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Change Oil Change?

I always change my own oil on all of our cars. I like the covenience of not having to have an appointment or having to go somewhere. I save money, use the type of oil and filter I like, and avoid horror stories of “oil changes gone bad,” that we see posted, frequently. My local Auto parts store takes my oil for recycling. I drive up on four 2x12’s to get under there without jacking, for safety.



1) I always change the oil with the car at at operating temperature. I figure it stirs up all the particles and drains quicker. Is this necessary?



2) I hate it when I start the car after the change, and it takes a second or two for the “oil light” to go out. On some of the cars I can partially fill the filter before installing it. Good practice?



3) When done, I hit the key and as soon as it starts I turn it off. I do this until the oil light goes out. I don’t like the “revving” without pressure. Is this silly?



4) I have even disabled the ignition and cranked the engine until the “oil light” goes off. Do you ever do this?



What do you do and what do you think?

Is it time for me to change my oil change procedures? Do I have too much spare time?

Oh, I can hardly wait to see where this goes.

I’ve been changing oil in my own cars for more than 30 years, using parts store oil and filters, just like you. I have never had an oil-related problem with a vehicle. My opinions;

  1. I agree. A fully warmed up engine is best (sure makes the oil hot, though), but in a pinch I’ve done it after the engine has run only a few minutes. In such cases I let it drain longer.

  2. I never worry about this. There is still some oil film on the moving parts, and the tiny amount of time it takes for the oil to reach the top of the engine is not a concern. If it were, the owner’s manual would have something to say about it.

  3. Yes, in my opinion it’s silly and unnecessary. Start the engine and let it run until the oil pressure warning light goes off. This same thing happens every day when you first start the engine. Do you use your multiple-start technique every morning? I doubt it.

  4. I’ve never done it but I don’t see how it can hurt. However, consider this, the parts are rotating whether the ignition fires or not, and it’s the movement, not the ignition, that causes wear.

You can change or not, as you see fit. Perhaps you do have too much spare time if you are really worried about these minor things.

No, But My Oil Filter Is Empty

“This same thing happens every day when you first start the engine. Do you use your multiple-start technique every morning?”

No, I don’t. That oil light takes considerably more time (empty filter) to go out after an oil change than it does from a “cold start”. My guess is that if it started like that every morning, there would be more wear/damage.

I’ve had the same problem and NEVER worried about…and NEVER had a problem and have kept vehicles well past the 250k mile mark and NONE were burning one drop of oil when I sold them or gave them away. After I refill with clean oil I just start it right up. Oil light takes about 3-5 seconds to turn off. I really wouldn’t worry about it.

  1. I’ve never done this. I figure if there is crap in the oil it will settle at the lowest point, which is usually the oil pan drain plug. Most oils are so lightweight these days that they don’t need to be thinned out via higher temps to flow well.

  2. As you stated it’s just a second or two, there is still a film of oil on the internal parts. I know people who fill the oil filter with oil. It’s not a bad idea but I doubt if it really matters much.

  3. IMO it’s best to leave it running. The amount of oil the oil pump pumps is direct correlated to the speed of the engine. When the engine “revs” when you first start the oil pump is pumping oil around quickly.

  4. No, see above.

  1. I do this, not to stir things up, but to thin the oil, so it drains more quickly and completely. That way you get a little more out, and with the faster flow it might drag more stuff with it.
  2. I also pre-fill the filter, but I doubt it makes much difference. Those oil commercials showing running cars for long periods of time without oil makes me think the few seconds it takes to get an idling car’s oil back up to pressure a few times a year does no harm.
    3,4) - See 2); no harm, but not necessary.

I do a short run in the car to warm up the engine before I change the oil. After I drain and refill the oil, I start the engine. It usually takes only a couple of seconds for the oil light to go off. The other thing I do while the car is on the ramps is take a flashlight and shine it around the oil filter that I installed to make certain that there is no leakage.

On my Sienna, (146,000 miles) the filter is horizontal, and if the filter is full, I get a lot of spilled oil. In the past, before I started driving in Mexico, I would change the oil when I came back from Mexico after many weeks, before I started the car, and the filter was bone dry. Now, I park it where I want it, and change it in the morning after sitting all night.

I think this is another case of many where each person should look it over, decide what he thinks is happening, then make his decision to suit himself. In fact, though I do not want to start political riots, the ability to do that is called personal liberty. You wreck your motor with a wrong decision, you pay for it, not me. It is the American way.

OK, I agree, some filters hold oil because of they position in which they are installed, but the difference is still minor. How many times a year do you change oil?

That’s Another Reason I “DIY” It …
… I had the oil changed on a Pontiac at a Pontiac Dealer (one of the only times that I didn’t do it) and I left a trail of oil 20 miles long on my way home. I should have checked it out, but who would guess? I called the dealer to give them an earful. They said, “No problem, bring it back in and we’ll take care of it!” I didn’t! I took care of it. They had trapped a loose piece of electrical wiring plastic tape between the filter and the block, causing the leak.

It’s not just Iffy Dude shops that can cause problems. I might be a jerk, but I don’t trust anybody changing my oil, any more.

Oil filter boxes used to say, “Tighten 3/4 to 1 turn after contact, start engine and check for leaks.”

You offer good advice!

[b][i]Exactly!

America, What A Country![/i][/b]

I warm the engine up a little in cold weather, but generally change the oil at ambient. I rarely do it at full operating temperature, but I don’t see any problem with doing so.

My current car’s filter is open-side-up. A always fill it before installing. On the other hand, most of my vehicles have had the filter lying on its side, making this impossible, and I’ve never worn an engine out. In reality I doubt that it makes a difference.

This is silly (since you asked). And puts more wear on the starter assembly…and the key cylinder. I support your right to continue doing silly things. I do.

No, I don’t. When reviving an engine that hasn’t been run for years it’s a good idea to fill the oil channels and get some oil in the bearings before subjecting it to the pounding that comes from combustion and the wear that comes from the higher RPMs, and this is one way to accomplish that, but it’s unnecessary after an oil change and puts more wear on the starter.

If you find yourself replacing starters more often than your friends you may want to consider changing your habits. Otherwise, relax.

  1. Better and faster, but not necessary. 90% of the time I just change the oil when I get home and the engine is already hot.

  2. I don’t bother, but it would not hurt, and it should actually help. I would guess it will up the life of that engine from 327,214 miles to 327315 miles. :slight_smile:

  3. This is a trade-off. I suspect you are doing more wear to the starter system than any wear you are doing to the engine.

  4. No, I have never done it and I suggest saving the time and wash and wax your car some day with the saved time.

Some filters have anti-drain-back valves too.

  1. This is very difficult with some cars. My wife’s former Accord and her current ZX2 both have filters too close to the exhaust manifold to get near them if they are hot unless you have long heat-resistant gloves covering the forearm.

I change my own oil too but I think you are a little overly concerned about some items. I warm the car up first but its really not necessary. I also fill the oil filter up and that reduces the time of no pressure at start up. The rest of it I would never do. I worry more about the starter than initial oil pressure.

I will have to say though that I had the oil changed at the dealer last month for warrenty. I can’t remember anytime in the last 40 years having someone else change the oil. It cost $29, I sat and read a book while someone else worked, and they washed and vacumed the car. I did check the oil afterward but it is something I could get used to.

I just about have anxiety attacks when someone else works on my car. I could never get used to this…although at some point I may have no choice…I ain’t gettin’ any younger.

IMHO – Yes. I think you have too much time on your hands. However it is probably better to be spending your spare time being overly cautious about vehicle maintenance then running the bars and chasing women. So as long as you give your wife, spouse, kids, other family members enough personal time, keep it up and you’ll never have an oil related issue. Or don’t keep it up, and you’ll never have an oil related issue, but then you’ll have to find something to fill that extra time with. My motto: Like Abe Lincoln said: “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be” I try to live my life that way. I have for 50 years so far now, and if you are going to spend time worrying about not taking meticilous ?? care of your oil changes, by all means, you better go back to taking really good care of you car.

I am going back to changing my own oil.

when I change oil, I change after the engine is warm, preferably after a trip and I let the oil drain a long time to get more of the crud out.

after I refill with oil, I let the engine sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the new oil to work its way into the pump, etc. then when I start, I have immediate oil pressure. may not add any miles, but doesn’t hurt. Often a good time to check other stuff, do some clean up, etc.

I agree with all the replies given.

Here’s a related question to ponder. Suppose you only ran your car for a 30 second warmup before changing the oil. Wouldn’t you now have pushed a heavier thick oil through all the bearing journals, and wouldn’t that residual thicker oil be better for your car in the first 5 seconds of your oil-change-restart?

This is almost a theoretical question, because in practice no one would ever see a difference in engine life because of it.