The fuel prices here in Estonia have reduced remarkably and I can only say good words about this. I don’t know if the direct reason of the reduction is crude oil or just the overall global and local economical descent. Lower consumption pushes prices down, that’s for sure. Ofcourse us, fans of American cars with big engines, are especially happy about it. Now one has to hope that there will be even more reduction in gasoline cost because the cheap barrel price has not shown all of its “power” yet. I’m really curious how things are going to develop in the near future.
The cheapest price of normal gasoline (95 octane) around here is currently 14.25 EEK per liter, this means 1.30 USD or 0.91 EUR.
Three days ago I finally decided to do oil change on the Jeep completely by myself. I’ve thought of it since I bought the vehicle but somehow I just hadn’t taken the action due to a couple of reasons – firstly, I thought I might need a lift and secondly, I didn’t have the proper tool for oil filter removal. Still, oil change seemed like a relatively easy thing to do and I felt like it would be a good time to spend together with my Jeep :) And indeed it was just like that. The job itself was as simple as I imagined although I ran into a few problems. Those who have also always taken their car to service for oil change, hopefully find this little story inspiring and being honest, it saves quite a few bucks as well.
The serviceshop has always used Valvoline 10W-40 Semi-Synthetic in my vehicle but this time I decided to buy the same type of oil from Pennzoil brand cause that’s what one of our American car parts stores promotes. Probably they are all more or less the same products if we don’t talk racing but I kind of liked the Pennzoil colors more than Valvoline, too ;) I also picked up an oil filter cause you’re supposed to replace it on every oil change.
So, the first thing you’re supposed to do – find a good container for the old oil! Not my own idea but a good place for it is an empty canister of window washer fluid. It’s exactly 5 liters so it fits perfectly for the Chrysler 318 engine which holds 4.7 liters of oil. Since the oil starts coming out from the draining hole as soon as you remove the cork, and at a fairly quick rate, the original hole of the window washer canister might be just too small. In upright position there won’t be much room left between the canister and the oil pan anyway. I took a knife and cut a good piece of the canister’s side off and I then got a pretty comfortable container to drain the old oil into. I firstly took a big trash bag and placed it under the engine area for two reasons – I didn’t want to lay on the gravel when crawling under the vehicle and it’s not very nice to have oil floating in our yard either if something should happen and the oil would go past the container. Note: Before beginning with the job, start the engine up and run it for a few minutes so that the oil won’t be too cold, hence very thick. You don’t want to run the engine too long though because hot oil on your hands will certainly be real uncomfortable!
The cork is removed from the oil pan by simply screwing it off – it’s basically a bolt. I had some trouble with it just because I didn’t have the proper wrench for it. I had all the millimeter-size wrenches but the bolt was just between 15-16 mm (I believe the exact size is 5/8 inches) so none of them were useful for me. I had to take our 4Runner and have a quick drive to a tools store in order to find a better tool for it. I finally found the proper one and it was a socket wrench – exactly the one you need. You see, the force required to open the cork is rather much, therefore it was a really bad idea from me to consider a normal wrench in the first place. It’s just too easy to cut off the bolt’s corners this way.
Time to get the oil draining. One more thing to do – open the cork on top of the engine where you fill in new oil, it will make it flow out a bit easier. Now, make sure you have some plastic bag or other material under the engine and the container properly aligned. The oil begins to flow out of the pan immediately in an enjoyable steady line. Just wait until all of the oil has dropped out, it will slowly drain for quite a few minutes once the steady flow ends.
When it feels like everything has come out from the engine, quickly wipe the oil near the draining hole off and insert the cork bolt back. Tighten it relatively strong.
Now it’s time to remove the filter. On most of the cars it should be easily accessible and in my case it was visible from the bottom of the vehicle. It was quite far away from me though which just made the removal a bit harder. On some cars it might be necessary to use a filter removal tool but in this case I could screw it off by hand. It took a lot of force though and it was certainly one of the most uncomfortable moments of the whole job. I did feel like I won’t be able to do it – there was just too little room to make good use of my hand force. Suddenly, the filter came loose. A bunch of oil fell out from there as well so be ready for it and wear some gloves.
Old filter removed, I put it aside and took the new one out of the box. Before screwing the new filter on, make sure that some parts from the old rubber seal have not been left to the engine. Also wipe all the oil off the filter mount and other parts of the engine which unexpectedly had oil drop on them. Now screw the new filter onto the engine and I suggest to check out any tips your car manual has to offer, too. Mine said that once the filter touches the engine surface, you have to continue tightening it 1/2 or max. 3/4 turns. Better not leave it too loose but I did follow those instructions – I want to get the filter off by hand on the next oil change as well.
Finally, you simply got to fill the engine with your new oil. I bought a bigger funnel to make this process as easy and trouble-free as possible. All oil canisters should have a quantity window on the side. Use this to pour the proper amount of oil into your engine. You can find the required amount of oil from your car’s manual. You can also occasionally check the oil level via the engine’s measuring stick. Keep in mind that the indication of the stick is not instant and you should wait a couple of minutes to get an adequate read-out.
Once completely done and oil cap closed, start the engine and let it run for some minutes. Write down the mileage when you changed the oil, mark the information onto the oil change sticker and/or car maintenance logbook. The oil change stickers can be found at the stores which sell engine oil and the place where you bought your oil, should be able to provide you one. The sticker can be placed onto the side of driver’s door. My Jeep has a notification system in the computer which counts down the mileage towards next service, hence oil change. I can reset it back to 11,000 km by holding down the SELECT button. This information is probably not available in the owner’s manual but can be certainly found via Google or from the Service Manual if you have it.
Make sure you also check for any leaks near the oil filter and the draining cork. This should be done after driving around a bit.
That’s it! The process is actually very easy and I think I included most of the important information related to this procedure. I wish you good luck!
Old oil and filter must be taken to a dangerous substances collection point. Goes without saying that you mustn’t leave any of those to a random place. I poured the old oil back to the Pennzoil canister.