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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Change your own Oil

This morning, I got up at 7:00 AM, watched a bit of television and ate breakfast. I planned to do my oil change in the morning, when the temperature wasn't too hot. This is my second oil change on the V6 Camaro. The first oil change I did was a couple of months ago, it was so terribly done that I didn't even bother taking too many pictures. However, after that initial oil change, I was comfortable enough to give you all a step by step tutorial on how to do your own 2010 Camaro V6 oil change. This is a long tutorial, so go grab a drink, perhaps some snacks, and let's get started!
All the tools you will need for the oil change. Forgive me if I don't use the right terms or names. You'll need a 15mm socket, 24mm socket, a torque wrench with 10-20 ft-lbs minimum setting range, 6 quarts of oil (5.7 litres), an oil filter (refer to manual for part number), oil tub, some towels, funnels, gloves, and some newspaper.
Before you move the car onto your ramps, or jackstands, drive around for around ten minutes so the engine is warmed up. This will make the engine oil warm enough for it to drain out easier. Also, place some newspapers on the ground. If this is your first Camaro oil change, put more newspaper than I have in the picture. You'll thank me later. =p
If you are using ramps, I would advise you to ask a friend, family member, or neighbour to watch as you drive onto it. This is an insurance for you, incase you drive off the ramp... You don't want that.
Like my ramps? Home made with a couple scrap pieces of wood that I'd found laying around my garage. My ramps are nine inches off the ground, I wanted more clearance for me to get in and out from under the car. Park the car, and make sure to engage the Hand Brake. I REPEAT, HAND BRAKE, ON!
Get out of the car, and put some blocks behind the rear tires.
You will see the drain pan when you get under the car. See that bolt in the middle of the picture? That is our drain plug.
Place the Oil tub under the drain plug, on top of your newspapers.
Use the 15mm socket, unscrew the plug, and the oil will begin leaking. You can wear your gloves starting from here... the oil might be hot. Don't burn yourself.
When you remove the plug, oil will start spewing out! Make sure you have a hand free, ready to move the oil tub under the firing zone. Sorry about the picture, it is quite hard to remove the plug, move the oil tub, and take a picture at the same time. =p Important note: the oil can drain for HOURS! I am not kidding you. While the oil is draining, we'll make our way to the hood.
Locate the filter, which is on the left side of the engine.
Use the 24mm socket, and unscrew the filter cap. Pull it straight out and the filter will be connected to the cap.
Pull the filter off the cap, and lay it on some newspapers. Plenty of dirty oil will drain from that filter.
Since the filter is out, lets clean the drain plug. I bought a magnetic drain plug. To show how good it is, I will demonstrate with a before and after picture. So this is Before, look how black the tip is.
Look at how much gunk, I wiped off the plug. That gunk is made of oil and micro metal shavings. Now look at the plug, nice and shiney. The plug is only 10 dollars... well worth the money in my opinion.
Take the new filter, and oil up the rubber rings on the filter with some clean engine oil.
The filter snaps onto the cap. Make sure you feel a definite snap.
Place filter with cap back into the engine compartment.
Hand tighten the cap, and use a towel to wipe off any oil residue on the cap.
Set your torque wrench to 18.5 ft-lbs, and attach your 23mm socket.
Tighten the cap to 18.5 ft-lbs with the torque wrench. We are done with the filter!
Now before you add the new oil, be sure to remember to re-plug your drain plug. We take a look under the car, looks like the oil is just dripping now. Dripping means we are ready to seal it back up. Note: The oil can drain for hours and hours, so if you have the time, feel free to let it drip longer.
Hand tighten the drain plug back into the oil pan. There will be drips of oil when you tighten it, so grab your towel and wipe off anything left over.
Set your torque wrench to 18 ft-lbs. Just incase you get confused, the FILTER is 18.5 ft-lbs, and the drain plug is 18 ft-lbs. The 0.5 difference may not make any difference... but better safe than sorry.
Tighten the drain plug until torque wrench clicks. I recommend anyone who doesn't have a clicky torque wrench to purchase the one I introduced a couple posts ago. You can view the product here.
Hang in there! Only a couple of steps to completing your oil change! Unscrew the oil fill up cap.
Place your funnel in.
Pour your 6 Qts or 5.7L of oil in, slowly. Try not to drop any oil in your engine compartment.
If you bought multiple bottles of oil like me, 6 bottles of 1 Litre oils, then you can do what I do. Place an empty bottle on a funnel, and let the left over oils collect into one empty bottle. After you drain 6 bottles of left over oil, you'd be suprised how much oil you can collect. Pour the rest of that into your engine.
You have finished your first oil change! Now for the last couple of steps...
You can put your engine cover back on, or not... up to you. Actually, some people don't even bother taking off the engine cover to begin with. I just take it off, because I find the cover is in the way when I'm trying to stuff the funnel down the pipe. So this step is optional, and circumstantial.
You can start the car now, keep your car jacked, or on the ramps, check for any oil leaks and make sure the Check Engine Light doesn't come on. If nothing seems wrong, then go into your DIC and find the Oil Life display. Reset it.
Yes, I want to reset =D
Bingo! There you go!
Now you can safely back up the car off the ramps. But before you do, please remember to remove the rear wheel blocks you set in the beginning. Since we have been working at the head of the car, sometimes we may forget to remove it, and back up over the block. Ahem... that never happened to me.

There you go folks, your first oil change. Feel like you can do just about anything now right? Yeah, I felt that way too. Just an afterthought, I should tell you that the first oil change might take you longer than the tutorial is implying. My first oil change took me around four hours, and another hour of clean up, because I spilt some oil. My second one, which is this particular one, only took me a good two hours. If you have any worries, just take your time. It's better to do it slowly and correctly, than rushing it and doing something wrong. As for the magnetic drain plug I had used earlier in this tutorial, you can buy them from here. The Camaro drain plug part number is AP-04. There are also other plugs for other cars, so if you own another car make and model, I highly recommend this product. In the end, you may ask "why not just take it to a dealer to get your oil changed?"
Well, I say, why waste the money you are paying for labor? I've asked around, people pay around $20-$70 in labor fees. Also, changing your own oil guarantees that no one is fooling around on your car. Working on your car will also make you closer with your car, and understand it a lot better.


  1. thanks,ready to give my baby her first oil change was kind of worried but your site really
    answered all my questions.

  2. Cool! Glad I can help. If you wait till after the long weekend, I'll be uploading a DIY video on Oil Changing =) Otherwise, goodluck!

  3. this is anonymous from cleveland sent you a message april 22-2011 . Well, my baby got her first oil change per your excellent instructions everything went great!!!!!!!!!thanks so much, your site was put in my favorite section on my computer.


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