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self oil change

arty0811arty0811 Posts: 1
edited April 2014 in INFINITI
I own a 94QA, which I purchased used. I was wondering if any one has done a self-oil change, if so how? I haven't found any maintenance manuals showing how to do one. Any suggestions?



  • adc100adc100 Posts: 1,521
    You have never done one before. All oil changes are the same. You need to get someone who has done it a bunch of times before to help the first time. There are many pitfalls you can get into. Just remember the most important things are proper tightening of the pan drain plug and making sure the housing you screw the filter on is clean, put a little oil on the filter gasket. Fill the filter with oil before you put it on , if it's verticle, don't get any dirt in the engine. Make sure you put the proper amount of oil in and after the change run the car at a fast idle for a minute or so and check the filter for leaks.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,514
    Personally, with so many inexpensive ways to pay someone to change your oil, and the hassle to dispose of it properly, I don't see why you'd want to bother doing it yourself. It's one of the few things left in the automotive world that it really pays to have someone else do for you...the other is fixing a flat, for instance.

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  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    While it is true that all oil changes are the same in principle, some are way more difficult than others. In your case, your Q45 happens to be one of the most difficult. Getting the oil filter off of your car is ridiculously difficult. It is located under the hood on the drivers side, underneath the air filter box. I used to change oil all the time and my shop wouldn't even do those cars because they take so long. I recommend paying the extra money and having the dealer do it. I would if it was my car. If your car was easy, I'd say go for it, but trust me on this one, your car is not easy, unless you forget about the oil filter.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,830
    Having oil run down your arm, cleaning up your driveway WILL spill some.

    Disposing of the old oil afterwards, etc...what a PITA. And for what? Yes, you might "save" 15.00.

    But, be careful of the "quickie lube" places as some are much better than others. Some use cheap oil filters and hire marginal help.

    If this was a 1973 Ford Pickup I might feel differently but a Q-45 is a nice car that deserves the best.
  • adc100adc100 Posts: 1,521
    Changing oil yourself may be a hassle and "appears" not to be cost effective. However, When you take your car to have the oil changed will the oil changer??
    1. Allow sufficient time to have even the small amount of oil (concentrated dirty oil) at the bottom of the pan to run out.

    2. Inspect the filter and make absolutely sure no dirt gets into it when changing.

    3. Carefully clean around oil filter housing and even inside of it to get rid of dirt/sludge.

    4. Fill up the filter with oil before putting it on.

    5. Clean around filler cap to avoid dirt.

    6. Torque pan plug. Lots of cars running around with oversize plugs because of overtightening.

    7. Hopefully he/she uses the right oil and the right amount, checks for leaks, and thououghly wipes the oil pan area and fill area and does not spill too much oil on the drive belts.

    This is OK for 95% of the population, but it's not for me. Dirt is the #1 oil failure cause for all mechanical equipment. I don't want it in my engine, or the $7/hour man under my hood.

    That's just me, but there are others.
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    I am assuming that you are talking about Honda/Acuras running around with oversize plugs or rubber ducky plugs. This is not so much due to not using a torque wrench, but rather not replacing the aluminum crush gasket. Honda/Acuras have the most problems by far with their oil pans: #1 They are soft metal #2 People don't replace the crush gaskets. On Honda/Acuras, you have to replace the crush gasket everytime and if you do, you should not need a torque wrench because you only tighten until the gasket is completly "crushed" which is not as tight as you would think it is. Failing to replace the gasket is what CAUSES overtightening because IDIOTS don't know when to stop then. I changed the oil in my Integra for 100,000 miles and not once did I use a torque wrench and the oil pan threads were like new. Honda does have a torque spec for the drain plugs and I guarantee that the wrench clicks the same time as the gasket crushes. Unless you are an idiot, you shouldn't need a torque wrench for any plug, just don't tighten it too much. By the way, no $7 an hour man is going to be changing an oil filter on a Q45, its too hard, and most quicky lubes won't even do that car, and if they do, I would be nervous because they will take one look at the oil filter and decide not to do it. I understand 100% being nervous about the "quicky lubes". I worked at one for 4 years. Do it yourself or take it to the dealer.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,830
    I understand. It sounds like you go to extremes as some people do.

    Everything you mentioned makes sense I think filling the filter with oil isn't going to accomplish much, but, hey...go for it!

    And, I know that there are people who actually enjoy the process of crawling under their car, etc.

    And, yes, replace the crush washers. No torque wrench is needed.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,514
    I change my own oil, but on an Alfa Romeo it's ridiculously easy and besides, nobody ever has my oil filter in stock.

    But really, surely America is not so bad off that you can't find someone competent to do an oil change. This is hardly rocket science. And they dispose of the oil and filter safely. True enough, there are occasional bad scenes where some meat-fisted thug overtightens something or puts the filter on backwards or whatever, but there are plenty of owners who do far worse, even with the best all the poor Saab owners who drain the transmission oil rather than the engine oil (the plugs are very close together), then over fill the engine to 8 quarts, and drive off on an empty transmission!

    If you're going to do your own oil, you'd better know what you're doing these days. It's not like when Uncle Fred did it on his '65 Chevy.

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  • kinleykinley Posts: 854
    Fun = 66 Mustang GT & 77 Searay 302.

    Less Fun = 94 Towncar

    Frustration = 95 Thunderbird. Very tight filter area and oil runs down the arm when removing the old filter. Have considered having the techs do this one.
  • armtdmarmtdm Posts: 2,057
    Is that you look under the car and inspt it. You definitely cannot rely on a grease monkey at quick lube to even care that something is leaking and not right. they could care less.

    Sorry, been burned too many times, even by competent mechanics etc. who need to do a job in too short of a time to make a buck. And always inspect the work after!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • adc100adc100 Posts: 1,521
    I'm with 'ya.

    newcar31. Many cars do not have the crushable gaskets. Bottom line [non-permissible content removed] car do American do not. There must be a lot of idiots out there: I have run into 2 or 3 out of a dozen cars (not mine) I have helped change oil on. Besides oversize plugs are readily available. That says something. Anyway, I can guarantee that the gasket is crushed before the torque wrench clicks off. My Sentra calls for 22-28 ft lbs. That's a fair amount of torque and more than American cars for the same size plug without crushable gaskets.. I rarely change the crushable ones. Never had a problem or a striped plug. Think the Jiffy guys ever change it????

    Shiftright.. Good one. I liked it. Hate to admit it but one cold winter day I pulled the wrong one on my son-in-law's Nissan Quest. Talk about red faced like watching the red oil drain into the drainpan. Mercy, mercy, mercy.
  • dpwestlakedpwestlake Posts: 207
    1. Pull up to Jiffy Lube 3000 miles after the last oil change.
    2. Drink a cup of coffee.
    3. Fifteen minutes later, write a check and leave with a properly
    maintained vehicle.

    1. Go to O'Reilly auto parts and write a check for 50 dollars for oil,
    filter, kitty litter, hand cleaner and scented tree.
    2. Discover that the used oil container is full. Instead of taking it
    back to O'Reilly to recycle, dump in hole in back yard.
    3. Open a beer and drink it.
    4. Jack car up. Spend 30 minutes looking for jack stands.
    5. Find jack stands under kid's pedal car.
    6. In frustration, open another beer and drink it.
    7. Place drain pan under engine.
    8. Look for 13mm box end wrench.
    9. Give up and use crescent wrench.
    10. Unscrew drain plug.
    11. Drop drain plug in pan of hot oil; get hot oil on hand in the
    12. Clean up.
    13. Have another beer while oil is draining.
    14. Look for oil filter wrench.
    15. Give up; poke oil filter with Phillips head screwdriver and twist it off.
    16. Beer.
    17. Buddy shows up. Finish case with him. Finish oil change tomorrow.
    18. Next day, drag pan full of old oil out from underneath car, dump in hole in back yard.
    19. Throw kitty litter on oil spilled during steps 11, 15, & 18.
    20. Beer. No, drank it all yesterday.
    21. Walk to 7-11 and buy beer.
    22. Install new oil filter making sure to apply thin coat of clean oil
    to gasket first.
    23. Dump first quart of fresh oil into engine.
    24. Remember drain plug from step 11.
    25. Hurry to find drain plug in drain pan. Pan is empty. Find drain plug in back yard hole.
    26. Hurry to replace drain plug as last drop of fresh oil drains onto
    27. Slip with wrench and bang knuckles on frame.
    28. Bang head on bumper in reaction.
    29. Begin cussing fit.
    30. Throw wrench.
    31. Cuss for additional 10 minutes because wrench hit Miss December
    32. Clean up. Apply Band-Aid to knuckle.
    33. Beer.
    34. Beer.
    35. Dump in additional 4 quarts of oil.
    36. Beer.
    37. Lower car from jack stands.
    38. Accidentally crush one of the jack stands.
    39. Move car back to apply more kitty litter to fresh oil spilled during step 26.
    40. Drive car a quart low for 7000 miles when it'll be time for another oil change.
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    You hit the nail on the head, there are a lot of idiots out there. On my integra, the wrench clicked at the same time the gasket was crushed. By the way, how did you drain the transmission on that quest? The plug heads are different sizes, and its pretty obvious because the transmission is on the drivers side and the oil pan is on the passenger side. You should know this the instant you look under the hood. On a Saab, I could see it, but the Quest is pretty straightforward as far as distinguishing between the oil pan and transmission pan. At least you partially changed the transmission fluid. Like I said, on Honda/Acura cars, you MUST change the crush gasket. You may not have a problem on your Nissan, but on Hondas, the plug could fall out and/or there is a strong possibility of a leak, and you run the risk of overtightening it. By the way, Jiffy Lube orders those gaskets straight from honda and replaces them on all Honda/Acura cars. If they can't get them off the plug, they put a new plug in too. Why? Because of the reasons above. I can't guarantee that every monkey at Jiffy Lube changes the crush gasket on Hondas, but that is their company policy.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,514
    Hey, dp, didn't you leave out a couple of steps? Seems to me it takes me a little longer!

    I have a whole bag of those little crush washers for my cars.

    Ever changed a filter on a Mercedes diesel. What a ghastly, filthy slimey job! I would gladly pay someone $50 to do it for me.

    Maybe this would be a common sense rule?======>

    If you know what you're doing, and the oil filter and drain plug are accessible enough that you don't shred your flesh or need a jack, jackstands and a flashlight taped to your head. then change it yourself; otherwise, stop torturing yourself and/or avoid screwing something up, and have it done at a reliable shop.

    So to the original Q45 owner, I'd say in your case, take it to the dealer or an independent shop familiar with the car.

    Jiffy Lube may have its problems, but I don't think they could have remained in business so successfully if they were blowing up engines right and left.

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  • kinleykinley Posts: 854
    A financially challenged neighbor was willing to change the oil, but needed a little guidance the first time. Boy is that little filter way up and in there.
  • haspelbeinhaspelbein Posts: 227
    Reminds me of the first time I changed the oil on my Miata. Here is a list of the events:

    1. Tried to find the filter and couldn't find it. Checked on the Internet.

    2. Found it, but couldn't find a wrench that would fit. (The filter sits in a small cavity under the intake manifold. The OEM filter is completely smooth. Couldn't pierce it with a screwdriver, either.)

    3. Went to the car parts store, but couldn't find anything that would fit. However, bought an aftermarket filter for the Miata that would fit my wrench.

    4. Found a shop with an oil change special and asked them to install the filter.
    I was promised to have the car back in 1/2 an hour.

    5. Got the car back after three hours. They went through the same steps as I , called the car parts store but were informed that I had already checked out their inventory of wrenches. (I used to live in a small town.)
    So they finally found somebody who was strong enough to wrestle the thing off by hand.

    Mr. Shiftright, what makes the MB Diesel so bad ? My E320 is the easiest to change out of all the cars I've owned ?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,514
    It's a cannister type for one thing (inside a bolted housing with a lid on it) and for another, dirty oil on diesels is a foul and smelly thing. It's just a gawd-awful mess. And of course, within two minutes, clean oil in a diesel is dirty again, so you don't even get the satisfaction of seeing clean oil on the dipstick when you're done.

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  • haspelbeinhaspelbein Posts: 227
    You don't like the canister ? I love it, actually. I've never been able to completely avoid spilling oil on the engine with the spin-off filter. But I take your word for the foul smelling engine oil in diesels. (I'd still love to have an MB with a diesel engine, though.)
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    Miatas are fun to change the oil filter on aren't they? Makes you wonder what the engineers were thinking when they designed that. The only thing you can do on those cars is pray that the filter wasn't put on too tight and the gasket was lubed with fresh oil.
  • haspelbeinhaspelbein Posts: 227
    Actually, the oil change was relatively easy on the Miata after the aftermarket oil filter was on. A normal socket-style wrench would get it off. The problem was that you pretty much had to 'hug the intake manifold' and feel your way to reach the filter, since you really couldn't see.

    But yes, you surely didn't want to overtighten that one.
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    They are not that bad if you can get it off with your hand, but otherwise they are not fun. Try doing one on the first oil change.
  • dpwestlakedpwestlake Posts: 207
    One early lesson I learned was to make sure the drain pan has a larger capacity than the sump.

    I discovered the hard way that the Mack ESI+ engine of the late 70s held 60 qts of oil.

    I spent quite a while getting the overflow off the shop floor.

    At least Mack engineers designed the 3 huge spin on filters to hang vertically on the side of the engine. Detroits had the dreaded canister filters. Some were even mounted horizontally for added inconvenience.
  • adc100adc100 Posts: 1,521
    About the Quest and draining the transmission oil. Excuse? We all do stupid things when not paying attention. I am strictly a GM man and the concept of a drain plug on the auto trans reservoir is not normal to me. What can I say. At least My son-in-law did not drive away with 4 extra quarts in the engine and 4 quarts low on the transmission.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,830
    That was hilarous and pretty accurate at the same time!
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    The new GM full size trucks now have drains on the transmission pan. Its about time. Now all they have to do is put drains on their differentials and they will be set.
  • adc100adc100 Posts: 1,521
    I do seem to remember that my '69 Camaro also did not have a plug on pumpkin.
  • steverisitysteverisity Posts: 39
    Last change I did was 10 years ago for my wife's Honda Accord.
    Prided myself on doing it faster and cheaper than a mechanic.
    As I blindly reached up under the car's midsection behind the engine block
    to put the new filter on, the O ring fell off with out my knowing it.

    I guess I was really lucky to be behind her car when she started the engine.
    4 quarts of oil were discharged on the driveway faster than I could say #%@1 me.

    lots of kitty litter used that day.

    Now days I just follow step 16 "beer"
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,830
    I no longer change my own oil!

    I used to do it myself but something ALWAYS happened. I would drop the drain plug into the oil pan, or I would miscalculate where the stream of oil would go and make a mess, etc...

    What a royal PITA !!
  • luphyluphy Posts: 31
    Obviously each person has their own priorities.
    In general, I would think those who like to baby their wax every month or so, would want to do their own oil changes to guarantee themselves that only the best stuff goes into the car and that they are draining out the maximum amount of oil (I would think most synthetic oil users would change their own oil).
    A large part of how easy an oil change would be is the location of the oil first car, I would literally scrap my arms to pieces removing and putting in the new filter (no lift like shops of course). My new car now, the filter is very easy to change, but I've always changed my own oil because I like the satisfaction of knowing exactly what goes inside....not so much about cost really.
    And not so much the time factor either, cuz even when I work my 110-120 hour weeks, I still have some time to change my oil.
    For those who have other priorities, kudos to you for supporting the economy. *grin*
  • kinleykinley Posts: 854
    However, my one retirement luxury is no longer mowing the lawn.
This discussion has been closed.