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Oil Change Woes & Question

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Kirk G

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So, the last time my car was serviced, they changed the tires, changed the oil and filter and checked the alignment.

Now, It's about time to change the oil and filter again (which I normally do myself under the car) and I discover that they've put the oil filter on so tightly, that I can't get it off... no way, no wrench, no how.

So, I search for my oil filter wrench, and discover that the wife has "cleaned up" the basement tool area, and basically hidden (stored) everything in a new place (shelves, cubbies, hooks, pegboard) according to her understand of what it is. Basically, I can't find anything cause it's not where I left it, nor is it with the other things I would need. I can't find my oil filter wrench. But I can find the 5 gallon oil jug, the drip pan, funnel and socket set.

So, I get under the car with the socket set, rags, oil catch pan, gloves, and change the oil, but NOT the filter, since it won't come off.
I find only two of the three quarts of oil that I've got to replace the oil (normally 4 with a filter change) since she's hidden the jugs and bottles in new locations.

I get the oil changed, and realize I have only two quarts in the last of the 5 quart jug, but add it to the engine...and since I can't find the third and fourth.... I give up.

I drive the second car to the car parts store, and buy two individual quarts of long life oil of the right value, and get home.

I open one quart and add it to the motor (total now 3 in the engine) when my wife magically comes up with the other quarts that she has hidden next to the coolant ("all the jugs were the same color, so I put them all together").

I finish up, check the dipstick, and find the level is just at the bottom dimple on the stick, indicating just enough to operate the car. I clean up and put things away where I WANT THEM, and go into shower, clean up and relax.

I've complained loudly to my wife that I can't find the oil filter wrench, and so will have to change the filter either in 6 months, or 3,000 miles at an oil change place. While I'm showering, she goes around in the basement tool area but can't find where she's put the filter wrench, but comes up with an OLDER style that is made of orange plastic (like a giant reversible socket) that doesn't fit tea cup style filters. So it's of no service to me any longer.

I tell her that I needed one that looked like a tea cup made out of metal... or an old jello mold, and she disappears.

Two minutes later, she returns with the missing oil filter wrench. She had taken it and stored it in the kitchen, cause she thought it was some sort of tart mold or cookie cutter or could be used to mold jello.

So, it's too late to change the oil filter today, but I'll try to find time over the next weekend to consider using it to remove and replace the oil filter.

MY QUESTIONS ARE:
1) I assume that I must drain the oil out of the engine before attempting to remove the oil filter, right? Otherwise, it might be at a level where it would flow out of the oil filter mount and down the side of the engine into my catch pan.

2) If the car hasn't been run very much or very long (read, under 15 miles total over the week, and only for short errands), then the oil will have circulated, but not picked up much particular matter or debris. It's still relatively clean oil, but technically, used oil. Can I safely remove the old filter, drain it of left over oil into the catch pan, replace a new oil filter onto the motor, close the drain plug AND REUSE MY 'new' MOTOR OIL INTO THE MOTOR AGAIN?

3) I don't want to waste the 3 quarts currently in the car, but with the change of the oil filter... a fourth NEW quart of high mileage oil AND the 3 quarts I've just drained out of the engine will bring the dip stick level back to the top dimple...making it a complete change and maximum level recommended.

I can't afford to be wasting $20 of oil, but I don't want to risk my ten year old car by recycling the oil I drain this weekend back into the motor if it's going to hurt it.

What would you do?
Is there anything wrong with my plan to temporarily drain the oil, replace the filter now that I have the proper oil filter socket, and then reuse the same oil plus a fourth quart fresh?
 

justinwebb

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I honestly wouldn't risk using the oil that came out no matter how long as it could pick up dirt/metal on the way out of the pan/ catch container. 20 bucks isn't worth risking an engine and they always say do it right the first time.

You will want to drain it before removing the oil filter or else you will have a giant mess as well. The oil also doesnt need to be filled to the max mark, the hash lines in between min and max is where you want to be.
 
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hornet driver

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Replace it all and be done with it!! Consider it a twenty dollar insurance policy. While you could just change the filter and move on with no ill affects. There's always"THAT CHANCE" just waiting out there. Don't take that chance.---H
 

mkadams001

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How often do you change your oil? If it is 3000 miles then I would not do anything until I was closer to the 3000 mark. I don't think there would be a problem with reusing your oil except for contamination during the drain cycle. I chunk of something will fall into the pan.

Changing the oil filer without draining may be ok depending how high up it is on the engine.

Overall if you are changing oil frequently then I would wait until my next change.
 

TopRamen

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I always do it myself with Mobil 1, and the rule that I was always taught as a Mechanic was "Hand-Tight Plus One Quarter Turn".
I also make sure to properly clean all mating surfaces and the area around where the new filter mounts to, so that if somehow something is wrong, I'll catch it in my "Day After" inspection.
All is masked off but the funnel when adding the new oil, as there is no reason to make a mess, and infact that would just make it hard to see parts of your motor. You need to see those parts.

I wish I had saved all of my P.M.C.S. Comics from the Army.:facepalm:

Perhaps they are online for free somewhere by now?
 
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Igotnothing

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Just leave it till the next scheduled change and replace the filter then. Unless you are towing with the car or racing it. Filters have a bunch of surplus designed into their capacity so the makers don't get blamed for a wrecked engine.
 

OverTheTop

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If you have a stubborn filter and no special tool, you can punch a screwdriver through the filter, from one side to the other, and use that to turn the filter until it frees up. Not pretty, but it works.
 

DavidMcCann

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If you have a stubborn filter and no special tool, you can punch a screwdriver through the filter, from one side to the other, and use that to turn the filter until it frees up. Not pretty, but it works.
been there, lol.

If you have a clean drip pan...I'd reuse it.
 

ThirstyBarbarian

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I think the main lesson here is not to change the oil if you haven't found the filter wrench and the full amount of replacement oil. Just get everything together before you start. Did you have some burning desire to do it right then and just could not wait?

Anyway.... I'd say you could probably just continue to use the old filter until your next change. Just keep an eye on the condition of the oil when you check the level, and if it looks crappy before the next scheduled change, you might want to change it early. Or, if you have a decently clean pan, it seems like it would be fine to drain what you've put in, change the filter, and then put the oil back in. If you get some minor contamination, the filter should take care of it. That's what it does --- it filters.

Personally, I gave up changing my own oil years ago, and I have the car serviced instead. It doesn't cost very much more compared to buying everything and doing it yourself. It's faster. I always used to somehow make a mess or cause some kind of frustrating aggravation. And they dispose of the used oil and filter properly for you. For me, it's definitely worth it.
 

cherokeej

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Negative. Change the oil properly. That includes changing the filter. There was almost a quart of filthy oil left in the old filter. Run the new oil with the old filter, you just contaminated the new oil. You want that in your engine?
 

Screaminhelo

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I always do it myself with Mobil 1, and the rule that I was always taught as a Mechanic was "Hand-Tight Plus One Quarter Turn".
I also make sure to properly clean all mating surfaces and the area around where the new filter mounts to, so that if somehow something is wrong, I'll catch it in my "Day After" inspection.
All is masked off but the funnel when adding the new oil, as there is no reason to make a mess, and infact that would just make it hard to see parts of your motor. You need to see those parts.

I wish I had saved all of my P.M.C.S. Comics from the Army.:facepalm:

Perhaps they are online for free somewhere by now?

PS Magazine Archive


As for the oil situation, my 12 year old GMC truck uses an oil life monitor and it typically indicates about a 10 mile interval. I usually change the filter at 5k, if not a complete oil change. With the engine off, the oil level should be below the filter neck and you will lose about a quart if you just change the filter. Judging oil condition by color is not really reliable, dark oil can still be good as long as the friction modifiers haven't broken down. If you decide to do just the filter and top it off, I would go to the short side on your next oil change. If you are using full synthetic oil, you should be just fine.

Oil is much more robust that many realize. In turbine engines, the oil is not changed, just topped off as needed as long as there are no issues and these engines reach temps of 800 deg C. It is a bit of an apples and oranges comparrison but I figured that I would add it in the pretense of offering more info so that I could impress with you with knowledge.
 

tmacklin

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Sounds to me like the honeymoon may be over. :rant:
 

Zeus-cat

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If you have a stubborn filter and no special tool, you can punch a screwdriver through the filter, from one side to the other, and use that to turn the filter until it frees up. Not pretty, but it works.
But if it still won't come off you are screwed.

I listen to the car guys (Click and Clack) a lot and they say the 3,000 mile oil change is something that oil companies came up with. My car has an oil sensor and the oil gets changed about every 10,000 miles. So unless you have a problem with your engine or you drive in really dirty conditions I would think you are fine to use the same filter until you change the oil again.

By the way, I am never eating anything your wife cooks. Jello mold? Really???
 

tomsteve

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you can change the filter without draining the oil unless your oil filter is below the drain plug.
3,000 miles IS something the oil companies came up with. they make TONS of money off of people who don't know anything about motor oil other than what the oil companies tell them. lots of independent studies done on it. its supposed to look dirty. its oil! IF the oil truly is dirty and contaminated, then the oil filter isn't working. besides, its the viscosity that's important and the viscosity is still just as good at 3k miles as it was at 100. unless youre drag racing.

ive been changing my oil filter every 3k miles and oil every 6 on my 1996 Saturn Sl2 for the last 123,000 miles. I replaced the valve cover gasket in may and the top end of the engine is spotless.

if that oil filter wont come off, drive a screwdriver through it up near the base and use it to help turn it. only time ive had to do that is when the oil filter was put on at an oil change place or stealership.

imo, you should spend some time in your wifes kitchen and put her things where you think they should be!!
 

Peartree

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I second (third?) the opinions that you should just leave the filter alone until the next oil change. Reliable studies (including extensive testing by Consumer Reports on engine life and wear) have repeatedly shown that there is no scientific basis for the 3000 mile oil change "rule." The more common recommendation from auto manufacturers today is more like 6k. So waiting another 3 to 6,000 miles and then changing both filter and oil should be fine.
 

AlfaBrewer

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Little known fact - the oil wont break down in a properly running engine. You change the oil because the detergents get consumed and can no longer do their job properly. Liek others have said, the 3000 mile myth came from Jiffy Lube - which is owned by Pennzoil.

If you're using M1, leave it be. It'll be fine for much more than 3000 miles. Even with the small amount that was trapped in the filter.
 

Rex R

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way back when folks were using straight viscosity oils, 3k would be about right to change from summer weight to winter weight oil(and back again the following year).
Rex
 

Steven

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Old oil begins to lose it's cooling properties which is the real reason to change it at all.
 

michigander

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I didn't read the whole post I admit , I have a used Buick that took a socket for filter and 1/2 drive breaker bar to loosen from dealer service.

Oil I use Mobil 1 not the high mileage stuff , high mileage is a no no with this Buick not dexos approved

https://mobiloil.com/en/motor-oils/mobil-1/mobil-1
 
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Screaminhelo

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I didn't read the whole post I admit , I have a used Buick that took a socket for filter and 1/2 drive breaker bar to loosen from dealer service.

Oil I use Mobil 1 not the high mileage stuff , high mileage is a no no with this Buick not dexos approved

https://mobiloil.com/en/motor-oils/mobil-1/mobil-1
I had been using a high mileage formula in my trucks for years until a friend suggested that if I switched to regular synthetic, I wouldn't have the seeps that I was seeing. I switched to Mobile1 and the seeps almost completely disappeared. It seems as though the conditioners that are added to high mileage oils can soften some of the rubber the seals to the point where they are too pliable.
 

RocketRohde

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Haven't seen this posted yet, but check the owners manual. I know the dealers, oil change places, and parts places all say 3,000 for regular oil, the manual may have a different number. I know my current vehicle say 5,000 miles and my wife's reads 4500.
 

Igotnothing

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If you have a stubborn filter and no special tool, you can punch a screwdriver through the filter, from one side to the other, and use that to turn the filter until it frees up. Not pretty, but it works.
Or, it just tears the old filter apart without unscrewing it. At which point you are screwed. Been there, done that.
 

Kirk G

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If you have a stubborn filter and no special tool, you can punch a screwdriver through the filter, from one side to the other, and use that to turn the filter until it frees up. Not pretty, but it works.
I actually did this about 37 years ago when I first left home and did my first oil change in the apartment complex parking lot in Kalamazoo.
Since I had drained the oil out, but couldn't get the filter off, I decided to drive a screwdriver through the barrel and use the leverage to turn it free.
It shredded the thin sheet metal of the skin of the filter, and bled some more oil which my drop pan caught.... but I got it off.

When I related the tale to my late father, he turned white as a sheet.
He pointed out that if I had done that and NOT gotten it free, my car would have been immobilized (until I called a tow truck and incurred a MAJOR expense. The whole point was to save money by doing it for myself. Total cost, well under $10 in 1980.)

He was right. I invested in my first filter wrench, that I still have SOMEWHERE...and used it a handful of times until the motor oil filters shrank to smaller than the wrench could squeeze without a "spacer" to take up the gap...

I've never seriously thought of trying that "screwdriver solution" again.
 

Rex R

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for GM normal driving they suggest 7500 miles(or wait till the light comes on :)).
Rex
 

Winston

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I recall reading somewhere back when I did my own oil changes that a common reason for a stuck filter is a failure to put some motor oil on the gasket before installing it.
 

Steven

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mpitfield

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Your wife isn't a good looking blond, 5' 7" with an Irish mother...if so I think I married her twin sister! Having said that my wife seems to have the ability to disconnect her brain from her hands, which seem to operate independently, and when she "organizes" things she honestly has no idea of what went where! It is almost like something takes over her body.
 

DavidMcCann

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Your wife isn't a good looking blond, 5' 7" with an Irish mother...if so I think I married her twin sister! Having said that my wife seems to have the ability to disconnect her brain from her hands, which seem to operate independently, and when she "organizes" things she honestly has no idea of what went where! It is almost like something takes over her body.
I wish I had this problem. My wife knows where her baby teeth are...and my organization style is ...... Less organized.
 
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