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DIY oil change

2939 Views 31 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  JFox562
Never done an oil change in my life. Had all the right tools and consumables. No issues at all. Even torqued plug to 30ft/lbs. Cost: Mobile 0w16 on sale $31.99, filter $8.10, washer $1.50, environment fee $0.35, total $41.94 plus tax = $47.39 (US $ 35.53) .

Almost had fun. Took me over one hour. It’s tight under the truck, had to add 4 inch thick planks. The one thing I know for sure, everything was done by the book/specs. Got the right oil, right oil level, correct torque.

Would I do it again? It’s physically hard to do. Maybe next time I’ll go to Mr Lube, stay in the car, no appointment, no waiting, clean pants and sneakers – what’s 100 bucks more?

What do you guys think?
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Understood. I noticed that two notches for a jack stand close to the wheel. Did not see that before. When I do my winter/summer tire changeover I always use the jack point on the axles. Quite convenient, like this I can do both front wheels and then rear wheels at the same time. To raise my Rav4 for the oil change I used two 2x6 wooden planks for an increased height of about 4 inches. Two more inches would be better. I have 2 jack stands that I could have used ..now I know, thanks. If I decide to do more DIY oil changes I’ll buy some ramps.
I've got a pair of Rhino ramps and I've found the jack + jackstands to be quicker and easier to use. Since you'll still have to use jackstands with ramps to be safe, one of the drawbacks is that their length prevents you from being able to place the jackstands under the front pinch welds. They also tend to slip especially on a garage floor. A quality jack like the Daytonas take only 3-5 pumps to get the vehicle to the necessary height, and you also have the benefit of having a jack to support the vehicle compared to only two jackstands when using ramps. One more thing, with a jack you can simply lower the vehicle to have it level when filling oil whereas with ramps you won't be able to turn on the vehicle and lower it until after filling the oil.
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One more thing, with a jack you can simply lower the vehicle to have it level when filling oil whereas with ramps you won't be able to turn on the vehicle and lower it until after filling the oil.
Can you just fill 4 quarters, start the engine, get out of ramps, shut the engine off, and adjust oil level by filling more oil?
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Can you just fill 4 quarters, start the engine, get out of ramps, shut the engine off, and adjust oil level by filling more oil?
Yea, I just find it easier to twist a bar and lower it in seconds without having to get in and out of the car. Then to check for leaks you can raise it back up in seconds as opposed to having to move the wheel chocks and readjust the ramps again. And of course it's also easier to fill up on the ground vs. raised up on ramps. I guess these are minor inconveniences, but IMO if you've already got a good floor jack there isn't much point in getting ramps.
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How many DIY oil changers actually feel the oil filter to make sure it's getting warm after you put the new oil in and start the engine?

This was a standard that my dad taught me. He said that one, it makes sure the oil filter internal valves are not stuck and two, the new oil is entering and exiting the new filter not just circulating unfiltered oil inside the engine.
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I've done the oil changes on my previous car, but as I leased the RAV4 brand new, oil changes for the first 3 years or 35k were free at Toyota so took advantage. Once I bought the car at the end of the lease (just happened this past December) I started planning on doing my own oil changes, so I bought the oil and filter to be at hand when time comes.. I had the local Lexus do the last one a few days ago simply because it;s winter and I was too lazy to get under the car in cold weather, but next one should be due in spring so I'm up. Once I do it one or twice I suspect I will keep doing it year round out of habit.
And yes, I find it very rewarding and satisfying being able to do it myself. I have already done a few things to the RAV4 once I purchase it: changing brakes was the biggest job so far. I am forced to deal with a thermostat change these days and I was initally planning on doing it myself but upon some research it turned out to be more complex than I am willing to cope with, so there are limits on my enthusiasm ha ha.
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I am forced to deal with a thermostat change these days and I was initally planning on doing it myself but upon some research it turned out to be more complex than I am willing to cope with, so there are limits on my enthusiasm ha ha.
Thermostat is pretty doable if you can lift car high enough.
1. Remove 2 underbody covers
2. Drain the coolant from radiator
3. Disconnect 2 coolant hoses from thermostat
4. Remove 2 bolts (slim 1/4 drive ratchet with 3" extension).
5. Turn out thermostat housing and disconnect electrical connector
6. Clean mating surface on the engine side
7. Install new thermostat.
8. Fill and bleed coolant ( approximately 4 liters).
9. Reinstall underbody panels
10. Test drive
11. Let coolant to cool down and top off expansion tank.

I personally don't like to do this with jack stands but if car can be lifted to the level where I can sit under it then I am OK.
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I remember looking into this last year, pic for reference. I think I just removed the small front cover for this pic, I wonder if removing the other larger covers allows you to stick a second hand up around the subframe. Looks like it should

Hood Motor vehicle Automotive tire Automotive design Tread
Automotive tire Asphalt Bumper Road surface Automotive exterior
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Never done an oil change in my life. Had all the right tools and consumables. No issues at all. Even torqued plug to 30ft/lbs. Cost: Mobile 0w16 on sale $31.99, filter $8.10, washer $1.50, environment fee $0.35, total $41.94 plus tax = $47.39 (US $ 35.53) .

Almost had fun. Took me over one hour. It’s tight under the truck, had to add 4 inch thick planks. The one thing I know for sure, everything was done by the book/specs. Got the right oil, right oil level, correct torque.

Would I do it again? It’s physically hard to do. Maybe next time I’ll go to Mr Lube, stay in the car, no appointment, no waiting, clean pants and sneakers – what’s 100 bucks more?

What do you guys think?
Congrats on your first DIY oil change. The first is always the hardest/most time consuming. Once you get into the swing of things, you’ll have it down to about 10 minutes from start to finish.

Ways of making it quicker/easier:
1. Ramps instead of jacking it up.
2. Some sort of oil change valve instead of using the drain plug.
3. Using a claw type oil filter wrench instead of anything else. Trust me on this one, I’ve tried them all. The sub $5 claw type wrench at Walmart beats them all.

As for cost, you can find oil deals during the rebate seasons. I haven’t spent more than $15 on any synthetic oil change for my RAV4. I’m at 60K miles.
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Thanks - quite proud of changing the oil by myself. You are right, the next time will be a lot easier and faster.
I am using 2x6 boards as ramps, to raise the truck by 4 inches. It works for me. Next time to remove the cover panel I'll
use an electric screwdriver. I have no problem with the drain plug. To remove the filter I have a wrench cap, which does a good job.
The only issue is the handling of the old oil. I use an empty laundry detergent can, but it's hard to transfer it from the pan. Also it seems not all lube places accept old oil. So I brought it to the municipal collection center.
Also I have decided to it again in September. So I'm looking at 2 oil changes a year, spring and fall. Currently checking for sales for the Mobil1, I get the filter and washer from the dealer.
Thanks - quite proud of changing the oil by myself. You are right, the next time will be a lot easier and faster.
I am using 2x6 boards as ramps, to raise the truck by 4 inches. It works for me. Next time to remove the cover panel I'll
use an electric screwdriver. I have no problem with the drain plug. To remove the filter I have a wrench cap, which does a good job.
The only issue is the handling of the old oil. I use an empty laundry detergent can, but it's hard to transfer it from the pan. Also it seems not all lube places accept old oil. So I brought it to the municipal collection center.
Also I have decided to it again in September. So I'm looking at 2 oil changes a year, spring and fall. Currently checking for sales for the Mobil1, I get the filter and washer from the dealer.
I've brought my used oil to AutoZone in the past. I would imagine that most of the auto parts stores accept used oil; unless something has changed.
Thanks - quite proud of changing the oil by myself. You are right, the next time will be a lot easier and faster.
I am using 2x6 boards as ramps, to raise the truck by 4 inches. It works for me. Next time to remove the cover panel I'll
use an electric screwdriver. I have no problem with the drain plug. To remove the filter I have a wrench cap, which does a good job.
The only issue is the handling of the old oil. I use an empty laundry detergent can, but it's hard to transfer it from the pan. Also it seems not all lube places accept old oil. So I brought it to the municipal collection center.
Also I have decided to it again in September. So I'm looking at 2 oil changes a year, spring and fall. Currently checking for sales for the Mobil1, I get the filter and washer from the dealer.
All O'Reilly and AutoZone will accept oil, but many employees are very lazy to empty the containers so they'll lie and say their container is full and they're not accepting. Not the case with Walmart, at some you can just leave the old oil at the Auto Center desk and let someone know. Only downside is they only accept oil and not used transmission fluid or used coolant.
The last time I brought some oil to AutoZone, they were busy and the guy told me to go to the back room and empty my container into their storage tank myself. It as clearly marked so I couldn't have missed it. Process was simple, emptied and walked out, didn't even have to buy anything.
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