The keys to keeping your Jeep’s engine running a long time are to keep it cool and keep it well lubricated. Changing your Jeep’s motor oil is critical to long engine life. Jeeps with the famous 4.0 liter in-line 6-cylinder engine, can run to 300,000 miles, but they need to be cared for and maintained. It is a good idea to learn how to do an oil change on your Jeep.
Performing an oil change on your Jeep is a relatively easy job with the right tools and knowledge. A proper oil change takes about an hour, but much of that is waiting for the oil to drain—real work time is about 15 minutes. The tools you need are simple and common to most toolboxes. Materials are a filter and oil—about $25. Furthermore, doing it yourself guarantees it will be done right and quality materials will be used in the servicing of your Jeep.
What Do You Need to Change Your Jeep’s Oil?
As far what you need for your Jeep’s oil change, the list is short:
- New oil filter (I use a larger “8” sized filter)
- 6 quarts of oil (the larger filter brings it to six quarts)
- Wrench for the drain plug (I prefer a ratcheting wrench with the right sized socket)
- Drain catch pan
- Oil filter wrench
- Old clothes
- Shop towels or rags
- Disposable gloves
- Eye protection
- Optional: Ramps and wheel chocks (I can get under my Jeeps without them)
How Do I Start My Jeep Oil Change?
First, check your owner’s manual for three things:
- Recommended oil change interval (Anything more or less is wrong)
- Recommended oil grade such as 5W/30 (Be sure to use the right one!)
- How many quarts of that oil you will need (Typically between 4-6 quarts)
Next, go buy the right type and amount of new oil and the right filter (Ask or use the look up computer or book at the counter). In my Jeeps, I used high mileage 10w30 motor oil. I don’t use synthetic oil. I do use a larger filter than the recommended stock filter “16” size—I use the “8” size. I do this because I want more filtering, but it does require slightly more oil.
Now it is Time to Do Your Jeep Oil Change
When you get home let the Jeep cool down a little (warm oil is better than hot oil– you usually get a tablespoon on your hand or arm). If you didn’t use that Jeep to get the supplies, run the Jeep for about three minutes to warm the oil. Now it is time to do the job, here is what to do:
- Carefully drive the Jeep up on the ramps (use a helper to direct you if need be) and wheel chock the rear wheels. This step is optional, as I mentioned I can get under my Jeeps to do an oil change without ramps
- Pop your Jeep’s hood
- Open the oil cap (To help the draining oil flow)
- Place the oil catch pan under the drain pan plug (Offset it slightly– the oil will not go straight down– rather out)
- Use the socket wrench to open the drain plug and be ready for the oil to shoot out
- Don’t lose the drain plug
- Adjust the oil catch pan to compensate for the change in flow (It will shoot outward, then drip down)
- Wipe up any messes with the rags
- Let it really drip out (20-30 minutes)
- Now adjust the oil catch pan under the oil filter, but still catching the occasional drip from the drain
- Use the adjustable oil filter wrench to loosen the old oil filter– be ready for old oil to start dripping down
- Put the old filter in the catch pan
- Wipe up any messes and let it really drip out (10 minutes)
While the drip out is happening, you can prep:
- Inspect and clean the drain plug with a clean rag or shop towel
- Open the new filter and carefully add a little new oil into it (1-3 ounces) and wetting the rubber gasket on the filter with new oil using your gloved finger
- Clear the dirty rags away
Need a few more useful time passers?
- Add some wiper fluid
- Check other fluid levels
- Check tire pressures
After you have let the old oil drip out it is time to put everything back together:
- Wipe the drain hole and carefully screw the plug back in, first with your fingers, then with the socket wrench– tight but don’t over do it
- Now wipe the filter connection and screw the new oil filter back in with your fingers only– finger tight no wrench
- Use the funnel and start carefully pouring the new oil into the oil cap area (the oil container should have a visual gauge you can use to pour quite a bit in)
- Wipe the oil cap area and replace the cap securely
- Remove the wheel chocks and carefully reverse the Jeep down off the ramps (if you chose to use the ramps) and let it run for one minute
- Grab a rag or shop towel and pull the oil dip stick out
- Wipe it and reinsert it all the way down and carefully remove it again
- Look to see that the oil is inside the acceptable range marked on the dip stick
- If it is in the range you are done
- If it is too low, open the oil cap, insert the funnel and add a little more oil
- Repeat until the oil mark is in the range
- Write down the mileage and date of this charge to know when to change it again
Now clean up all your tools and equipment and you are done.
Oh Yeah, About That Spent Oil and Filter . . .
I keep empty old oil 5 quart containers, mark them with a Sharpie “Spent”, and carefully pour the captured old oil into them using a funnel. I throw the old filters into a quadrupled grocery bag. When I have enough to justify a run, I take them to the recycling center. In some states, any retailer or service station that sells oil or service and they must legally accept it into their recycling containers.
Some Final Thoughts . . .
The first time you do this will it probably take you an hour– you are learning. After a while, you will find that setup/cleanup and drip waiting will be most of your time– I can get it all done in about 15-30 minutes and I usually do two vehicles at once. My wife usually says, “You’re done already?”– I get it done so fast.
The benefits of servicing your Jeep yourself are threefold: First, you will get better oil and filters ($25 high mileage vehicle oil and filter) for less than you pay a quick oil change place ($45+) for cheapo filters and oil. Second, you will know it was done right, and you will learn more about your Jeep. And finally, the personal pride and satisfaction of a good well done doesn’t feel bad either.