From the obsessive compulsive department:

I've been changing my own oil by driving up on a pair of ramps, draining and filling. Based on a slight overfill condition after adding the specified amount of oil and returning the vehicle to level, I know I'm not getting all the old oil out. This makes sense, since the drain plug is towards the front of the oil pan. Oil must be pooling at the back of the pan due to the angle from the ramps. It can't be more than a couple or three ounces.

I'm not worried about the slight excess. Shaving a couple ounces off the amount added next time will put it spot on. I don't like the idea of leaving a measurable amount of dirty oil if I can avoid it, especially on the one vehicle that only gets out of the garage a few months a year.

I suppose I can try and get another pair of ramps under the rear wheels if they'll fit. Jacking up the rear to level the vehicle would work, too, I guess. Any other ideas? Am am I the only nut that worries about a couple ounces of dirty oil?

  • I'm more worried about leaving the heaviest particles of junk sitting in the back of the oil pan, could be metal particles that you might want to learn about. A little extra dirty oil is one (minor?) thing, but heavy pieces of "stuff" is another. [old post, but got new answers today]
    – Xen2050
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 13:55
  • My car takes 4.7 quarts, so I always save the last .3 from the previous oil change and dump it in before replacing the drain plug, pushing that little bit of residual oil out of the pan. Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 17:25
  • You're replying to a 2 year old comment, and saying it is "not worth" it when no one said that. Nonsense here lmao
    – DJSpud
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 20:01

8 Answers 8


For OCD you can place a flat pan below the oil drain and lower the front wheels to get the remaining oil out, then jack it up again.

Though I would not worry about couple of ounces in your place. Even if your car is level old oil will still remain in the engine (other cavities, thin film, etc.).

For example in my engine that takes 4L of fresh oil, 2 ounces is less than 1.5% of it.

In case you need to flush the old oil completely (e.g. after filling with wrong type of oil) you could use a oil flush mixture (drain old, refill with flusher, idle 5-10 min, drain, fill new oil).

  • 4
    You'll never get all the oil out anyway - a lot of it is left coating the innards of the engine! I'll second the "don't worry about it" comments.
    – Nick C
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 10:25
  • 3
    To take Nicks comment a step further... My drains are on the back of the oil pan (on both cars), so it's the lowest point while jacked up in the front. Books says a wet fill should be 4.5qt. I only put in 4qt and they still both show 0.2-0.3 overfilled when I'm done... You're not going to get all the oil out no matter what you do! :-) Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 12:04

Use a pump to remove the oil, and skip the ramps -- unless needed for the filter. I can not imagine it makes any difference-- some oil is left no matter how well you drain. Use better oil or change more often are other answers. The oil gets dirty immediately anyway so I wouldn't want to do anything that could be unsafe like raising all 4 wheels -- just buy a good jack and stands and lower the car to the ground or go with the pump if it bothers you. I'd forget the "problem".


You can get more oil out of the bottom if you take pan off once it's empty. The difficulty of doing this will vary by car, of course. Just be careful if the oil is hot. And you will probably need a new gasket for when you put it back on.

  • 1
    This is completely unnecessary unless you've got contaminants such as sand in your oil, and then you'd need to tear apart a lot more than just the pan. Commented Apr 17, 2012 at 9:57
  • 3
    @Kevin Vermeer I know that. But it does answer the question of getting as much oil out as possible. Note, too, that some service manuals as recent as only 25 years ago still recommended doing this.
    – staticsan
    Commented Apr 17, 2012 at 23:39
  • This is not good advice. The oil pan can be very difficult to remove in some vehicles because many other components need to be removed first. This should only be considered if the oil pan needs to be replaced, or as @KevinVermeer said if you have contaminants in your oil.
    – rviertel
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 17:15
  • obviously this was meant as a joke (5 years ago you know)
    – agentp
    Commented Mar 25, 2017 at 3:28

You don't need to worry about draining every last drop of oil. Just make sure that you change the oil and filter regularly every 50,000 miles as I do. My 4 cars perform as new with an average of 165,000 miles, 2 diesel and 2 gasoline.

  • 4
    Every 50,000 miles? Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 17:13
  • Think he meant 5,000. Modern cards don't need oil changes as often thought, 15-20K is very reasonable. There is no scientific evidence suggesting that more frequent oil changes translate to performance or longevity gains - albeit manufacturers, and oil sellers suggesting otherwise. Commented Nov 11, 2020 at 1:15

Back the car up on the ramps so the rear wheels are up, if that allows the plug and filter to be accessible. Be sure to put good (not plastic) hocks on the front and test the integrity before you go under. Remember the weight is in the front and if your not on a completely level pavement it will roll off the ramps and then your bug food. Krona solution btw is the right one, but not really answers the question.


don't to nothing with your car let it stand on a leveled place then open the bolt and drain it out or you can rise it up a little bit up form the behind and drain it out this will work.


Oil should drain better on ramps in my opinion due to the angle. Think about a square shape container and the drain hole at the bottom. Usally vehicle drain plugs stay at the side note exactly at the bottom of the oil pan. I'm pretty sure on ramps oil would drain properly.

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    – Community Bot
    Commented Nov 13, 2021 at 21:19

This has probably gone around the table a few times by now, but thought I'd add my method, for any who may be interested. When I change my oil (2012 Ram 1500 5.7H), I raise truck for access to plug and filter only, do the draining, replace plug, drop truck down, add 1 quart of fresh CHEAP 5W20 ($3.00), run two minutes (just to flush old film, and what is caught in the nooks etc.) Re-drain, replace plug, change oil filter, drop truck, fill to proper level ALWAYS. There is a reason for the oil level lines, they run BEST when filled to prescribed level. Doing it this way, I get a CHEAP FLUSH every time I change the oil, AND I get MOST of yesterday out of the crankcase (I don't think we'll EVER get out ALL old residue). I use Mobile One FULL synthetic (5W20) and FRAM Oil Filter, (Ultra Synthetic XG2 24,000km). Hope this tidbit helps someone out. :) Sgb/unidrv

  • 2
    Just making sure I am reading this right, you drain the oil, and it's a truck so it's probably 5 or 6 quarts, put one quart back in and then run the engine when it's short 5 quarts of oil? And this doesn't result in a seized engine or short engine life caused by way more friction in the parts than they were designed for? If I'm reading this right, I can't imaging doing this. How low is your oil pressure when you do this?
    – cdunn
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 17:35
  • 1
    You should not run your engine with only 1 qt of oil in it. If that isn't what you are saying, please edit your answer.
    – Mobius
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 18:18
  • Please don't run your engine with only one qt in it Commented Mar 29, 2022 at 21:35

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