Oil change tricks? How many changes?

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Aug 1, 2006
coastal plain of Texas
Just for fun, will the DIY oil changers on this website give an estimate on how many oil changes/filter changes you have done over the years to your own families vehicles, and when did you start. Also, give any little tricks you have used over the years. I'll start: I started changing oil (and filter of course every time) around 1975, and have had the honor of about 100-110 oil changes. Tricks? I try to change when the oil is hot. Take out the keys and hang them on the wall somewhere, out of the ignition. Whenever I can, I try to punch a hole in the lowest portion of the filter to let it drain a while, before removing it. When refilling, I have poured as much fresh oil into the new filter as I can without the risk of spilling. I have punched a hole in the bottom of the oil bottle, so the oil flows faster/easier, without alot of "gurgling" of the oil in the bottle. I feel that allows the oil molecules to go in correctly without being jostled around too much. (Actually thats humor and I dont really mean that, but for some odd reason I have punched holes in the jugs.) Of course over the years, between the drain and refill portions of this job, I have enjoyed a beverage or two. Started out with tea or soda then evolved into an adult beverage(s) (or two or seven), and in the last couple of years has evolved back to tea and soda!! I guess things go around in a circle. Again, this is just for fun and dont want to inflame anyone.
1994 I worked at an oil change place, my first real job. Honestly, I don't remember the first time I changed my own oil but it had to have been before then. Since then I'd have to guess hundreds. Like about 300? I rarely wear gloves and lately I've been think about all those carcinogens getting on my skin. I pour a bit of oil thru the engine to wash out the old stuff. I roll/spin the oil filter to get more oil into it. And I don't usually let the bottle sit there and drip to avoid pouring in the cockroach shells.
1960 .. worked at a White Rose (now Shell) gas station when I was in High School. We used to let the metal oil cans drain into a tank to get the last drop out of them, that's what I used in my '51 Ford for changes (it was free). I truly enjoy changing the oil/filter and giving the car a good inspection every 6Kkm, it just seems "right" !! I have no idea how many oil changes I have done but I look forward to many more. [Cheers!] P.B.
Some of my older cars had flat-bottomed oilpans which, if the car is sitting on level pavement, doesn't allow for a 'complete' drain'. I've been known to use 2x4s, ramps, or other durable stuff to drive certain wheels up on that cause the oil pan to tilt towards the drain hole so all the gook drains out. My 06 Frontier and my roommate's 05 Sport Trac have low points in the pan that oil drains towards, so now I don't have to do anything but park and drain. Like above, I also like to fill the oil filter, and do so on the Sport Trac, but the Frontier has a horizontally mounted filter so that's not an option for that vehicle. Ford's infinite wisdom led them to put the filter in such a place that oil drains directly on the right side suspension pieces, so I drape a sheet of aluminum foil over the control arm and place the drain pan below it when I loosen the filter. Voila...cleanliness prevails. On my lawnmower, I thought I'd try a trick this past spring. I use good synthetic oil for the fill and also picked up a cheap bottle of dino and use it as a 'flush'. After the real, old oil has finished draining, I tilted the mower about 45 degrees back and poured in the quart of dino as quickly as possible in an effort to wash any residing crud out of the crankcase. It worked....shiny metal flakes came pouring out with the dino. I didn't do this on the mower's first oil change, and thought it odd that the mower's factory fill didn't contain any visible wear metals as some small engines usually do during break-in. I guess because the crankcase is completely flat on the bottom, there isn't a strong current during the drains and metal shavings hung around inside the engine until I did the 'dino flush'. The mower is 2 years old now. Too bad those small engines don't use an oil filter. Tried this again mid-summer and no more metal, so I guess it's done breaking in. :-)
One thing I've done on our 02 and 06 Accords has been to remove the passenger side tire. Access to the oil filter and engine drain is right there. No crawling or nothing. Also gives me a chance to check the brake pads for wear and generally look around to see if anything is amiss. On lawnmowers, I run it until all the gas is out then pop of the oil fill screw, then tilt the lawnmower all the way on that side to drain all the oil out. I have found that it is a PITA to try and elevate the mower, undo the drain valve on there which is usually covered in dead grass and other "stuff", get oil all over you.
I've done 28 changes on my current car, and plus family cars and my old car, I'd say around 50 total. Remember to take your time. There's a reason that you're doing it yourself, and rushing it won't help.
I've probably done about 100 changes or so on the various cars I've owned. My Buick Terraza minivan is dirt simple. I drive it onto the Rhino Ramps just to give myself some breathing room, drain the hot oil until it stops coming out in a stream (15 - 20 minutes usually), undo the filter, which is right on the front-bottom side of the block in a perfect position, slap a new one on (I use oversize filters), dump 5 quarts of oil in and I'm good to go. On the Monte Carlo, it's pretty much the same except that the filter is up over the lower A-arm on the passenger's side. It's not a terrible position, but it does get messy. To help catch the oil, I cut a half-gallon milk jug in half and slip the bottom over the filter after I loosen it a little. Works like a charm and prevents the suspension from getting bathed in the dirty oil.
I have a stiff piece of paper hanging in my garage. It has two columns, one for each of our vehicles. At the top of the column for each vehicle I wrote how many quarts of oil it takes and the wrench size for the oil pan drain bolt. Otherwise I always have to look those two things up. Each time I change the oil I write the date and mileage and the type of oil used in the column.
Hundreds. I've owned my own vehicles for the last 30 years, often more than one at once. Before I owned a vehicle and started driving I did occasional oil changes on our farm equipment. I've probably been changing oil in something since I was 8 or 9 years old.
Well, let's see . . . Got my first car in 1976 and changed the oil after about 3 months. Did it, I guess, 4 times a year on that one and on the next, up till early 1985. so, 9 years x 4 changes a year = 36. From mid-1985 to late 1999, I had my oil changes done by my regular mechanics because the cars were fairly low and the filter difficult to get to. I started up again in late 1999 and have done 4 changes a year until very recently, so 7 years x 4 changes = 28. My grand total, then, is 64 oil changes. My best tip: Unless you have an oil drain pan you know won't leak, or some way to pour that old oil into bottles for recycling, use a suction device like the Topsider. (If your car is designed for that, of course.) Also, I wear gloves. You can handle hot metal pieces briefly without getting burned, and your hands stay clean for when you hop in to start the engine. -- Paul W.
I started doing oil changes when I was 11 or 12 for my mothers 1975 Chrysler Cordoba. I have no idea how many I've done, but since then, I've only paid for maybe 1/2 dozen total oil changes. I've done the rest myself. I currently drive about 40K miles/year and do Oilbabe's oil changes as well. So I do about 9 changes / year. I may be up to close to 100+ now, after 30 years [Wink]
From 16 to about 19 I used the iffy lube type places. I didn't know any better. I bought my first new vehicle when I was 20. A 1989 Ford F250 with an inline 6 cyclinder. It was agreat truck and at that time I got interested in doing maintenance myself. I have been doing my vehicle, mom's, dad's, and many girlfriends, and my wifes now. I have even tried to offer to do my inlaws cars but father in law prefers taking to a shop. Go figure. I enjoy oil changes. Don't know why I just do. I would say I have done 150 to 200 oil changes since then. My father in law uses a good shop but I have tried to tell him even though you can get it done cheap. When you buy the stuff urself you can get better quality filters, oil, etc...
Started changing oil with my first car ('56 Plymouth Belvedere sedan with the 270-ish cu. in. V8) at age 16. (Dad and I overhauled the engine. Afterword a professional mechanic friend of my dad repaired it to running condition...) Still following 3,000 mile OCIs. Doing the math with the following formula: 2006 - 44 years + all the cusswords I learned from dad times the number of times I raked my knuckles when a closed end wrench unexpectedly came off the oil plug divided by the gallons of sweat I produced multiplied by the number of deoderant sticks I've gone through = A LOTTA FREAKIN' TIMES!
Originally posted by RogerKlugerAus05: Al I agree that the Lisle filter wrench you display is indeed the best, or one of the best
I have one of the K-D 2380 tools which is good if you are strapped for clearance of the filter has a Nut on the end (K&N Filter.) You probably have this one also [Wink]  -
Probably 3 or 400 changes. Several were on large, over the road trucks, several tractors and combines. You know, 7+ gallon capacity . . . Anywho, I never prefill oil filters. No oil is perfectly clean coming straight from the bottle. After seeing a bucket of Case Hydraulic Oil with metal shaving at the bottom, it became apparent to me that shtuff happens. I do not like the idea of the possibility of putting dirty oil on the clean side of the filter. Before anybody screams at me about that, I have seen alot of members here with opinions based purely on mental issues. This is my mental issue . . . I'm entitled to it. [Happy]
Nobody is screaming but some turbo engine recommend that you fill the filter before installing. If not, the turbo runs with no lubricant until there is flow thru the filter. Not too good on turbos.
The turbo will have "some" lube but the journal bearings won't have an OIL PRESSURE to center them and the turbo wheels can wobble, dig into the housings, all sotrs of good stuff. Unlees the filter mounts upside-down you can usually fill 1/2 of it up with oil. I never had a probablydoing that on the ex's Frontier. PITA though to have reach the filter.
I rough-calculated that I've done 400-500 in my lifetime. I have all records of all cars I've done. If I have time I'll actually sit down and tally all the oil changes.
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