Oil change question

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by unigeezer, Dec 28, 2015.

  1. unigeezer

    unigeezer Member

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    I have always done my own oil changes, but this time I found a good deal that was so good that it was about the same cost to do it myself, so I took my 2011 prius to "Just Tires" for a full syn oil change. I made sure to tell them that I wanted to mechanic to make sure not to overfill and let me check the level. After he was done he mentioned that he had spilled some oil during filling. I asked how that happened and he said that the funnel slipped momentarily out of the filler hole and some oil spilled out, but that he cleaned it off.

    The dipstick was exceedingly hard to read but it looked like it was way above the top dot! He said that the side with the dimples going in, (not protruding out) is normally a lot higher due too oil smearing on the dip stick when inserting it. He said the side you look at is the one with the dimples protruding out, and that it was reading correctly. But to me, even that side seemed high. He had used actual quart sized containers and said he put four plus maybe just a little from the fifth quart, and gave me the remainder left in that container, which did appear mostly full. I assume he changed the filter, and let all the oil drain out.

    Then as I got in my car I immediately smelled burnt oil from the spill, bit he said it would go away soon once it burned off. No! Two days later I still smelled it, so I went back and asked that he check it again. There was still fresh oil found by reaching back behind the filler hole so he put it up on the stand and cleaned off whatever he could see. At this point I didn't have much confidence left in his work.

    So I'm now wondering what to do and cannot seem to get a definitive reading on the oil level. I'm afraid of the engine being damaged by having too much oil in the crankcase, and the pressure causing leaks! Now I'm wondering if it's possible that he lost count and may have added 5.1 quarts instead of 4.1!
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    generally, the prius dipstick is notoriusly difficult to read. clean it well, hold it at different angles under varying light, with different backgrounds and try to see where the dipstick is completely covered, vs the smearing and streaking that runs up higher. that is the level.

    in the future, your best bet is to measure the oil first, then pour it in.

    you can get a cheap suction pump at sears to pull some out through the dipstick, see if you can get a reading, then add as needed.
    as for the oil burning smell? you went to a place called 'just tyres'. you'll have to wait for it to burn off, but you may want to use a good light to make sure there aren't any trapped puddles of oil.
     
  3. dorunron

    dorunron Senior Member

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    See if you can pump some of it out through the dipstick tube. Read both sides of the dipstick. The highest side is the one to go by. The dimples don't mean s*)t except as a reference. Four quarts is all you need with a filter change. If they added more than four, it is definitely over filled.
     
  4. unigeezer

    unigeezer Member

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    They also used "High mileage" Valvoline full syn 0w20. They said that's what they use all the time for all oil changes on prius, regardless of mileage. They did use 4.4 qts, which is what the capacity is according to the manual, with filter change.
     
  5. Montgomery

    Montgomery Senior Member

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    I wouldn't put more than 4 quarts in at oil change time. And I have to say, every time I have taken my car in for an oil change, the guy always "spilled" some. This is why I do my own oil changes. Its fun, its easy and I know its been done right. I hated when they wasted oil on my engine. My car engine compartments in the cars I have owned have always been spotless and when some nincompoop would spill oil in it, it frustrated me. The only way to get rid of the oil burning is to clean the engine area. Yes, it will slowly burn away, but it will also stain the area around it as it burns away. Just me. I like my engine looking new.
     
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  6. unigeezer

    unigeezer Member

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    I called and spoke with the regional manager and he was very friendly and sympathetic to the situation. He said he would be happy to have them drain and refill to make certain that it's not overfilled. Should I have them replace the filter or just the oil? I'm assuming the filter is new so it shouldn't need replacing. This time I will watch to make sure it's all done without a hitch, and hopefully no more spills!
     
  7. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Well, it is not necessary to drain and refill if the crankcase was overfilled. It is just necessary to drain out whatever the surplus amount happens to be - 1/2 quart, or whatever. That would avoid wasting 4+ quarts of perfectly good oil. And the filter does not need to be replaced again.

    I would think that what is also required is to have the engine steam cleaned to remove the oil residue that remains from the spill. Or, if the spill is limited, just use engine cleaner spray to dilute the oil, then wash that off with water.
     
  8. unigeezer

    unigeezer Member

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    So how would you suggest that I "drain out whatever the surplus amount happens to be..."? I did just get back from the local Toyota dealer and had a mechanic check the level. He said it looked like it was exactly at the top dot, and said it should be fine. So even if it is at the very top dot, that's ok? I always fill it no higher than about 1/4" below the top dot.
     
  9. unigeezer

    unigeezer Member

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    I heard it's not a good idea to get the engine compartment wet. Has anyone here actually spray washed the engine compartment of your prius? Should certain high voltage connections be covered?
     
  10. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Having the oil level at the top dot is perfect. That is where the level is supposed to start at.

    It is easy to drain out a small amount of oil: loosen the drain plug and hold it near the drain hole to partially obstruct the flow of oil out of the drain pan. Reinsert the drain plug when sufficient oil has come out. Wear nylon disposable gloves to protect your hands from the oil.

    I wash the engine compartment in my Prius periodically. I would not use a pressure washer out of respect for the electrical connections.
     
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  11. RRxing

    RRxing Senior Member

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    Top dot = Max
    You'll be fine...
     
  12. yeldogt

    yeldogt Active Member

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    We put the 4.4qt's in when we do the changes on both of our's The dipstick is hard to read -- mostly because the oil is always so clean.

    Don't sweat over this -- if the oil is at the top of the line or a bit over ... you will be fine.

    The plastic engine cover is easy to remove -- take it off and wipe around where the oil spilled. Having some oil on the outside of engine will not kill it.

    Sometimes it's necessary to clean off an engine. My normal way is to spot spray the heavier stuff with a household degreaser and then depending on the level of dirt either spray down the whole engine compartment with a carwash/ water mix in a spray bottle or simply pour and brush some car wash around under the hood. I wash it all off with a hose -- no nozzle 1/2 flow. Use a car wash with some wax -- it will coat everything. You don't want to spray with force -- it can get into places that will not dry easily.

    Occasionally, when I have purchased a used car it's necessary to use one of the commercial engine cleaners -- they are very strong and need to be cleaned off properly. They work well... it's important to use a wax carwash after or even one of the engine shine products so all the exposed metal does not rust/corrode/pit.
     
  13. Red15Persona

    Red15Persona Junior Member

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    That sucks man. I always do my own oil changes and just did my first one on the Prius last month. It was so easy, because the oil drain is right next to the filter. I didn't need to move my body to do both. Even if it was the same price (which it would never be), I still do my own oil changes in both of my vehicles. I love having the peace of mind that everything was done correctly.

    LG-D801 ?
     
  14. Montgomery

    Montgomery Senior Member

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    I spray off my engine once a month with the soft soap spray and soft rinse. I don't spray too much around the electrical side. It hasn't affected the electrical stuff.
     
  15. boochi101

    boochi101 Junior Member

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    The oil level is a bit easy to spot on dip stick, if it is checked in the morning after overnight parking. I know it is not correct way to measure but that will show the highest level.

    It is recommended to measure the level after 5 minutes of engine shutdown. But since the oil is so transparent it is very difficult to see the clean level mark.

    hope this helps


    iPad ?
     
  16. unigeezer

    unigeezer Member

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    I thought about lightly spray painting the lower end of the dip stick flat black thinking it would be easier to see the level, then just removing the paint afterward.
     
  17. Redpoint5

    Redpoint5 Senior Member

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    I've never understood how people that have only 1 job can routinely screw it up. The job is to change oil, which is very straight forward. It's my biggest complaint about the salesman at stealerships; they never know anything about the cars they are selling, which is their only job.

    Me- "Is the engine an interference or non-interference design?"
    Them- "I'm not sure"
    Me- "Does the engine have a timing belt, or a timing chain?"
    Them- "I'll have to check".
    Them- "We also have the car in red".

    So salesmen only know what color the cars on their lot are.

    /rant
     
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  18. PR1U$

    PR1U$ Junior Member

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    The paint won't stick to all the oil on the dipstick (even wiped clean). Even if it did sort of stick, the oil will attack spray paint. You will just introduce small partials of paint into your oil.
     
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  19. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Just hold the dipstick so that its flat surface reflects light. Then you can easily see how high the oil level reaches.
     
  20. Andyprius1

    Andyprius1 Senior Member

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    I have used simple green, cleans engine nicely.
     
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