Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Oil Change

I had an oil change, and found oil leaking on my driveway. They said it just happens when you take the oil filter off and it gets in the sub-frame. I have had it changed many times and this never happens, I think they didn’t drain all the oil,before removing the filter. (They had to re-do because of using the wrong weight and I think they were in a hurry. They said they did nothing wrong.

This sort of thing certainly can happen, especially if the job is rushed for whatever reason. I used to make sure to thoroughly clean the oil off of and out of everything before returning a car to a customer, although this does take a few extra minutes. If you used a quick service oil change place, this will account for their mistakes and sloppy workmanship. When speed is your stated priority, mistakes become much more likely, and work can get sloppy. If you found a great deal of oil, you may want to take the car to a real mechanic and have everything double checked to make sure there is not an actual leak anywhere, and consider using a real mechanic at a real shop for future oil changes. Click on “search” at the top of your screen and type in “jiffy lube” for further encouragement not to patronize these types of places.

By the way, draining the oil before removing the oil filter makes no difference on most cars. Either way, there will be oil in the filter and it will probably make a mess. The only engine I can think of where draining the oil first is necessary is on some of the old Buick 2.5L four cylinder “iron duke” engines where the filter is mounted inside the oil pan.

Have you checked the oil level to make sure it’s okay? You should probably do that frequently in the next few weeks.

The oil filter is often over the suspension or frame. When someone changes the oil and doesn’t put a rag underneath the filter on the frame, oil will collect there. The explanation is certainly plausible. It has happened to us with our van.

The last time I changed my oil, about three weeks ago, I accidentally spilled oil from the filter into the plastic “splash pan” under the front of the car. Some of it ran down out the drainholes, but some stayed in a molded-in recession in the splash pan. I had to clean it out the hard way…with rags.

This does happen. Oil can spill into the sub-frame cavities or splash pan cavities. The important thing is to be sure that the oil level is staying full and that there’s no evidence of oil dripping out the fill hole.

The oil filter on my Nissan Altima sits over the passenger side frame rail.
When I change my oil and filter, I take a piece of aluminum foil, and fold it over the frame rail, and use it as a spout to channel the oil into the drain pan underneath when I crack open the oil filter (which is mounted horizontally).

Once the oil stops dripping, and I install the new filter, I just remove the piece of aluminum foil, and toss it with the oil filter. No mess on my car.

Did this from the very first time I changed the oil on my Altima.
Just made perfect sense to me at the time, and still does today.