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DIY Oil Changes - Some brief questions

firewaterwordfirewaterword SatchitanandaPais Vasco to San FranciscoRegistered User regular
edited May 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
G'day fine denizens of H/A! Quick question for those of you out there with mechanical inclinations. Thanks to some good advice from many of you out there, I'm progressing along the path to automobile aptitude.

I'm driving a recently purchased 2005 Infiniti G35; so far I've been able to replace the rather filthy stock engine air filter with a K&N, as well as replacing the somewhat less filthy cabin air filter with a clean one. I now feel I'm ready to attempt what I feel will be the most daunting task - the oil change. I've got a pretty good feel for what I have to do. But H/A/, would you kindly help me out by answering a few quick questions?

1. In an effort to avoid being crushed by ~3,500 odd pounds of car, should I go for jack stands, ramps, or both? Are wheel chalks necessary as well? The car is low to begin with, and has plastic underbody diffuser plates which will need to be removed, so I'd like to give myself as much room as is feasible.

2. Does anyone recommend using a magnetic drain plug over the stock plug plus copper crush ring?

3. Are all oil filters created equally? I'm more or less aware of what they're supposed to accomplish, but I'd love to hear any anecdotal evidence as to pros / cons of using, say, a K&N filter (more expensive) over OEM Nissan filter.

Any and all advice is, as always, appreciated. Thanks much!

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
firewaterword on
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Posts

  • CooterTKECooterTKE Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    1. I use jack stands and put a block behind the rear wheel.

    2. I have a quick drain plug

    3. I use fram or kn usually.

    CooterTKE on
  • amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    1) The ramps are fine for that car.

    2) Use the stock drain plug

    3) Use the stock filters.

    As long as you're changing the oil regularly the other stuff is really just a gimmick to get you to spend more. I've had seven different types of cars in my name over the years and never noticed a difference in the high end oil change versus the regular.

    Note: You have to pay to dispose of the oil, and a lot of times this, combined with the cost of oil, and initial cost of the equipment to change it, will end up costing you a hell of a lot more than your first five or six oil changes.

    Disposal and oil usually runs $20, and a wal-mart oil change runs $25

    amateurhour on
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  • DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I change the oil on ramps. And I pretty much always use Fram filters, haven't had any problems but can't really comment on pros/cons vs other brands.

    Daenris on
  • DeShadowCDeShadowC Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    One thing depends on how easy it is to get to your filter and drain plug. On my car it takes two people to remove the filter, or a specialized wrench. Five cars through the years I always changed my own oil. This one it was worth the few extra dollars to make it someone else's issue.

    DeShadowC on
  • enderwiggin13enderwiggin13 Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Another vote for the ramps here, just be careful and maybe have someone spot for you. You don't want to drive over the front of the ramp :)

    Also, chocks are a good idea any time you're up on a ramp. I have a couple old bricks that I have lying around instead of buying special made chocks.

    enderwiggin13 on
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  • Lord YodLord Yod Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Note: You have to pay to dispose of the oil, and a lot of times this, combined with the cost of oil, and initial cost of the equipment to change it, will end up costing you a hell of a lot more than your first five or six oil changes.

    Disposal and oil usually runs $20, and a wal-mart oil change runs $25

    Kragen doesn't charge me anything to dispose of the used oil/filters. I believe it's called Shuck's elsewhere?

    Lord Yod on
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  • CooterTKECooterTKE Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    i put my used oil at the curb and the recycling man takes it.

    CooterTKE on
  • firewaterwordfirewaterword Satchitananda Pais Vasco to San FranciscoRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    My god you guys are awesome. I'd buy a round were it possible.

    Regarding the problem of oil disposal, the recycling facility near my house accepts used oil for free, which is pretty cool. There's also a Kragen right by me, so that's an option too.

    I realize it's a hassle, but I've been burnt in the past by the Pennzoil in my area, and I don't yet know of a shop that will do it for a reasonable price (let alone the $120 the dealership wanted o_O). I figure if I can handle removing the air box and glove box to replace those filters (without breaking or losing anything, mind you!) I should be able to handle the oil. Plus, working on my car gives me a pretty substantial feeling of accomplishment, which is always good.

    Thanks again for advice folks.

    firewaterword on
    Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
  • NewtonNewton Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Disposal and oil usually runs $20, and a wal-mart oil change runs $25

    Where do you live? I've never been charged to dispose of used oil. I just take it in to Schucks and they take it for free as long as their tank isn't full.

    Newton on
  • amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Newton wrote: »
    Disposal and oil usually runs $20, and a wal-mart oil change runs $25

    Where do you live? I've never been charged to dispose of used oil. I just take it in to Schucks and they take it for free as long as their tank isn't full.

    Alabama. Granted it's been a while, but I remember paying for oil disposal. I think it was Autozone charging me for it, and I've never heard of Kragen or Shuck's

    amateurhour on
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  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I use jackstands, 2 stands and a shop floorjack. If you have a crush washer between the drain plug and the oil pan, replace it with a new one everytime you remove the drain plug; it's a one-use item. If the drain plug is really stuck fast you may need to use a cheater bar (a 12-18" piece of plumbing pipe can be slid over a wrench to give you more leverage). OEM vs. 3rd party oil filter -> this will vary by manufacturer but the OEM filters for my subaru appear to use nicer quality materials (rubber and paper) than the fram counterparts. You might want a filter wrench to help you remove and attach the oil filter; it looks like this. Follow the directions in the Infiniti manual for how far to tighten the oil filter. Before screwing on the new oil filter, fill it with oil and lube the rubber gasket/ring with motor oil.

    In my experience, any place that has sold me motor oil has also accepted used motor oil free of charge.

    Djeet on
  • saltinesssaltiness Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    If you have high enough curbs in front of your house you can just drive up on the sidewalk with one side of your car and it'll give you enough room to get under it - it's a lot easier and cheaper than any kind of jacks or ramps.

    saltiness on
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  • amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    saltiness wrote: »
    If you have high enough curbs in front of your house you can just drive up on the sidewalk with one side of your car and it'll give you enough room to get under it - it's a lot easier and cheaper than any kind of jacks or ramps.

    This is dangerous and impractical.

    Danger aside, you're talking about tipping the car at a bad angle to properly drain the oil.

    amateurhour on
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  • saltinesssaltiness Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    saltiness wrote: »
    If you have high enough curbs in front of your house you can just drive up on the sidewalk with one side of your car and it'll give you enough room to get under it - it's a lot easier and cheaper than any kind of jacks or ramps.

    This is dangerous and impractical.

    Danger aside, you're talking about tipping the car at a bad angle to properly drain the oil.

    Depends on the car. With my car it actually works better because the drain plug is on one side of the oil pan and I just let that side be the lower one. I don't see how it could be dangerous though - it's safer than jacks or ramps.

    saltiness on
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  • AurinAurin Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    A good set of ramps for low clearance cars are Rhino Ramps. You can generally pick these up at Auto Zone, their website doesn't have them... so I'm linking some from Auto Zone. They work wonderfully.

    http://www.amazon.com/Blitz-11905-Rhino-12000-Extreme/dp/B0002YTN4I

    Do NOT put that thing on the damn sidewalk and then try and get under it, you're just asking for trouble.

    Yes, use chocks behind the car so it doesn't accidentally roll off. Yes, have someone else out there with you the entire time, this thing weighs at LEAST a ton, if something happens and it shifts, it could drop on your head and you would be very dead.

    Aurin on
  • saltinesssaltiness Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Someone tell me what's so bad about the sidewalk technique. I understand it's dangerous if you live on a busy street where someone might hit your car while you're under it but that's all I can think of.

    saltiness on
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  • amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    saltiness wrote: »
    Someone tell me what's so bad about the sidewalk technique. I understand it's dangerous if you live on a busy street where someone might hit your car while you're under it but that's all I can think of.

    It doesn't take much for two front tires, or even a back tire, to roll off a sidewalk. It takes a lot less than it does for a car to shift off jackstands or roll off a ramp with a tire groove built in.

    amateurhour on
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  • AurinAurin Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    What happens if the car shifts? Damaging the car when getting it up there is also an issue.

    Use the correct tools for the job, they were created to keep you safe. Putting a vehicle that weighs a ton on anything other than jackstands or ramps is just silly.

    I knew a dude that decided to do the car work over a ditch... car seemed fine, it shifted and crushed his chest.

    Aurin on
  • AdrienAdrien Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Aurin wrote: »
    What happens if the car shifts? Damaging the car when getting it up there is also an issue.

    Use the correct tools for the job, they were created to keep you safe. Putting a vehicle that weighs a ton on anything other than jackstands or ramps is just silly.

    I knew a dude that decided to do the car work over a ditch... car seemed fine, it shifted and crushed his chest.

    I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "shift"— are you saying that the parking brake (and transmission) could fail, and the car roll back off the sidewalk? You know he means driving the two side wheels up on the curb, right?

    Adrien on
    tmkm.jpg
  • saltinesssaltiness Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    You guys misunderstood what I meant.

    Put two wheels of one side of the car up on the sidewalk using the driveway as a ramp so you're not actually going up the curb to get on the sidewalk. Of course this only works if you have this kind of driveway and a quiet street where nobody is going to come hit your car while you're under it. There is absolutely no way the car could move in this position.

    saltiness on
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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I must say, I'd definitely feel more comfortable about the whole situation under a car that's parked like that from a curb. However, it's too hazardous either way, and that's why I take it to the dealership. $15 isn't too much to pay for my life.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • saltinesssaltiness Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    bowen wrote: »
    I must say, I'd definitely feel more comfortable about the whole situation under a car that's parked like that from a curb. However, it's too hazardous either way, and that's why I take it to the dealership. $15 isn't too much to pay for my life.
    I wish it were $15 where I live.

    saltiness on
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  • AurinAurin Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Again, it's still a wonderful way to crush yourself under a car. The car can STILL SHIFT sitting like that. Dangerous shit. Use ramps or jack stands.

    Whether you want to park your car on a curb or use the correct tools, still, always have someone out there with you.

    Edit: To clarify, yes, I understood what he meant driving the side wheels up on the curb. Any amount of weight moving that car from side to side can make it move. Also, curbs are not made for that sort of thing. I'd much rather:

    1. Be in a garage where I don't have to slide along the damn street.

    2. Have the vehicle supported by things that are actually made to support the vehicle. Laying on your back under an object that weighs a ton allows for no cutting of corners. It's too easy for that thing to shift or bounce from movements you're making underneath the car and drop it on your head.

    But hey, your funeral.

    Aurin on
  • saltinesssaltiness Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    The car will not move in that position unless the street you're on is an incline. I agree that it is a good idea to have someone out there to help though.

    saltiness on
    XBL: heavenkils
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    saltiness wrote: »
    The car will not move in that position unless the street you're on is an incline. I agree that it is a good idea to have someone out there to help though.

    Seems like if it did shift, it's just going to either roll backwards away from you, or roll forwards over you. All the while still on the curb. But, if you weren't parallel with the curb, it could easily run over you as you're laying there.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • AurinAurin Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    See... you guys put a lot more trust in that wheel and that curb than I do. I guess I'm just paranoid, but I've worked on cars a lot. I'd rather take it to Wal-Mart for a 30 dollar oil change than try and rig it up in the parking lot.

    Also, are you using a sloped driveway to get the car up on the curb? I can't imagine that trying to get it up there without a slope of some sort would be good for the sidewalls of the tires or the rims.

    Edit: Besides, even getting a Camaro up on the curb wouldn't do any good... damn low clearance cars. >.>

    Aurin on
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Yeah I don't trust either or, so that's why I take it in.

    Hell I'd pay $50 for an oil change.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • saltinesssaltiness Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Yeah it's a sloped driveway. It depends on the height of the curb for the car though. They're about eight inches where I live which is more than enough room for me to get under my Accord which is a pretty low car. I trust my car, if I can park it on the ridiculously steep SF hills and the parking brake holds then it's surely not going anywhere on a flat road.

    saltiness on
    XBL: heavenkils
  • Lord YodLord Yod Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Hey, there's a reason that professionals use tools for this, instead of sloped driveways. There's a reason that OSHA will give you tons of shit if they catch you doing this.

    That reason is you could die if something breaks, and it's just stupid to risk it when the proper tools cost so little.

    Lord Yod on
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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Lord Yod wrote: »
    Hey, there's a reason that professionals use tools for this, instead of sloped driveways. There's a reason that OSHA will give you tons of shit if they catch you doing this.

    That reason is you could die if something breaks, and it's just stupid to risk it when the proper tools cost so little.

    OSHA only has jurisdiction in the workplace, though.

    I feel similarly freaked out under a ramp or jack as I do near a curb, all are sufficiently scary when there's a multi-ton vehicle above you.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • AdrienAdrien Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Aurin wrote: »
    Again, it's still a wonderful way to crush yourself under a car. The car can STILL SHIFT sitting like that. Dangerous shit. Use ramps or jack stands.

    Whether you want to park your car on a curb or use the correct tools, still, always have someone out there with you.

    Edit: To clarify, yes, I understood what he meant driving the side wheels up on the curb. Any amount of weight moving that car from side to side can make it move. Also, curbs are not made for that sort of thing. I'd much rather:

    1. Be in a garage where I don't have to slide along the damn street.

    2. Have the vehicle supported by things that are actually made to support the vehicle. Laying on your back under an object that weighs a ton allows for no cutting of corners. It's too easy for that thing to shift or bounce from movements you're making underneath the car and drop it on your head.

    But hey, your funeral.

    Shift... sideways? Are you worried the tire is going to blow out, or something?

    Adrien on
    tmkm.jpg
  • saltinesssaltiness Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    A curb is a solid piece of concrete on a bed of aggregate that is meant to support a lot of weight. Part of the function of a curb is to protect the sidewalk and it's inhabitants (pedestrians) from cars. Also, my technique is almost identical to that used in professional oil change places. They have a pit in the floor that they drive the car over - my pit just happens to be shallower than theirs. But yes, my funeral.

    saltiness on
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  • Forbe!Forbe! Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Parking a car on the street like that isn't as safe as performing it in your garage with jackstands. I would be afraid of some moron clipping the car, and the car coming down on me.

    I used to work on cars full time for about 3 years, so here is my advice on jacking.

    While you don't NEED jackstands, they are recommended. Floorjacks aren't usually meant to hold the car upright for an extended time. They are meant to raise the car up long enough to get a more stable item (jackstand) underneath to hold the car up. I've seen about three or four 12 ton floorjacks fail (while the car was jacked up) in the 3 years I worked in a garage, one of which was about a week old.

    I own a Kia Rio which has very little clearance in the front. I use ramps and chock blocks made out of old 2x4s. I would say this would be your best bet. Again you can use a ramp without chocks, but they just used there as a failsafe. If the car isn't parked correctly on the ramps, the blocks will usually stop it from crushing you.

    Just be careful, because the ramps WILL scratch up the front bumper, especially if the car is that low to the ground. Throwing towels on the highest part of the ramps (usually the outside edge) will help stop that.

    Forbe! on
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  • CooterTKECooterTKE Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    When ever i also work on my car I use my extra snowtires and lay one down just on the other side of the jack stand. This way is the stand does kick out which i have had the tire stops the car from falling very far.

    CooterTKE on
  • AurinAurin Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Adrien wrote: »
    Aurin wrote: »
    Again, it's still a wonderful way to crush yourself under a car. The car can STILL SHIFT sitting like that. Dangerous shit. Use ramps or jack stands.

    Whether you want to park your car on a curb or use the correct tools, still, always have someone out there with you.

    Edit: To clarify, yes, I understood what he meant driving the side wheels up on the curb. Any amount of weight moving that car from side to side can make it move. Also, curbs are not made for that sort of thing. I'd much rather:

    1. Be in a garage where I don't have to slide along the damn street.

    2. Have the vehicle supported by things that are actually made to support the vehicle. Laying on your back under an object that weighs a ton allows for no cutting of corners. It's too easy for that thing to shift or bounce from movements you're making underneath the car and drop it on your head.

    But hey, your funeral.

    Shift... sideways? Are you worried the tire is going to blow out, or something?

    Anything could happen, anything can break in a car at any point in time. I would much rather have something fail on ramps or jack stands where it's not going to fall on my head.

    Also, the pit in the garage? Either side of that thing is solid concrete. Again, correct tools for the job.

    And I'm done in here, you guys are crazy. :P

    Aurin on
  • PheezerPheezer Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited May 2008
    Guys, it's not legal to do a fucking oil change on a public street. It's not legal to park your car halfway onto the curb. It's also stupid and yes still dangerous and for fuck's sakes, spend $50 on the jacks or ramps or just take to one of those 5 minute oil change places. They'll do a better job anyhow since the oil will be hot leaving your car.

    Pheezer on
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  • saltinesssaltiness Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    edit: nevermind, looked it up myself.

    saltiness on
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  • wmelonwmelon Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I'd just like to chime in and recommend that no one use the Fram oil filters. They are practically the same as running your oil through a piece of cardboard to clean it out. Here's some information as to why i say that http://www.knizefamily.net/minimopar/oilfilters/reference.html

    I only use the Mobil1 filters, but here's a list of good ones http://www.knizefamily.net/minimopar/oilfilters/opinions.html

    wmelon on
  • firewaterwordfirewaterword Satchitananda Pais Vasco to San FranciscoRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    wmelon wrote: »
    I'd just like to chime in and recommend that no one use the Fram oil filters. They are practically the same as running your oil through a piece of cardboard to clean it out. Here's some information as to why i say that http://www.knizefamily.net/minimopar/oilfilters/reference.html

    I only use the Mobil1 filters, but here's a list of good ones http://www.knizefamily.net/minimopar/oilfilters/opinions.html

    Hot damn, thanks for that link. That looks like more than anyone could ever want to know about oil filters. Awesome.

    And for what it's worth, I won't be attempting the sidewalk thing. That scares me just thinking about it. The peace of mind they'll provide is far more than worth the costs of stands/chalks/ramps.

    I'm also aware of the benefits of getting the oil warm (not hot, for god sakes!). But yeah, I'm just not comfortable getting it done at either of the quick-stop oil places in my area, even if it means some added work on my part.

    Anyway, thanks again for all the replies.

    firewaterword on
    Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
  • saltinesssaltiness Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Just always remember to put the oil pan plug back in before you start putting in the new oil!

    saltiness on
    XBL: heavenkils
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