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Do it myself oil changes on an older car #5044116
03/15/19 05:07 PM
03/15/19 05:07 PM
Joined: Mar 2019
Posts: 2
NC
Nav45 Offline OP
Nav45  Offline OP

Joined: Mar 2019
Posts: 2
NC
Hello, nice to be on this forum. I've read quite a bit of the posts and I enjoyed the various topics - even though I'm a total novice at repairs/maintenance. I have basically not done any maintenance on my car since I've bought it but I want to learn.

My car is almost 11 years old now and has almost 250,000 miles. I've taken it to the dealership for all the routine and other maintenance needs. Other than the high prices for repairs, the dealerships have been good (Mazda). But now I'm wondering if I can do some of the things myself. I want to start small and then move on from there. I need tools too smile.

The car is a Mazda 3, by the way. I really like it and want to keep it for a while. It is running well.

So, I'm wondering if it is worth it to now do some of the maintenance (especially oil changes) myself or continue doing what I'm doing? I mean, apparently taking it to the dealer has worked this long. But then again, I do have that itch to do the stuff myself.

I'm just kind of hesitant of screwing up a fine running car. This car has a splash shield that I've heard can be annoying to take off and some of the jacking positions are a bit obscure. But that's about it. I'm sure I can figure it out if I go at it slow.

I'd appreciate any advice. Thanks and nice to be here.

Re: Do it myself oil changes on an older car [Re: Nav45] #5044123
03/15/19 05:13 PM
03/15/19 05:13 PM
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 3,024
Phoenix, Arizona - USA
SirTanon Offline
SirTanon  Offline

Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 3,024
Phoenix, Arizona - USA
First off - welcome !

Now that that's out of the way..

Doing your own maintenance, especially on an older car that you plan to keep for a long time can be a very good thing, IMHO. I do most of my own. One of the best ways to familiarize yourself with the car's mechanical condition is to get up-close and personal with it, and doing an oil change on the car will certainly do that. Every time I get underneath it to do an oil change and/or a trans fluid change, I take some extra time to inspect the underside to look for leaks and fluid build-up, as well as to check suspension components, etc.. If I see something out of place, or noticeably different since the last time I was under there, I address it.

It's also cheaper, and I personally find it satisfying.


2013 Nissan Altima SV - 2.5 liter/CVT - 112,000mi
2014 Nissan Altima SL - 2.5 liter/CVT - 65,000mi
2010 Ford Fusion - 274,000mi
Re: Do it myself oil changes on an older car [Re: Nav45] #5044141
03/15/19 05:20 PM
03/15/19 05:20 PM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 9,431
Birmingham, AL
01rangerxl Offline
01rangerxl  Offline

Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 9,431
Birmingham, AL
Engine oil changes are a good place to start and figure out what you are comfortable doing.

As long as you don't mess up important stuff, such as making sure the old filter gasket comes off, you won't screw up your car. Even then, as long as you check your work, you still won't damage the car (just make a mess).

I would probably start by searching YouTube for how-to videos specific to your car and go from there.


2002 Ford Ranger XLT | 3.0 V6 Auto 2WD | 229K miles
1994 Ford Ranger STX | 4.0 V6 Manual 4X4 | 201K miles
1994 Ford Explorer XLT | 4.0 V6 Auto 4X4 | 248K miles
Re: Do it myself oil changes on an older car [Re: Nav45] #5044233
03/15/19 06:14 PM
03/15/19 06:14 PM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 8,175
Marshfield , MA
andyd Offline
andyd  Offline

Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 8,175
Marshfield , MA
I advise the OP to look for a Mazda 3 forum. for model specific info. If you have to R+R the belly pan, buy some spare fasteners from Mazda I bought low mileage 4 cyl Camrys for ease of maintenance..If you can find a service manual in PDF form, . grin2

Last edited by andyd; 03/15/19 06:28 PM.

'16 Camry LE STP synth 0w20 and STP filter. the Fridge

1994 Ranger ,the Rat, 5w30 dino, STP filter

'16 Camry SE, Valvoline HM 0w20 and OEM filter
Thick oil is better grin2
Re: Do it myself oil changes on an older car [Re: Nav45] #5044351
03/15/19 07:43 PM
03/15/19 07:43 PM
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 497
One Step Beyond
MasterSolenoid Offline
MasterSolenoid  Offline

Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 497
One Step Beyond
welcome

Buy what tools you need to do an oil change yourself.
Then with the money you save by not going to the Dealer, buy some other tools for
other fluid changes and preventive maintenance.

You will get great personal satification of doing the work yourself.
With cars being so complicated, a lot of people think we can't do any work on them anymore / I disagree.
You'll be stacking the deck in your favor that your get the most life out of your car.

Good luck.


2002 Ford Ranger
2 Wheel Drive
3.0 Liter Engine
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Four basic premises of writing:
Clarity, Brevity, Simplicity, and Humanity.
Re: Do it myself oil changes on an older car [Re: Nav45] #5044354
03/15/19 07:46 PM
03/15/19 07:46 PM
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 3,341
Central Maryland
HangFire Offline
HangFire  Offline

Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 3,341
Central Maryland
Starting small and working up from there is a great idea, as is starting with oil changes. Tools needed are minimal. Many auto parts stores have an oil change special of drain pan, paper towels, etc.

You want to learn to: change the various filters, check all fluids, rotate wheels, check tire air pressure. While rotating wheels you can check on the disk brake pad thickness.

Watching Youtube can be super helpful, if you pick the right videos.

Buy tools as you need them. Small complete no-skip sets will add up to a better tool chest than a big 400-800 pc mega-set. You don't need any SAE tools. Start with a set of Metric combination wrenches and a 1/4 or 3/8 drive Metric ratchet and socket set. Tekton is my go-to brand recommendation for DIY. Honestly most any brand name tools will do, I would avoid the cheap India made and dollar bin tools though, like the infamous $4.99 40-pc ratchet socket set.


Various musings: http://hangfire.net
Re: Do it myself oil changes on an older car [Re: Nav45] #5044370
03/15/19 08:00 PM
03/15/19 08:00 PM
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 3,940
NJ
Leo99 Offline
Leo99  Offline

Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 3,940
NJ
Look on youtube. I've learned so much from those videos on car repair. The biggest thing you have to overcome is the of messing something up.


Without data you're just another person with an opinion. W. E. Deming

2003 Corolla 250,000 miles (RIP)
2004 Corolla 125,000 miles
2004 Rav4 370,000 miles
2015 Camry 70,000 miles
Re: Do it myself oil changes on an older car [Re: HangFire] #5044384
03/15/19 08:07 PM
03/15/19 08:07 PM
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 2,822
VW Fanboy Island
maxdustington Offline
maxdustington  Offline

Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 2,822
VW Fanboy Island
Originally Posted by HangFire
Buy tools as you need them. Small complete no-skip sets will add up to a better tool chest than a big 400-800 pc mega-set. You don't need any SAE tools. Start with a set of Metric combination wrenches and a 1/4 or 3/8 drive Metric ratchet and socket set. Tekton is my go-to brand recommendation for DIY. Honestly most any brand name tools will do, I would avoid the cheap India made and dollar bin tools though, like the infamous $4.99 40-pc ratchet socket set.

https://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/5043299/re-williams-socket-set I like Trav's new sockets. Acquire a ratchet and whatever you need the remove the body pan from HF. For what Trav paid, that's what I would do if I had to start over. It is such an insane value.


03 Jetta AWP/09A 205k kms
Edge 0W40 + Mann 719/30
Re: Do it myself oil changes on an older car [Re: Nav45] #5044424
03/15/19 08:36 PM
03/15/19 08:36 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 34,402
ME
eljefino Online content
eljefino  Online Content

Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 34,402
ME
Welcome.

I'd get a bunch of 2x8s and make your own shallow drive-up ramps. They'll save your tender pinch welds from repeated jacking and jack-stand placing.

It's good to have a look underneath, but don't freak out if you have 250k worth of grime and weeps (not leaks).

This is how it starts, soon you'll be changing clutches and whatnot. It's a blast. I 2nd the youtube thing, they cover everything.

Re: Do it myself oil changes on an older car [Re: Nav45] #5044519
03/15/19 10:28 PM
03/15/19 10:28 PM
Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 281
New Hampshire USA
Dinoburner Offline
Dinoburner  Offline

Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 281
New Hampshire USA
Some community colleges have evening courses for this very thing. If you are complete novice there are some basic things like proper use of tools that not everyone finds intuitive. Messing up the pan plug can be a bummer.


77 Chev stepside 454 Casteroil syn
95 GMC 4wd mobil syn
2016 Equinox LTZ V6 dealer
Kubota L5030 T6
Re: Do it myself oil changes on an older car [Re: Nav45] #5044716
03/16/19 08:54 AM
03/16/19 08:54 AM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 4,310
SE British Columbia, Canada
Snagglefoot Offline
Snagglefoot  Offline

Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 4,310
SE British Columbia, Canada
Remember to save your old cardboard boxes and spread them on the ground before doing your change. Amazing how motor oil spreads around! (Until you get the feel for it.) laugh


If you want the job done right......do it yourself.
Re: Do it myself oil changes on an older car [Re: Nav45] #5044806
03/16/19 10:49 AM
03/16/19 10:49 AM
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 11,458
Buffalo, NY
JTK Offline
JTK  Offline

Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 11,458
Buffalo, NY
Welcome!

Like said, youtube and mazda forums might have more specifics should you need them. I think you'll find this place one of the better resources however.

Good thing is, if your Mazda 3 has only seen dealer service, that belly pan is probably long gone or has a huge access hole sawed into it by now. I'm kidding! (mostly).


2017 Ram 1500 4x4, 3.6L. 2016 Nissan Quest SV (Babe magnet IV)
Re: Do it myself oil changes on an older car [Re: Nav45] #5044971
03/16/19 02:41 PM
03/16/19 02:41 PM
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 6,739
MI
doitmyself Offline
doitmyself  Offline

Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 6,739
MI
Do it myself is ALWAYS a superb, intelligent, handsome, exquisite choice.

Re: Do it myself oil changes on an older car [Re: Nav45] #5045857
03/17/19 01:20 PM
03/17/19 01:20 PM
Joined: Mar 2019
Posts: 2
NC
Nav45 Offline OP
Nav45  Offline OP

Joined: Mar 2019
Posts: 2
NC
Appreciate all of the the advice and the warm welcome. I've chosen a good place to learn something from.

As has been said, I need to just do it and get some practice. I'm getting started on the materials needed for the job(s) and ramps are one of the items I'm looking at. They seem user friendly enough if used properly.

Initially I was just focused on picking one particular brand of oil or one particular brand of filter etc. but now I'm thinking that the actual act of doing the "thing" is more important than the brand chosen to do the job. On this note, one question: Does using a wrench or ratchet make a big difference in terms of opening/tightening the oil nut. Yes, it is a very amateurish question so get your laughs out of the way smile

Thanks everyone

Last edited by Nav45; 03/17/19 01:21 PM.
Re: Do it myself oil changes on an older car [Re: Nav45] #5045893
03/17/19 02:04 PM
03/17/19 02:04 PM
Joined: Nov 2018
Posts: 72
Somerset, UK
240_Ed Offline
240_Ed  Offline

Joined: Nov 2018
Posts: 72
Somerset, UK
I use a standard 1/2" drive ratchet handle, and I think it's the easiest way to do it. The key is not over-tightening oil drain plugs - fit a new washer (you can get 10 or 20 packs of them for little to no cost), tighten until you feel everything come together, then another quarter to half turn to make everything seal nicely. Oil in the sump is not under pressure so it doesn't need a super tough seal, and it's better to notice a drip later and need to tighten a little further than it is to go too far first time and damage the thread.


1992 Volvo 240 (B200F) - Castrol Magnatec 10w40, Mann W917 filter
2001 Volvo V70 (B5244S) - Shell Helix HX8 ECT 5w40, Mann HU819X filter
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