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How to Change the Oil on your Prius with Pictures

Discussion in 'Knowledge Base Articles Discussion' started by morpheusx, Oct 28, 2007.

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  1. morpheusx

    morpheusx Professor Chaos

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    I always see lots of questions about how to change the oil on the Prius which is why I decided to post this. A lot of people assume that somehow it is more difficult or different because it is a hybrid, but the truth is that changing the engine oil is exactly the same as every single typical car.
    List of items required are
    1. Oil Pan Bucket (you can also use a cat litter pan)
    2. 14 MM Socket and ratchet (or wrench if you prefer)
    3. 3.5 qts of a quality brand of 5W 30 oil (I like Mobil 1, Castrol, Havoline and Penzoil and I prefer synthetic, but it isn’t required)
    4. a new quality Filter (I like Purolator, Mobil, or the Toyota OEM filter)
    Other Items that may be useful
    1. Oil Filter wrench (the ones with the rubber strap work the easiest for the Prius)
    2. a rag to wipe your hands and cleanup
    3. You may find it easier to pull out the jack and lift the car up a few extra inches.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    First if you have never changed the oil before identify the oil plug In the Picture above it is the bolt that is closest the wheel.

    Turn Counter Clockwise with a 14 MM socket after loosening that initial bit I like to replace my ratchet with an extender and loosen the rest of the way by hand, I find that it allows with a little care to remove the bolt without dropping it in the pan of dirty oil while also keeping your hands fairly clean. Also be careful not to lose the washer on the bolt.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    After the oil slows to just a drip you can now remove the filter.
    [​IMG]

    Turn counter clockwise. When loosened a little bit of oil will come down the side of the filter so have you pan in position. Depending on who put on the old filter it could be difficult to remove because of how small it is and the clearance around it where the oil filter wrench may come in handy, I had to get a screw driver and jab it through my factory filter. Also out of previous experience I make sure the rubber gasket on the old filter is still there I had one instance in the past but not with the Prius where the rubber gasket from the old filter stuck to the car and made for quite a mess when I started the car.

    [​IMG]

    When putting on the new filter I put just a drop of the old oil on my finger and rub it across the gasket as it helps seal from any leaks. And hand tighten until Snug DO NOT over tighten or use a wrench.

    Put the Drail Bolt back on Important: Remember to check to make sure the Washer is on the bolt, it will slowly drip if not.
    Pour in 3 quarts of oil, Then start the car for a minute to allow the filter to fill with oil, then shut off, since you need to wait about 5 minutes to allow the oil go back into the oil pan completely I find this to be a good time to dump the old oil into to a container. I save my windshield washer bottles for this purpose. Now pull the dipstick just to wipe clean then put back in and check the level (3qt’s should put you about half way between the add and full marks, I would start by adding about another quarter of a quart and seeing where that takes it and leave just a fraction below the full line)

    Then take your used oil at your convenience back to the store, I know that both Autozone and Advance AutoParts take back the oil and I hear WalMart and most oil lube places will too.
    [​IMG]
  2. Ichabod

    Ichabod Artist In Residence

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  3. Bob64

    Bob64 Sapphire of the Blue Sky

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    What do you do with your old filters?
  4. morpheusx

    morpheusx Professor Chaos

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Bob64 @ Oct 28 2007, 11:35 PM) [snapback]531792[/snapback]</div>

    I usually leave them turned over in the bucket until the next time I change the oil so that they drain completely, then I just throw them in the trash eventually. I have changed the oil in my Prius 3 times and so far I have kept all the filters because I was thinking about cutting them in half if I ever get bored enough and examining them.
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  5. StanSieger

    StanSieger New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(morpheusx @ Oct 28 2007, 08:49 PM) [snapback]531744[/snapback]</div>

    I think that it is recommended that you replace the washer with every oil change. This is like a $0.25 item, even from Toyota.
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  6. morpheusx

    morpheusx Professor Chaos

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(SSieger @ Oct 29 2007, 12:06 AM) [snapback]531805[/snapback]</div>

    Its also not a bad idea to have a few spares on hand in case you drop it and can't find it. I usually always will re-use it.
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  7. hobbit

    hobbit Senior Member

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    You can re-use the washer a time or two, but note that they're
    supposed to be one-shot deformable crush washers and eventually
    reach the end of their crushability and won't seal quite the same
    way anymore. If the bolt and pan hole surfaces are nice and flat,
    you can probably get away with this a few times.
    .
    It's good to get back under there a couple of days after the change
    and make sure the drain bolt is still torqued. It tends to loosen
    up a little as the washer thermal-cycles and settles.
    .
    I use the NAPA gold 1394 [nee Wix], convenient because there's a
    NAPA right down the street.
    .
    _H*
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  8. Ichabod

    Ichabod Artist In Residence

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    I just put the same Wix filter in our Camry... it takes the same size filter as the Prius, but I didn't know that until after I bought a filter for each car at 2 different stores... long story...

    ANYWAY... the filter screws in from above in the Camry, and I was having trouble getting the Wix filter to thread properly, I took a closer look at the threads inside the filter and it looked like it was double-threaded. Meaning, the same threading was cut twice, but once it was a little shallow, and the shallow thread was the one that was catching.

    SO... I was able to screw it on by pulling up gently on the filter as I screwed it down so it would catch the first set of threads, not the second. It went on nice and tight after that, and didn't seem to have any play, and hasn't shown any signs of looseness or leaks.

    HOWEVER... being the paranoid type, now I'm wondering if that sounds dangerous and I should replace it... Or if I should just ignore it because if it leaks, the oil will leak onto the block and create a nice cloud of smoke to warn me before the engine seizes :D
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  9. lefat1

    lefat1 Fat Member

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    if that filter had 2 sets of threads, i'd get rid of it.
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  10. subarutoo

    subarutoo New Member

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    The only thing I would add is to fill up the filter about 3/4 full before threading it on the engine. I learned that years ago that it is a good thing to have oil in the filter before you re-start the engine. Replacing the filter is really a "by Brialle" experience since you can't see anything with the car being so low, and the plastic undertray in the way.
  11. blamy

    blamy Member

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    Very nice description and set of pictures. I'm not crazy about letting my Dealer do this and am thinking of doing it myself from now on. Big help; Thanks.
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  12. Winston

    Winston Member

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    It is best to just do it yourself.

    I cant quite change the oil without jacking it up, but I hate the hassle of jacking up, intalling jack stands, etc. So, I just drive up on a couple 2x4s. That inch and a half is just enough for me to have enough clearance to change the oil.

    As far as the crush washers. I had a Mitsubishi with the original crush washer and 175k miles. I changed the oil myself every time. The oil plug never leaked a drop. I just never got around to purchasing a new one.
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  13. morpheusx

    morpheusx Professor Chaos

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Winston @ Nov 2 2007, 10:56 AM) [snapback]533866[/snapback]</div>

    I like that 2x4 tip, I'm gonna try that next time because as you said if you jack it up you only need an extra inch and a half or so. I also had on my previous car over 175k miles on the original crush water and its never dripped any oil.
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  14. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    It's a good idea to have a washer in your tool box just in case.

    I wouldn't worry about the filter that seemed to have a double thread, if it went on tight it will be fine.
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  15. McShemp

    McShemp New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(morpheusx @ Nov 3 2007, 09:56 AM) [snapback]534284[/snapback]</div>

    Rhino ramps are so worth it.
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  16. hobbit

    hobbit Senior Member

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    Want that free 2 inches the easy way? Haul out the scissor jack and
    crank the *driver's* side of the car up a little ways. Not with the
    wheel off the ground, just unweight the suspension a little. It
    gives you all the room you need and tilts the oil pan a little toward
    the drain hole, helping get a more complete empty as well.
    .
    _H*
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  17. jwhite518

    jwhite518 Junior Member

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    The term "crush washer" is outdated. You're not supposed to tighten them so tight that they deform. My BMW motorcycle has them on all the fluid drain plugs and they never crush.
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  18. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    That's true, a crush washer is made from thin material rolled into a donut which does crush down when you tighten the plug like a sparkplug washer. The washer on Toyota sump drain plugs is solid aluminium or gasket card and distorts minimallly to conform to any unevenness in the surface of the plug or sump.
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  19. dogfriend

    dogfriend Human - Animal Hybrid

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    Where I live (Sacramento County, CA) I can take the used filters to the local refuse transfer station (aka Garbage Dump). They have a Recycling facility that will take Used Oil and ATF, Used Oil Filters, Batteries, Old Paint, Pesticides, etc. I think that some of the auto parts stores that accept oil will accept the filters also. I wouldn't throw them in the regular trash if at all possible.
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  20. jackowens

    jackowens New Member

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    For my part, I'd like to get some suitable ramps to have plenty of room to work under the car.

    Before I got my 2005 Prius I had an 1986 Chevy Nova for which I bought and used ramps, but I found that they could not be used with the Prius because they are too steep; the front bumper of the Prius contacts the ramps before the wheels do.

    Does anyone know where one can get ramps that are suitable for a Prius? I just need enough of a rise to be able to get my hydraulic jack under the car to reach the point that the manual recommends that one use for a hydraulic jack. My hydraulic jack has too high a profile to be able to get it under the motor unless the car is raised a bit.