Access the oil filter

I volunteered to change the oil and filter on my grand daughters pickup truck while it is stored at our home. When I looked it over…the oil filter looked to be impossible to reach and the oil pan had a compartment added to it that came down to the level of the skid plates and seemed large enough to hold all the 3 and 3/4 quarts of oil the manual called for. This 2002 Nissan 4wd 4 door truck v6 and is supercharged and the engine is really squeezed into the compartment and frame. The oil is simple to drain but the filter is hard even to see. Any suggestions that might help? Or should I take it to the dealer?

My 98 Pathfinder was the worse I ever encountered. I had to drop the splash guard (10 bolts) to replace the filter. Is there a splash guard you can remove to make the filter easier to get at??

Just do the oil change without changing the filter. Lots of mfg’rs recommend a new filter every other oil change. The fresh oil is better than leaving the old oil in there and the amount of old oil in the filter won’t make the new oil overly dirty. Not the best option, but just tell granddaughter her oil filter was more than you bargined for.

Sometimes you need to buy a new tool for those hard-to-reach oil filters. If you get one that fits on to the end or a ratchet, you can use ratchet extensions to make the job a little easier.

Alternating oil filters every other oil change is something I have done for 15 years (5K mile intervals for oil changes, and essentially 10K mile intervals for oil filter).
Not recommended for everyone but I have had success with it. 3 cars, 1996 pontiac sunfire 2.2L engine 0 miles to 195K, 2000 honda accord 3.0L enginve 85K miles till 230K miles, 2000 ford mustang 27K miles till 126K miles. The latter two cars are our daily drivers. The Pontiac was sold after 8 years of driving.

I think it will be ok for you to skip the oil filter for this “one” time. Rock on for helping out your grand daughter.

Honda recommends a similar arrangement for my Nighthawk 750 (new oil every 4,000 miles, and a new oil filter every 8,000 miles). However, when you do that kind of thing, I recommend you spend a couple extra bucks for a better oil filter, and not buy the cheapest one available.

This Nissan has skid plates under the engine area and splash guards on the wheel wells and the skid plate bolts are pretty rusty and the plates have snapin plastic fastners in some places. I always break the darn plastic things trying to get them out and the dealer charges $4 each for replacements. So I think I will skip the filter for once.
I was a little concerned that the unusual configuration of the oil pan would require more than the recommended amount of oil mentioned in the manual to be in reach of the oil pump…but the pump must be located in the dropped down area added to the pan. ??

Thanks for the ideas…

Sure it’s a skid plate under the engine??? Mine was made of flimsy plastic…First rock it it hit would have destroyed it.

Thanks for the advice…I did find a splash guard beside in the drivers side wheel well, that I could unfasten and reach in with one hand to grab the hidden filter. I did get it changed… but it was not easy…looks like bad engineering to me…

I skip the oil filter change every now and then on our Nissan, since it is hard to reach. Since I change oil on this car based on the Severe Service schedule, which is twice as often as the regular, it still has the filter go no longer than the maximum.

When I had a Chey V8, I used the long life truck filters for this engine, which is identical, except the trucks use a longer filter.

As I read this I get the impression that the engine is not stock. If that’s tru,e the dealer may not be able to help except for an absorbant cost. A supercherger and expanded oil pan suggest such.

I always keep a supply of various plastic fasteners on hand that I get at the parts store and even at Home Depot. The dealer may charge $4/fastener, but the parts stores do not. I often break plastic fasteners, sometimes on purpose, and just replace them.

One more thought: when my kids were young I had an '86 Toyota van. The engine was longitudinally mounted and located behind abd between the front seats. Access was through a panel that lifted the entire driver’s seat backwards. The filter was almost impossible to access…until I custom made a special tool to do so. Describing it is difficult, but perhaps you could devise a tool that would work for your daughter’s pickup.

A side note on filters some might not know…I had always wondered why the “stock” filter for my 3.3L V6 minivan was so much smaller than the one for my 4 cylinder Nissan 2.4L engine (1990 & 1986 respectively). Recently I mentioned this at the parts store I frequent. The manager replied that other sizes are available, and it all depends on what will physically fit in the space available. So starting with the key information to match thread and gasket, he found a few choices for me. After measuring the clearances, I was thus able to buy a filter about 30% larger (and 250% more expensive!!) than the stock filter for the minivan, which I judged to be somewhat helpful on long trips when I’m running at 65mph for hours and hours in the summer heat, and maybe being late for an oil change if I decide en route to skip an oil change at a quicky lube joint in favor of waiting to do it myself once back home. Not sure it actually helps, but I feel a tiny bit more comfortable knowing I’ve got a little more filter volume there. Then again, with 293k on the engine (yes, really) why bother? Not sure I’ll go that route next time, either the engine or the car will be replaced soon, but thought I’d mention this option for others who may benefit.

Why not look into a remote filter set-up for her . . . and eliminate the problem once and for all? I bet you could pick one up for $50 and pay a mechanic another $50 to install it. She’d appreciate it and who doesn’t skip doing “tough” things? How many oil changers skipped a filter in this application? If it’s that hard I’d bet most folks skip the filter change. Other than that, I’d look into a factory service manual for the recommended procedure. Happy Thanksgiving! Rocketman

Thanks rocketman. Actually the remote filter was suggested at the same time that I heard about the alternate filters. I didn’t have time right then to make it happen, but I probably will eventually. Wish I’d known about that years ago.

Seems like a remote filter could be particularly useful to the OP and granddaughter, and to others who have a filter in a hard to access location.

Here is my vote for a remote oil filter. They are worth the extra expensive when engineers and designers can’t come up with an engine bay that allows for easy maintenance. By the way…I hate engine covers. Great to look at but are a RPITB when the vehicle stops running on the side of the road.

If I owned that truck I would buy a nice little …Oil filter relocation kit…super simple…and you then mount that oil filter wherever you want…usually on the left or right side of the engine compartment…sometimes on the firewall. They arent hard to install and make the Oil Service a CINCH…

All 4 wd trucks I have ever owned were a bear chaning oil…except my 04 4runner with a remote oil filter mount on top of the motor. I have to agree that it can be an elegant solution.

Another option … how about just taking it down to a local shop that specializes in oil changes (but make sure a new filter has actually been installed before you drive off)? They are generally cheap, generally know what they are doing, and may be less likely to damage things. I figure avoiding scraped knuckles or a burned hand is worth the ten bucks I would save. They may try to sell you things you don’t need (although sometimes they can give you a good assessment), but you can just say no. A remote filter may be a good idea but if the original filter is hard to access, it may be hard to reliably install the fittings.

Thanks for your help and suggestions…I did get a splash guard flap on the drivers side open and got one hand on the filter and got it changed. I had to do some squirming to get it good and firmly tightened tho…

Next time I will take it to the pro’s like you suggested.