 7: Final Steps

  • Close the hood securely.
  • Start the engine and let it run for a few minutes. This allows the new oil to circulate through the engine.
  • After running the engine, turn it off and wait a few minutes for the oil to settle.
  • Check the oil level using the dipstick and add more oil if necessary. Ensure it falls within the recommended range.

Step 8: Lower the Vehicle

  • Carefully lower your car from the jack stands, ensuring it’s stable and secure.


Changing your car’s oil with just one jack is possible with the right equipment and precautions. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can perform this essential maintenance task safely and efficiently.

Remember always to prioritize safety by using jack stands and following manufacturer recommendations for oil type and quantity. Now, you can enjoy a smoothly running engine and peace of mind knowing you’ve taken good care of your vehicle.


Can I use a single jack to change my car’s oil safely?

Yes, you can, but it’s essential to use jack stands to secure the vehicle while working underneath.

How often should I change my car’s oil?

The frequency of oil changes depends on your car’s make and model, as well as the type of oil you use. Consult your owner’s manual for specific guidelines.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *