Change your own oil!

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by hammy, Jul 20, 2008.

  1. hammy

    hammy Prius Addict

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    After hearing so many stories about dealers I decided to go back to changing the oil myself as I did back in the 70's. I could not believe how easy it is to change the filter and oil on the Prius! Driving up on ramps you do not even have to get under the car. The filter and oil pan bolt is up front on the passanger side and so easy to get at. It took 5 minutes. I used Mobil 1 High Performance Synthetic 5W-30 (3.9qts) and a Mobil 1 High performance filter. Total cost is $30.00 and the oil and filter are much better than the dealers.
     
  2. bruceha_2000

    bruceha_2000 Senior Member

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    Check your oil level. I will be very surprised if it is not over the top mark, almost 1/4". I know what the manual says. I know what the oil change guy at the dealer says. My cars say different, both our Prii hit the mark with 3 quarts, 18 oz. You can put in 3.5 quarts and be just below the top mark. Not a problem.
     
  3. Highly ImPriused

    Highly ImPriused Impressive Member

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    An even better idea IMO is to put in exactly 3 quarts and have the oil level half way between the high and low marks.
     
  4. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Exactly. 3.5 with new filter.
    I have tried the below the mark oil trick and have seen no difference on mpg's. Maybe you have to go way below the mark which I'm not willing to do. In fact when the car is delivered to you from the factory its always overfilled about an 1/8th of an inch over. I think Toyota put that oil level mark on this car for a reason. Thats where the oil level should be.At full your nowheres near the crank which could be the only reason it would take a hit on mileage. If the crank/piston rod was hitting the oil in the oil pan.
    But I bet even if the piston rod was hitting the oil a little it still would'nt
    give you a mileage hit.It would just be foaming the oil which is a bad thing.:peep:
     
  5. Highly ImPriused

    Highly ImPriused Impressive Member

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    There are two marks on the dipstick. One is high and the other is low. The owner's manual states that anywhere in this range is an acceptable oil level. 3.0 quarts with a new filter puts the level right at the midpoint between these two marks. I can understand not wanting to be right at the low mark to allow for a margin of safety in case you burn a bit of oil (I've never seen my oil level drop though). I don't see why anyone would want to use more oil than is necessary.
     
  6. freshmtt

    freshmtt Dachshund Addict

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    Does someone have pics to show how to do this?, I have never even attempted to change my own oil in a car. I have no idea how to even go about this, but if it is as easy as it seems according to the OP then I might even give this a shot myself.

    If anyone can direct me to detailed pics, that would be great!
     
  7. Highly ImPriused

    Highly ImPriused Impressive Member

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    Here is exactly what you're looking for: John's Stuff - Toyota Prius Maintenance - Changing Oil

    I had never done an oil change myself before this car either and I had no problems whatsoever following this guide. It's super easy (and very satisfying).
     
  8. lefat1

    lefat1 Fat Member

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    do you have some mechanical aptitude? if not do not attempt!
     
  9. freshmtt

    freshmtt Dachshund Addict

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    Yes, I'm actually pretty good at fixing lots of things around the house, I can change electrical outlets, work on basic plumbing, I clean my own furnace every fall and save the $95 to have a Heating/AC guy come out and do it. I can read and follow directions very well as long as the directions are clear and good picture diagrams are available.

    My husband knows how to change oil and used to do it all the time when he lived in Europe and Africa, so I can always ask him for guidance. If this is so easy, and very accessable then I can probably do it myself. I just never took an interest in trying to learn.
     
  10. rwhoyle

    rwhoyle Member

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    Just had my first oil change done on my car at the local Toyota Dealership. I was insistant and specified 3.5 quarts only and not the 3.9 listed in the Owners Manual. I checked the dip stick the next morning and the oil level was about 1/8" below the full mark, just where I was hoping it would be. I did this on my wife's Prius earlier in the year with the same results, so I believe specifying only adding 3.5 quarts on a oil change is a good solution to the "oil change overfill problem" that others have encountered. The tech who I dealt with was resistant at first and wanted to add the full 3.9 quarts. After some discussion, he stated adding 3.5 quarts would not be a problem as they physically input the desired oil volumn into the oil despenser. He did state the 3.5 quart volume would not indicate a full level on the dip stick. He also noted on the Dealership Invoice the the customer had specified only 3.5 quarts to be added.
     
  11. bac

    bac Active Member

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    Really? It's 1 screw and 1 (screw off) oil filter. :confused:

    ... Brad
     
  12. krmcg

    krmcg Lowered Blizzard Pearl Beauty

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    I purchased my own oil and filter (Mobil1 synthetic 0w-30 Advanced Fuel Economy) and took my car to Jiffylube. Even with my insistence not to overfill the crackcase, they added too much oil. ( We apparently did not wait long enough to check it before I left the shop) After checking the level at home afterwards and seeing the oil line above the top "dot", I went back and had them drain some out until it was about and eighth of an inch below the top mark.
    It was an expensive proposition, and I may go ahead and do it myself next time. I will at least only give them the 3.5 quarts, so that they can not overfill it.
    Kevin McGonagle
     
  13. icarus

    icarus Senior Member

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    For DIY oil changers out there, I discovered a great idea. Use a small hand vacuum pump to suck the oil out instead of pulling the plug. I was very skeptical at first until my independent shop guy showed me that that is what they use on all the high rent cars. I bought a pump at Boaters World for ~$30. Stick the hose in the dipstick hole, pump the pump a few times, and sit back and wait. Takes about five minutes to suck ALL the oil out of the pan. To be sure, I pulled the plug anyway, and got not one drop to come out of the drain! Pull the filter, spin on a new on and away you go. Way less mess, no risk of stripping the drain plug, no hassle of remembering to get a new gasket for the plug. I'm sold! Works great on small engines as well.

    Icarus
     
  14. yams69

    yams69 Junior Member

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    An alternative to the vacuum pump approach is the Fumoto oil drain valve, discussed here previously. Installed mine during my first oil change this weekend. Just flip the lever and the oil drains out - no fishing the drain plug out of the used oil anymore! Of course, as easy as it is to drain the oil now, it's a piece of cake for a knowledgeable person to screw up my car. Guess I'd better be nice to everyone....

    The oil filter, on the other hand, was pretty tricky to access, even with the car up on Rhino ramps. I added a few extensions to my ratchet set to make it a bit easier next time.
     
  15. hammy

    hammy Prius Addict

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    Imagination or not my Commute mileage dropped by 6 MPG this past week with 3.9 Qts. My driving technique or route did not change. I just drained a half quart out and I am interested in the results.
     
  16. bac

    bac Active Member

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    Hey Icarus. Is the pump something like this?

    Amazon.com: SeaChoice Oil Change Pump: Sports & Outdoors

    ... Brad
     
  17. okiebutnotfrommuskogee

    okiebutnotfrommuskogee Senior Member

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    The last time I was at the dealer's for my "free" oil change I told the service writer (or what ever they call them nowdays) to put a notation on the ticket that said "do not overfill"

    When I got the car back I checked the oil before driving away. It was right at the top mark. I didn't really read my copy of the invoice when I got the smart key back because it was no charge anyway.

    At home when I was putting the invoice in my Prius book I took time to read what it said. He had really typed in "do not overfill - customer will check oil in parking lot"

    I have one more "free" change to go and then will probably go back to doing my own oil changes using Mobile 1, but still go to the dealer to buy my filters and drain plug gaskets so that there will be a trail for warranty purposes.

    Believe it or not, going to this dealership is kinda fun. They have a cafe with some free goodies for customers. The more expensive stuff costs. At one end of the large showroom is a soothing waterfall. It is really a neat place and worth a trip even if you are not going for service or to shop for a car.
     
  18. TheDrGene

    TheDrGene Beard and Sandals Group

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    My Dealership wanted $95 to change the oil. It was part of a whole "package" that included oil and filter as well as tire rotation and a fuel additive to the tank.

    I opted to change my own oil, Mobil 1 and filter was $22 and I then took my wife out for a nice dinner with the change!
     
  19. kohnen

    kohnen Grumpy, Cranky Senior Member

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    4 Quarts of Mobil 1: $18
    1 Oil filter: $4
    1 Bottle of Techron: $8

    Taking your wife out to dinner with the $65 you saved by skipping the package "deal:" Priceless
     
  20. doubleg2005

    doubleg2005 Member

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    what i like is when i took Pablo in for his scheduled 25,000 mile check-up and asked for synthetic oil. you would have thought i asked for liquid diamonds.
    "you know that stuff's like $7 a quart, right?"
    after a few minutes, i quit trying to reason with the man about how synthetic lasts longer than dino or blend, isn't contributing to the middle east, and how i get better fuel economy with it. he just shrugged and said, "whatever. I suppose next you're going to ask me to fill up your tires to the sidewall rating and not to overfill the oil?"
    "why, yes I am! 50/48 on the tires and 3.5 Q will be fine"
     
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