Vacuum oil change


I am considering doing the oil change on my 2001 Saturn LW300 using vacuum topsider (sounds like an easy thing to do):


Any opinions? Is it worth doing it - are there any drawbacks?



The drawback is that it is likely that you will not extract all of the oil from the oil pan by vacuuming it out from above. While this is not disasterous, you would be getting less benefit from your oil changes than you would if the oil was drained from the drain plug by gravity–as the manufacturer intended.

However, if the relative ease of performing oil changes this way resulted in you changing oil a bit more often, then it might actually benefit your engine. It all comes down to a very fine balance between the detriment of leaving some of the dirty oil in the crankcase and the benefit of changing the oil more often due to the ease.


I agree, it’s probably better to drain it than siphon it.

For the last 30 years on every car & truck that i’ve owned i’ve installed one of these very handy little gadgets.

No fuss no muss, just flip the lever to drain the oil.



I bought one of those and haven’t had a chance to try it yet . But on some other site I found a comment about using one and then pulling the drain plug to see how much oil was left … the answer was - a few drops ! I may try it when I do the next change . I do know they are common devices used on boat engines due to the limited access .


How much oil is left in the crankcase is going to vary with different models of vehicle, based on whether a particular oil pan has a section that is deeper than the rest of the oil pan. If there is a section that is deeper, being able to get the vacuum “probe” into that section would be very important and it may not always be possible, based on the proximity of the dip stick tube to that section of the oil pan. That would be my concern.


i think its kind of dumb, you change your oil every 5000 miles, usually that is too rarely to need a easier way, and people who think they know how to do it, probably will forget to put in new oil, or to replace the filter.


Realize that your dipstick tube isn’t designed to aim at the lowest point in the oil pan. It only has to get the dipstick about 1-1/2" below the top of the pool to do its thing. The vacuum intake won’t go any lower into the pool of oil than the point that the dipstick tube aims at.

I wouldn’t use it.


Mountainbike–Thanks for confirming my impression of the problem with this device! Why should someone perform an oil change with this thing if some of the old, dirty oil is left in the pan?


[b]Everyone gave good advice! Drain the oil so you know all the used oil is removed.

But then, some say it’s OK just to drain some of the fluid out of a transmission! Isn’t this the same thing? Afterall, transmission fluid is just a higher detergent 10W oil.

Go figure!



The reason it might be different is the automatic transmission fluid does not get mucked up nearly as fast. So, if you replace 3 quarts out of a transmission every 5,000 or 10,000 miles, it really doesn’t have time to get bad before it’s replaced.

If you drained 3 quarts from the transmission only every 50,000 miles, your tranny would probably be in bad shape fast.

Remember need for oil changes relates to usage. If you mostly drive on the highway, and vacuum (?) most of the oil every 3,000 miles, you will also have pretty good oil.

If you drive 5 miles a day in 20 below weather, and suck out the oil only every 7,500 miles, that oil will be really disgusting.


i have to use this on my boat, because i cant get to the drain plug.
i would never think of using this on a car. all the oil must come out, each time. and a new filter too.


Vacuuming the oil out the dip stick tube is frequently done on marine engines where the drain plug is not accessible without pulling the engine out of the boat(common on said boats). The vacuum method usually is a bigger pain in the butt and takes longer then pulling the drain plug if it’s accessible.