Oil Extractor- What is an Engine Oil Extractor Pump?

An oil extractor offers a simple and quick way to remove oil from car engines. To learn more about the tool and how to use it, continue below.

The manual oil extractor is one of the most common types of engine oil extractors.
The manual oil extractor is one of the most common types of engine oil extractors.
Resource: https://www.kugaownersclub.co.uk

Draining oil from the engine can be messy and time-consuming. An oil extractor makes the task mess-free, faster, and more convenient. Instead of letting the oil drip down the drain plug, you extract it from the top. This post intends to help you understand the automotive oil extractor pump more deeply; you’ll learn how it works, how to use it, and why you need one for your automobile.

What is an Oil Extractor?

An oil extractor is simply a pumping tool to remove oil from a car engine. It helps siphon old engine oil instead of draining it, which makes the process not only fast but also cleaner and less intimidating. Why would you need to remove engine oil, though, and are oil extractor pumps any good?

IC engines must use oil to run smoothly. When the oil finally gets contaminated by debris and other impurities, you need to change it. But that often means getting under the car. Few car owners would want that. Few mechanics too! Enter the oil extractor pump:

The oil extractor for cars and other vehicles provides a convenient means to empty engine oil. It makes oil changes a breeze but more importantly, DIY-friendly tasks- No need for tools and no awkward positions underneath the car, not to mention the lack of spills.

The electric oil extractor, one of the most usable extractors
The electric oil extractor, one of the most usable extractors
Resource: https://www.yarisworld.com

Oil Extractor Types

Engine oil extractors are classified based on the specific way to power their pumping mechanisms. Common options include the manual oil extractor, electric oil extractor, and the pneumatic oil extractor. You may want to know how these differ and what extractor fits what application. So here, the different oil extractor types in more detail.

Manual Oil Extractor

A manual oil extractor pump is a hand operated extraction device. These are cheaper to buy, and a popular choice for those on a tight budget. They also do not require any power source and can be easily carried from one location to another. If you’re looking for a portable oil extractor that can be useful anywhere, the manual type could be your best option.

Electric Oil Extractor

The electric oil extractor pump is powered by connecting it the car battery (or any other battery). Electric extractors for car use are compact, lightweight, easy to use, and can pump large quantities of engine oil. Because of its small size, a typical 12V electric oil extractor usually requires an external reservoir to empty the siphoned oil.

Pneumatic Oil Extractor

This is an air-operated oil extractor. It uses shop air to work, usually by connecting to an air compressor unit. Most versions of the pneumatic oil extractor pump combine the option for a manual mechanism and come with a handle for pumping with the hands. This construction makes the tool more useful in different situations.

 An engine oil extractor works by sucking oil from deep in the oil sump
An engine oil extractor works by sucking oil from deep in the oil sump
Resource: https://www.audizine.com

How does an Oil Extractor Work?

A car oil extractor is basically a vacuum pump that consists of these parts: oil siphoning tube to draw oil from the engine’s oil sump, a reservoir to hold siphoned oil, and a mechanism to create vacuum pressure. Some types of the tool, such as the electric oil extractor, may not have an oil reservoir. Despite that, the operating principle, which is to create vacuum pressure, does not change.

This is what happens when using oil extractor pump equipment.

  • When extracting oil, the siphoning tube is inserted into the oil sump in the engine (via the dipstick tube).
  • Working the extractor’s pumping mechanism or connecting it to shop air then produces a partial vacuum in the unit.
  • The partial oil extractor vacuum causes a negative or extremely low pressure.
  • The pressure difference causes atmospheric pressure to act on the oil in the sump. This results in the oil moving up the tube in a process known as siphoning.
  • The oil continues to flow until the pressure balances out, until there’s no more oil to extract, or until the pump stops operating.

An oil extractor does not just remove engine oil. It can be a fluid extractor for almost any car service job including evacuating gear oil. You can also use on all kinds of vehicles that require oil changes from cars and trucks to lawnmowers and marine vehicles.

An oil extractor drains engine oil from the top
An oil extractor drains engine oil from the top
Resource: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RN93fWHL6zU

Oil Extractor vs. Drain Plug

If you’re not siphoning oil using an oil extractor pump, you can only drain it via the drain plug. Which of the two methods work best and which is more preferable? Clearly, the fluid extractor method offers more benefits. The advantages of using an extractor than just draining the oil include:

Oil Extractors save Time

The extraction method is quicker and almost effortless. Even when using a manual extractor, you only need to pump a few times and watch as oil rushes into the reservoir. Using an automatic oil extractor such as the pneumatic and electric types is even quicker. Draining engine oil does not only take longer, but requires more effort on your part.

Oil Extractors are cleaner

You’re assured of a cleaner job when using extraction that when draining through the drain plug. That means a hassle-free oil change job where you do not have messes to clean. You will also not get your hands and clothing soiled by the oil.

Extraction is Eco-friendly

Using an oil extractor is also environmentally friendly. You do not pollute the air with spills and other harmful particles changing your car’s oil. On the other hand, draining oil from under the car can mean unsightly puddles of spilt oil.

Image showing how to use an oil extractor to siphon engine oil
Image showing how to use an oil extractor to siphon engine oil
Resource: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1t06wO3MMc

How to Use an Oil Extractor

The oil evacuator pump is quite simple to use. No need for any special tools like with draining the engine via the drain plug which usually requires some sort of wrench or socket set. Plus, the more you use it, the better you will get at extracting your engine oil. Here is a step by step guide on how to use an oil extractor.

Start by warming the engine for a few minutes. This will cause the oil to mix with sludge and other debris and ensure everything gets extracted. It will also thin the oil for easier removal. Allow the engine to cool for a minute or two- you do not want the oil hot either- then proceed as below.

Step 1: Prepare Oil Extractor

Make sure the oil extractor is correctly assembled. Identify the oil extractor tube to use. Most extractors come with several tubes of different sizes. Find the one that best fits your type of automobile or application.

Step 2: Inset Oil Extractor Tube

Pop up the hood and find the dipstick. Next, remove the dipstick and insert your extraction tube. Be sure to lower it to the bottom of the oil sump which is normally around 2 to 3 feet down the dipstick.

Step 3: Connect Oil Extractor

This step depends on the type of extractor you’re using. Connect an electric oil extractor to the source of power if using one. Connect also its discharge tube. If using the pneumatic type, connect it to the air compressor.

Step 4: Start Oil Extractor

Press the on button on your electric extractor or turn on the air compressor valve if using an air-operated oil extractor. If using a manual type, pump the handle a few times then stop after building up adequate extraction pressure. Repeat the process a few times more.

Step 5: Stop Oil Extractor

Turn off the oil extractor when all the oil has been sucked up. You will easily know by the guttural sound or bubbles appearing in the extraction tube. You may need to pressure the pressure release valve if your type of oil extractor comes with one. This will help release any remaining pressure.

Finally, remove the extraction tube and wipe any oil dripping out of the tube with a clean rug. Replace the dipstick. Before storing your oil extractor, it’s important to clean it. Read about how to clean an oil extractor safely here.

New oil vacuum extractor unit: unboxing and testing
New oil vacuum extractor unit: unboxing and testing
Resource: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkCKqZroI9g

Best Oil Extractor? How to Choose Oil Extractor Pump

The best oil extractor should assure you of a hassle-free and efficient oil change job. That means it must be able to pump the oil quickly and effectively. It also means a careful approach on your part when buying one, so you do not end up with the wrong type or model. There are also key features to take into account, among other things. Let’s look at each.

Oil Extractor Capacity

An oil change pump extractor can use a reservoir ranging from as small as 1.5 liters to as large as up to 95 liters. The best engine oil extractor should match your need. For personal oil changes, you’re better off owning a 4-6 liter extractor. Larger units are best used for commercial purposes, by mechanics.

Oil Extractor Size

Find a small and portable oil extractor if you will be carrying it around most of the time. A large unit if you intend to use it at a repair shop. Small extractors are also cheaper to buy, and less cumbersome to store. But they do not siphon much oil and are not the best types if you have large quantities of motor oil to remove.

Oil Extractor Price

The oil extractor price, as you can expect, will vary based on many factors. These include the type of unit you’re looking for and where you purchase it from. If buying online, we suggest that you research the different prices available. Remember also, not to go for the cheapest options. These may be of inferior quality.

Manual or Automatic?

If you’re looking for convenience, then an electric oil extractor pump is your ideal choice. It draws oil quickly and requires no effort to operate. A manual oil extractor is usable anywhere since it doesn’t require a power source. For a more versatile unit, you may want a pneumatic extractor that you can also operate manually.

Other Features

Minor features to look out for include shut off valves, pressure release valves, and capabilities that increase the unit’s effectiveness and safety. You will also want to choose the right extractor material. The best engine oil extractor will be made from materials that will not break easily or corrode.

Where to Buy Oil Extractor Pumps

Oil extractors are popular oil change tools and easily available. You can find them in many retail auto parts stores in your area. You can also buy your oil extractor online. It depends on your preferences but, most importantly, the advantages of each option based on your situation.

You can own an engine oil extractor pump for as little as $40. However, that depends on the type of extractor. Some versions of the tool are more expensive than others and go up to $100 or higher. Large commercial oil extractors for shop use cost more.


An engine oil extractor is one of the most useful automotive tools to own, whether you’re an auto technician or car owner who loves fixing your own car or cars. Using an engine oil extractor pump instead of the traditional drain plug method saves you both time and money. You only need to find the best oil extractor for your situation or type of car.

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