How Long Does it Take for Oil to Drain Back into the Pan

The maintenance of a car is a continuous and lifelong process. As long as you are still using the car, you should do it committedly.

The engine oil is something you do not want to get bad in your car. It breaks down and wears out with time in the engine so, after some time, it is necessary for you to change it and replace it with new oil. Therefore, while doing an oil changehow long does it take for oil to drain back into the pan?

The engine oil will take no less than 5 minutes and no more than 10 minutes on normal occasions, to drain completely into the pan.

Can I Use Pan or Rubber to Drain Oil from My Car?

You can use either a pan or a rubber to drain oil from your car. All you have to do is to ensure that the pan or rubber is big enough for the oil that is to enter into it to avoid spilling all over the place.

I’m sure you already know how beneficial engine oil is in your car’s engine. The oil lubricates the engine thus reducing friction.

It also acts as a heat absorber that allows the internal parts of the engine to work together effectively without overheating.

With time, the engine oil breaks down and wears out. When this happens, it is no longer effective. It cannot lubricate the engine well and perform its heat-absorbing functions. Every vehicle owner should ensure to change the engine oil before it wears out to avoid engine problems.

Reasons to Always Change your Engine Oil When Due

There are many more reasons you should change your engine oil by draining.

  • Firstly, it helps in keeping your engine clean
  • It also results in longer engine life
  • It protects the other parts of your engine
  • It gives your car better gas mileage
  • It helps your car to pass vehicle emissions tests thus protecting the environment in the long run
  • It improves the overall performance of your vehicle’s engine, to mention but a few.

How often should you change your oil by draining it? The answer to that depends on your way of driving, how old your engine is, and where you live.

While some suggest changing to synthetic oil after 100k miles, a lot of mechanics advised that you change your oil every 3,000 miles. Some even suggested you change it every 5,000 miles.

Now, back to the question, can you use a pan or rubber to drain oil from your car? Before you start the draining process, you should make sure you have the right tools and equipment necessary to carry it out.

You will need a socket wrench, an oil filter wrench, an oil catcher, a pair of rubber gloves, newspapers, and some piece of old clothing or rags.

The next step is for you to warm the engine of the car. You can do this by driving it around for a while or just running it in a static position and accelerating on the spot.

What this does is, it allows the oil to heat up and drain out much faster. You should allow the engine to get hot as possible so that the oil can drain out in a very fast manner.

When you have gotten the engine to a very high temperature, park the vehicle on a flat surface and turn it off. Give it the time of 5 – 10 minutes to fully let the oil drain into the oil pan.

You might need to jack the car up. Some big vehicles like Sport Utility Vehicles and pick-up trucks might have enough space for you to work underneath the car but other smaller cars will not have much room.

You can make use of some jack stands or other equipment to raise the car up so you can work effectively beneath it.

Then, you need to find where the oil drain plug is under the vehicle. The oil drain plug is a very wide nut that is resident at the bottom of your vehicle’s oil pan.

It is very close to the ground. If you have a hard time finding it, you should consult your vehicle’s owner manual or ask a mechanic to show you where it is.

When you locate it, make use of the socket wrench to loosen the nut. As you loosen it, make sure you do not use your bare hand to catch it. This is because it will be very hot so just let it fall into the oil pan and allow the oil to flow out directly.

In about two to three minutes, all the oil should have drained out. It is not a bad idea for you to lay newspapers all around the floor or rags so that the oil is drained out does not fall onto the bare ground and stain it.

How Long Does It Take for Oil to Drain Back into the Pan?

When you turn off a warm engine, you need to wait for five minutes minimum for the engine oil to drain from the oil pan before you replace it.

If you pull out the dipstick, you need to hold it vertically with the end pointing downwards in order for the engine oil to stay down on the dipstick. If that is not done, what will result in an inaccurate reading of the oil level.

How to Check Oil Level?

A lot of people make mistakes when checking the oil level in their engines. It is not difficult to take an accurate reading but one must be careful.

An incorrect reading will make you think that the engine oil in your car is being consumed too fast or too slow.

To get an accurate oil level reading, make sure that the vehicle is on a level surface; very plain ground.

Give a warm engine time of around five minutes after it is switched off for the engine oil to drain completely into the oil pan.

Then withdraw the dipstick. While doing this, ensure you place it in a vertical position with its bottom pointing downwards in order for the engine oil not to track back up on the dipstick which will result in an incorrect reading.

If you observe a low oil level, top it up by 0.1 liters and do it slowly. Do not rush to add more oil otherwise the oil level will be too high.

When you change the oil, try not to add more oil up to the recommended oil level. You should only top up the oil to the minimum point. After doing that, switch on the engine and leave it on till the oil pressure comes up.

Once you have switched off the engine, wait for some minutes to allow the engine oil to flow back slowly into the pan. When you have done this, observe the oil level again and add more oil to the minimum mark.

How Long Does It Take for Engine Oil to Settle?

The engine oil will take about ten (10) to fifteen (15) minutes to settle, that is the same time the engine will take to cool as well.

You need to allow the engine to settle properly. Professionals advise that the engine of the car be off for a few minutes to allow the engine oil to settle before starting it.

You need to check the oil level while the engine is hot and also check it when the engine is cold. Oil level can only be measured accurately when the oil gets to the bottom of the oil pan of the engine.

How Much Oil Should be on the Dipstick?

To know how much oil you need: the space between the marks on the dipstick measures around 1 liter of oil. If your oil mark happens to be at the minimum mark, you will need one liter of oil to be added but if the oil mark is just at the halfway mark, you will need half a liter of oil to be added to it.


With this knowledge of draining the engine oil from your car, you should endure that you check the oil level and status of the oil in your car regularly. Bad oil affects the engine and can damage the other internal parts of the engine.