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You're Probably Pouring Your Motor Oil Wrong

The correct way to pour a quart of motor oil isn't intuitive, but the spout is offset for a reason. Do it the right way and you'll never spill a drop.

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a photo showing the wrong way to fill your motor oil when changing your car's oil. the correct way is to put the spout at the top of the bottle, so the oil pours smoothly and doesn't spill or drip.
Photo: joebelanger (modified) (Getty Images)

Changing your car’s oil is critical to keep your motor running smoothly. While most folks take their vehicle to the dealer or a local mechanic, doing it yourself isn’t terribly difficult and will keep some money in your pocket. However, the best way you pour the oil into the motor is probably not what you expect.

You don’t have to be very mechanically inclined to change your own oil, though you will want to know which oil is the right one for your car. While removing that filter can be a real bugger sometimes, the trick is not to put it on so darn tight. A quart of oil can be had for as little as $6 from your local auto parts store, making an oil change one of the more affordable tasks you can take on yourself. It’s even possible to really squeeze those pennies and do your own oil change for about $20.


A quart of motor oil has the spout offset to the side instead of in the middle like most vessels that contain liquid. Normally whenever we pour a liquid our brain tells us to put the spout closer to the receiving vessel to avoid spills...but this is not how you do it for motor oil.

The explanation comes via CarDiy on YouTube.

or Why are oil bottles designed like this?

I’m sure most of you folks that do your own maintenance regularly have already figured this one out. But I was today years old when I learned why motor oil jugs have this clever but unintuitive design that prevents the oil from “glugging”. Though it does make me curious about those “blinker fluid” bottles.


Just remember, when changing your own oil make sure your jack stands are sturdy. Also, be sure to dispose of your old motor oil correctly as it can not only be dangerous to you but to the environment as well. Ask your local auto parts store if they have a disposal option.