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Changing own oil

Dear Tom & Ray,

I have long changed the oil and oil filters on my own cars – until I bought a new 2004 Corvette. Special jigs are required to lift the car. I did not have them, so to the Chevy dealer it went – unitl one day, I emerged from the oil and filter change with lifter noise. I checked the oil level and discovered that I was short one quart.

After that, I decided to do the job myself. I ordered the jigs from KMO – about $200. I also checked out different brands of oil filter and found that the Mobil 1 brand was superior to the AC Delco used by Chevy dealers. The combination of sufficient oil and a change of oil filter brands got rid of my lifter noise.

I have two questions: 1. Why is the Corvette engine so sensitive to oil level – It was only down one quart out of six? 2. Is there really a significant difference in branded oil filters?

By the way, what with the cost of the jigs and the high price of the Mobil 1 filter, I save no money doing it myself, but at least I do not have to take half a day off work to get it done, and I know that it is done properly.


Ted Faraone

While there are really big differences in the look of quality of oil filters, the real difference is very very little.

As for being down one quart, that is not much for most engines. I don’t know why it may have complained about being only one quart low, unless you were lower than you think. Did you recently buy that 2004 Corvette or did you buy it new in 2004? If you bought it recently, or maybe even if you bought it in 2004, it is possible it may have the wrong dipstick. It happens. When you refill next time, carefully measure the refill quantity. Check the manual for the refill amount and make sure the stick is accurate.

I would also point out that many OHV cars and I think the Corvette is one, use a filter with a check valve in it to prevent the startup clatter. Using the wrong filter or using one that may have a defective anti-drain back valve, would cause a start up clatter.

We have discussed oil filters many times on this forum. Folks have done their own research. Our conclusion is that there is little functional difference between brands – they all get the job done. Still, you can always find a few people who make assertive claims, positive or negative, about different brands of the simple oil filter.

I don’t know how or why you concluded that the Mobil 1 oil filter is superior to all others… and you need not tell me. If you are happy with your choice, that’s all that matters.

  1. I doubt that being 1 quart low would do any real damage, don’t worry unless you have some problems.

  2. There’s plenty of debate about oil filters and there may be some quality difference; but they are all very cheap so just buy the best ones you can find. I normally just buy a couple at a time from the dealer.

There are MANY MANY sources on the web that talk about oil filters and I’ve yet to find a consensuses among them saying that any one filter is better then any other filter. Mobil 1 filter may be a little better…but I seriously doubt it.

Don’t know why the engine would make any noise being just one quart down. There’s no way it pumped all 5 quarts out and was causing a dry situation. Maybe the oil isn’t returning fast enough. The journals are plugged. I’d switch to a synthetic oil to help clean things out…or use a oil additive like Rislone.