OIL LEVEL CHECK
Check the engine oil level every time you fill the gas tank. The oil level should be between the upper and lower marks on the dipstick. Make sure that the dipstick is inserted into the crankcase as far as possible and that the vehicle is resting on level ground. Also, allow a few minutes after turning the engine OFF for the oil to drain into the pan, otherwise an inaccurate reading may result. One good way to assure enough time for the oil to run back into the pan is to fill the fuel tank first, then check the oil after paying for the gas.
See Figures 1 through 4
- Open the hood, then locate and remove the engine oil dipstick.
- Wipe the dipstick with a clean, lint-free rag and reinsert it. Be sure to insert it all the way.
- Pull out the dipstick and note the oil level. It should be between the upper and the lower marks.
Use a high quality multigrade oil of the proper viscosity, and add oil to the engine in small amounts so that you do not accidentally overfill it.
- If the level is below the lower mark, install the dipstick and add fresh oil to bring the level within the proper range by adding oil through the oil filler cap. Do not overfill the engine.
- Recheck the oil level and add more engine oil, if necessary.
- Close the hood.
OIL & FILTER CHANGE
See Figure 5 to 13
The engine oil and oil filter should be changed at the recommended intervals on the maintenance interval chart. Though some manufacturers have at times recommended changing the filter only at every other oil change, we recommend that you always change the filter with the oil. The benefit of fresh oil is quickly lost if the old filter is clogged and unable to do its job. Also, leaving the old filter in place leaves a significant amount of dirty oil in the system.
The oil should be changed more frequently if the vehicle is being operated under severe conditions. Before draining the oil, make sure that the engine is at operating temperature. Hot oil will hold more impurities in suspension and will flow better, allowing the removal of more oil and dirt.
It is usually a good idea to place your ignition key in the box or bag with the bottles of fresh engine oil. In this way it will be VERY HARD to forget to refill the engine crankcase before you go to start the engine.
- Before you crawl under the vehicle, take a look at where you will be working and gather all the necessary tools, such as a few wrenches or a ratchet and assorted sockets, a drain pan, and clean rags.
- Position the drain pan beneath the oil pan drain plug. Keep in mind that the fast flowing oil, which will spill out as you pull the plug from the pan, will flow with enough force that it could miss the pan. Position the drain pan accordingly and be ready to move the pan more directly beneath the plug as the oil flow lessens to a trickle.
- Loosen the drain plug with a wrench (or socket and driver), then carefully unscrew the plug with your fingers. Use a rag to shield your fingers from the heat. Push in on the plug as you unscrew it so you can feel when all of the screw threads are out of the hole (and so you will keep the oil from seeping past the threads until you are ready to remove the plug). You can then remove the plug quickly to avoid having hot oil run down your arm. This will also help assure that you have the plug in your hand, not in the bottom of a pan of hot oil.
- Allow the oil to drain until nothing but a few drops come out of the drain hole. Check the drain plug to make sure the threads and sealing surface are not damaged. Carefully thread the plug into position and tighten it with a torque wrench to 22-28 ft. lbs. (30-38 Nm). If a torque wrench is not available, snug the drain plug and give a slight additional turn. You don't want the plug to fall out (as you would quickly become stranded), but the pan threads are EASILY stripped from overtightening (and this can be time consuming and/or costly to fix).
- The oil filter is located on the front left-hand side of all the engines installed in these vehicles; position the drain pan beneath it.
When you remove the oil filter from 4-wheel drive models, you will notice that the oil draining from the filter pours directly onto the front axle housing. This causes the oil to run off the housing in multiple directions, making it very difficult to avoid having a messy spill accumulate under your vehicle. This mess can be avoided by fabricating a small catch pan out of an old engine oil bottle as follows:
- Remove the cap from the old engine oil bottle.
- Using a utility knife, carefully cut the bottle in half vertically (from the neck to the bottom).
- You should now have half of an old oil bottle. Position the bottle under the engine oil filter (you can situate the bottle on the axle housing and steering components) so that it will catch the engine oil draining from the filter when you loosen it.
- After removing the filter, the drained oil can be neatly poured into the large drain pan (or other container) from the half-bottle.
- To remove the oil filter, you may need an oil filter wrench, since the filter may have been fitted too tightly and/or the heat from the engine may have made it even tighter. A filter wrench can be obtained at any auto parts store and is well-worth the investment. Loosen the filter with the filter wrench. With a rag wrapped around the filter, unscrew the filter from the boss on the side of the engine. Be careful of hot oil that will drain out of the filter. Make sure that your drain pan (2-wheel drive models) or your half-bottle fabricated container (4-wheel models) is under the filter before you start to remove it from the engine; should some of the hot oil happen to get on you, there will be a place to dump the filter in a hurry and the filter will usually spill a good bit of dirty oil as it is removed.
- Wipe the base of the mounting boss with a clean, dry cloth. When you install the new filter, smear a small amount of fresh oil on the gasket with your finger, just enough to coat the entire contact surface. When you tighten the filter, rotate it an additional 3 / turn after the gasket contacts the engine block surface.
- Refill the engine crankcase with the proper amount of oil. DO NOT WAIT TO DO THIS, because if you forget and someone tries to start the car, severe engine damage will occur.
- Refill the engine crankcase slowly, checking the level often. You may notice that it usually takes less than the amount of oil listed in the capacity chart to refill the crankcase. But, that is only until the engine is run and the oil filter is filled with oil. To make sure the proper level is obtained, run the engine to normal operating temperature, shut the engine OFF , allow the oil to drain back into the oil pan, and recheck the level. Top off the oil at this time to the fill mark.
If the vehicle is not resting on level ground, the oil level reading on the dipstick may be slightly misleading. Be sure to check the level only when the car is sitting level.
- Drain your used oil in a suitable container for recycling and clean up your tools, as you will be needing them again in a couple of thousand more miles (kilometers-).
- Dispose of the used engine oil properly.