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Thread: My DIY Oil Change Nightmare

  1. #1
    Senior Member Charlie's Avatar
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    My DIY Oil Change Nightmare

    Hi guys, just finished up my first oil change @ 1500 miles! * Lowers head shamefully * Took me the ENTIRE bloody day!!

    Background: Used to just go to quick lube places for my old car (hand me down). Now that I have a car that I bought with my own $ and care about it, I decided to do as much work on it myself as possible.

    So I had done oil changes with my dad in the past (where I would do all the work, dad supervising), and they went just fine, every time. I had no idea what lay in store for me..

    With my dad, we had stupidly just used those emergency scissor jacks on each pinch weld (Right and Left) to raise the car while we were under the car. I definitely wanted to do things right this time, EVERYTHING safely and correctly.

    So..I had bought me a 2.5 Ton Hydraulic Floor Jack (19" raise height), 2 Ton Jack Stands, 2 pairs of wheel chocks. These were all purchases I had done earlier in the month so I would have everything ready for when I hit 1500 miles.

    1500 miles hit and I was psyched, I had everything ready! Set up all my stuff in the garage and..lo and behold, the hydraulic jack was not long enough to get to the front jacking point between the two front tires!! And the floor jack was NOT one of those small wimpy ones either that you can get for like $30. It was a nice, quality one, well sized, and still came up ~8 inches short.

    I was SHOCKED. There went my idea of going under a raised car safely supported by jack stands..

    I then tried jamming myself under the car while lowered. Thankfully I am small and skinny and am able to do this.

    I then realized the strap type oil filter wrench I had bought, was not going to work due to the location of the filter + lay out of surrounding things. Uggh, yet another purchase gone wrong!

    Went back to NAPA to return my jackstands. Then went to Adv Auto Parts to return the floor jack wheel chocks. While there, also get a 'normal' oil filter wrench of the 65-67mm, 14 flute variety.

    Got back home, jammed myself under my unraised car again, and actually WAS able to get the oil filter off. BTW, that little scoop thing under the oil filter..what a joke! It does nothing! (Aggh, the goggles...they do nahthing!)

    Next, I then attempted to loosen the oil drain plug. BTW, if this saves anyone any trouble - the correct socket size for the drain plug is 17mm.

    So I heard people say that the oil filter was going to be hell due to Mitsubishi utilizing the assistance of Godzilla to screw it on. My experience with the oil filter was not 'easy' due to the unraised car/cramped space situation, but it really was nothing hard to un-tighten.

    The drain plug on the other hand! My goodness, who torqued this thing on??!! After a very good long while of struggling with the thing, I came to the terrible realization. I need to raise the car up for this. Terrible realization b/c all I had access to were 2 emergency scissor jacks, EXACTLY what I wanted to avoid from my earlier days. At this point, it was WAY too late to go back to the auto parts store to get what I really needed, some ramps. So..I actually did do the stupidest thing again. I raised the car up with the scissor jacks, and what's worse, I didn't even have my wheel chocks anymore, took a deep breath and rushed under the car so I could be under there the least amount of time possible. Even with better leverage position, thing would not budge! Repositioned my legs to use the front wheel for even better position/leverage, pushed with all my might, and BOOM!! - my left hand went flying into the front wheel well cover scraping off a good amount of skin (went through my glove like a puffy cloud).

    Got out from under the car to control the bleeding. Once the bleeding was not as bad, put on a fresh glove and got back under the car (now, I HAD to finish this!). Much to my surprise, the drain plug was loosened (that's how I hurt myself, when the stuck plug came abruptly loose, my hand followed in the direction I was loosening with all my force).

    From there on, nothing else eventful happened. Actually no, scratch that. Some winged insect actually flew in my ear canal! Happened as I was replacing the front, under panel/cover that I removed to get better access to the oil filter. Strange feeling having something flapping it's wings in your ear canal. I think I managed to get it out as I don't feel/hear anything there anymore, still..I do feel paranoid about it..

    So that was my first oil change ordeal! Good thing is, even though I DID take the whole day to do it, it was done! Actually eager for the next oil change (5000 more miles) b/c I know it will go a LOT smoother (drain plug not super torqued, etc).

    -Charlie-



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  3. #2
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    Sounds like a headache. On the bright side, at least you know what's needed for your next oil change!

    What viscosity and filter did you end up choosing to use for the change? How did the old oil look?

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    Senior Member jamiec's Avatar
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    Good on you for doing the job your self and after all the fun you had you are still going to do it again

    One tip for those tight nuts or bolts I use a rubber mallet to hit the end of the spanner this cracks it loose so you don't smash your hand into something (as you know about this now).


    Cheers Jamie

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    Congratulations on getting the job done.

    The issues you encountered may be the universe telling you that you were meant for things other than oil changes.

    I received a similar message on plumbing. I now hire plumbing jobs out and have been much happier.

    As you noted, a job can be made significantly harder and more risky without the proper tools.

    Please never again yield to the temptation to get under a car supported by scissor jacks alone. Providing any amount of engine protection is not worth sacrificing your well being.

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    Have you tried putting the car on ramps?

    I drive the focus on some 4x4s and use wooden wedges to get on them. I'm sure the clutch hates me from trying to climb the ramp but ...

    Glad you got it done! There's a good satisfaction in doing something yourself!

    My first oil change on my Cherokee was a bit frustrating. I took off the filter, no problem. Took off the drain plug, no problem. Went to remove the oil cap to add the new oil and ... the oil cap wouldn't come out.

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    Administrator Daox's Avatar
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    Welcome to the wonderful world of working on cars!

    As you learn little tricks here and there it all becomes easier to do, even when there are hangups (and there always are).

    I recommend getting yourself a 'cheater bar'. This is basically just a piece of pipe to slip over the ratchet to give you more leverage. I have one and its only about 8" long, but it really helps out a lot. The mallet trick also works quite well.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage ES 1.2 automatic: 49.0 mpg (US) ... 20.8 km/L ... 4.8 L/100 km ... 58.8 mpg (Imp)


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    Lesson learned the hard way: NEVER work on your car in a hurry.

    No matter what, keep a cool mind and take the time to go the store several times if necessary and do things correctly, even finish the job at the other day if start feeling pressured.

    You probably could have risen the car holding it by the sides with the jack and the stands.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage ES 1.2 automatic: 37.6 mpg (US) ... 16.0 km/L ... 6.3 L/100 km ... 45.2 mpg (Imp)


  9. #8
    ミラージュ Minihaha's Avatar
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    Tip (for the next time) - drain the oil out of the oilpan (via the drainplug) first, before you remove the oil filter. Any residual oil that was being held in the filter due to possible stagnant oil in the lines should release into the pan as the pressure differential will most likely cause the stagnant oil to drain. Also - crack open (a bit) the oil-fill-cap to allow full drainage.

    Also - please don't do that again with the lifting jacks and no jackstands, it's just a risk not worth taking, is it? Being crushed by your car trying to change your oil.... pretty lame way to go out. BTW - your drain bolt incident was waaaaaaaaaaay sketchy for a car not on jackstands too, the sudden inputs to the static vehicle could have spelled disaster.
    ゼロ

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage DE 1.2 manual: 33.4 mpg (US) ... 14.2 km/L ... 7.0 L/100 km ... 40.1 mpg (Imp)


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    Yep, drain the oil first from the pan, then lightly loosen the oil filter (I found it was easier to do so from the top down under the hood, instead of under the car chassis). Let the oil slowly leak from the filter down over oil guide/lip for a few minutes until it slows to a trickle, then finish removing the filter completely (from the bottom of the car this time).

  11. #10
    Administrator Daox's Avatar
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    It sounds like we need someone to write up an oil change DIY (and get a free MF decal).


        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage ES 1.2 automatic: 49.0 mpg (US) ... 20.8 km/L ... 4.8 L/100 km ... 58.8 mpg (Imp)


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