Newbie Oil Change Questions ...

Joined
Aug 4, 2009
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Idaho, USA
When I change my oil ... 1. When I drain the oil, should the oil be hot or cold? Does it matter? 2. When I check if the the oil is "full" via the dip stick, should the oil be hot or cold? Does it matter? 3. Before I check if the oil is "full" via the dip stick, should I turn the car off and let it sit for a minute (or 2, 3, 5?) before I check if the oil is full to allow the oil to drain some down to the pan? Does it matter? 4. I have seen those wheel "ramps" that you could drive your car up on and change your oil. This would obviously put your vehicle at an angle when you are draining. Is this a big deal? 5. How do you get rid of the old oil? Yes, I could just put it in my garbage and the garbage man would probably not even see it, but in efforts to be environmentally responsible, how does the average home owner get rid of their used oil? I can "hear" the thoughts now ... this guy is asking what? ... this guy does not deserve to be near a vehicle - even to drive! ... ;\) A guy has to start for somewhere ... be nice ... ;\)
 
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Jul 23, 2009
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Durham, NC
1.hot 2.check when cold for most accurate (reproducible) result but fill it such that when it is warm (expands with heat) that it is not above the top mark...overfilling engine is not good (arguably worse than underfilling it) 3. 5-10 minutes sounds about right 4. This is good since most (not all) pans plugs point backwards so you will drain every last drop. 5. take it to AZ/AA for free disposal
 
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Portland, OR
where in Idaho are you from? I agree you do have to start somewhere. 1.hot is the consensus to have it drain easyer and get crud out. 2.3. Hot, let it sit for 5-10 min before checking that makes it easyer to see the level 4.no, for most cars drain angle dosent matter but ramps or jackstands give you more room to work under the car and are essential if you drive a car as opposed to truck suv. 5.You can take the oil to most autoparts stores and they will recycle it. In my city you put your oil in old gallon mik jugs and label it motor oil and leave it next to your trash can and the garbage man takes it.
 
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 Originally Posted By: 09rexwagon
take it to AZ/AA for free disposal
so, Arizona chapters of Alcoholics Anonymous take used oil? :)
 
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May 25, 2005
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Calgary Canada
Welcome! I'll give you my thoughts: 1. Hot 2. Usually hot (check owner's manual) 3. I'd wait a minute or two if the oil is hot. It will drain down fairly quickly. 4. This is not a big deal since usually the oil drain bolt is at the back of the pan. Using ramps in this case is helpful. 5. Do not put it in the garbage. Local recycling can be found in the yellow pages. Usually the store that sold you the oil will take used oil. Auto parts places usually do too, and if they don't they can tell you where to take it. Please dispose of it properly! In asking these questions you more deserving of being near a vehicle than most. Doing your own maintenance is gratifying and economical. Don't be afraid to ask questions here, this is for the most part a very friendly community, and insults are not generally tolerated. Have fun!
 

TheOak

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 Originally Posted By: 09rexwagon
... 5. take it to AZ/AA for free disposal
Thanks for the super fast reply! Sadly, I do not know what "AZ/AA" means? Alcoholics Anonymous really takes this stuff??? ;\)
 
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 Originally Posted By: TheOak
 Originally Posted By: 09rexwagon
... 5. take it to AZ/AA for free disposal
Thanks for the super fast reply! Sadly, I do not know what "AZ/AA" means? Alcoholics Anonymous really takes this stuff??? ;\)
Autozone and Advance Auto (parts stores) if I am not mistaken.
 

TheOak

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 Originally Posted By: ryland
where in Idaho are you from? ... In my city you put your oil in old gallon mik jugs and label it motor oil and leave it next to your trash can and the garbage man takes it.
Nampa, Idaho. Hmmm ... I should call my garbage company and check this out ... that would make things easy! Great feedback!
 Originally Posted By: Jim 5
Welcome! ... In asking these questions you more deserving of being near a vehicle than most. Doing your own maintenance is gratifying and economical. Don't be afraid to ask questions here, this is for the most part a very friendly community, and insults are not generally tolerated. Have fun!
Thanks! Thanks all for the super fast replies, awesome answers, and the great ideas!
 
Joined
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Boston, MA
If AZ/AAP give you any grief (they sometimes do to me), I've found that a lot of repair shops will be happy to take that waste oil for their waste oil burners.
 
Joined
Nov 8, 2003
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Cape Cod, MA
Don't know about Idaho, but in Massachusetts, any store that sells motor oil is required to accept used oil back from its customers, as long as you have the receipt showing you bought it there.
 
Joined
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Durham, NC
 Originally Posted By: jhMalibu
If AZ/AAP give you any grief (they sometimes do to me), I've found that a lot of repair shops will be happy to take that waste oil for their waste oil burners.
Why would they give you [censored]? As if you go in there, dump your oil and walk out without buying something? Well I think there are laws saying they have to take it back. Not sure if it is state to state or federal. I do it all the time.
 

TheOak

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In my case, I use AMSOIL; hence, I would be taking my oil there (as in some sort of parts/repair establishment), "dumping" it and more than likely not purchasing something. I suppose in a case like WalMart though ... I get stuff there all of the time, just not oil.
 
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Oct 30, 2002
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Great Lakes
 Originally Posted By: TheOak
4. I have seen those wheel "ramps" that you could drive your car up on and change your oil. This would obviously put your vehicle at an angle when you are draining. Is this a big deal?
Another idea is to use an oil extractor (via oil dipstick tube). It's super easy and doesn't cause any mess. However, it does not always work on all engines. Some engines' oil pan shapes or dipstick tube shape is such, that it prevents all of the oil to be sucked out, so you'd have to experiment how it works in your vehicle. It works like a charm in my 530i. Not so great in the Jetta.
 
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Da Swamp
 Originally Posted By: mpvue
 Originally Posted By: 09rexwagon
take it to AZ/AA for free disposal
so, Arizona chapters of Alcoholics Anonymous take used oil? :)
The BITOG Credo (with apologies to AA members everywhere): We admitted we were powerless over oil and oil changes, that our used oil had become unmanageable; Made a decision to turn our used oil over to the nearest recycling facility as we understood it to be; Made a searching and fearless inventory of our garages and our oil stashes; Admitted to the counter guy at Advance Auto Parts the exact nature of how we screwed up our last oil change, and became willing to make amends to our cars and our motorcycles. . . .
 
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Michigan
Drain oil hot. It flows faster and releases more from the motor. Check oil after engine has been off for a minute or 2 and that will work fine. Ramps are nice but a floor jack and jack stands are more versatile. You can still get an angle with those but that is not really important. Take old oil to Autozone, Murray's Auto etc. Call around and find out who takes it.
 
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Jul 9, 2008
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British Columbia, Canada
And a couple more things: Be careful not to cross thread the oil plug. A friend of mine did that. Not good. The oil plug should turn easily with your fingers. You only need a wrench for the last bit. And make sure the oil filter gasket comes off with the filter. You only want one oil filter gasket in there! I'm told you can lose all of your oil if that happens. To make really sure I always wipe off the mating surface of the engine. For a start, clean is good, and you'll be really sure the gasket's gone. My rule of thumb is to put the filter on as tight as I can by hand (I'm about average strength, or maybe a bit less), then take it off with a wrench. The first few times I changed oil (40 plus years ago) I was a bit stressed. Ask lots of questions and you'll learn to do it right. It's actually very simple. And very satisfying. Ecotourist
 
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Dec 1, 2005
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Surrey, BC
Back to #1 for a moment, the oil can be drained either hot or cold. Hot makes it thinner and drain out a bit faster, but if it's your first time trying it you might want to change it cold so you don't end up with hot oil all over your hands.
 
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