How Often Should You Change the Oil in Your Jeep?

It is now recommended that all new jeeps have their oil changed every six months, or whenever you hit 5000 miles. However, you should change the oil more often if you are using your Jeep for off-roading.

Why Should You Change Your Oil?

Changing the oil in your engine is important to keep it running properly. The main bearings of an engine, do not have little tiny steel balls in them, rather they are friction bearings. This means the bearing itself is made of a soft metal. The only thing that prevents the crankshaft from tearing the main bearings apart is the oil that is pumped through the engine.

As your engine oil ages, it will begin to break down and loose it’s original lubricating properties. If gone unattended long enough, engine parts like crankshaft bearings, piston rod bearings, piston rings and more will begin to deteriorate from increased friction.

Eventually, the engine oil will accumulate so much fine metal dust, that it will start to clog up the pump as well as the oil journals. This clogging will prevent oil from reaching important components of the engine. In order to prevent catastrophic failure, you need to change the oil on a regular basis.

How to Change Your Own Oil

If you have a newer Jeep that is still under warranty, then you should take your vehicle to an approved service center. After all, you wouldn’t want to void your warranty. However, if you have an older Jeep or purchased yours used, then changing your own oil can be a very fulfilling experience.

Tools for the Job

Before you start, it’s always important to make sure that you have all of the right tools for the job. The last thing that you want to happen is to drain out the oil from your engine, only to realize that you still need to pick up something from the auto parts store.

Ratchet Set – You will need a set that includes both a 13 mm as well as a 24 mm socket.

Oil Catch Pan – Don’t forget to ask your auto parts store if they accept used oil.

Pair of Gloves – A good pair of mechanics gloves will keep your hands clean and protect your knuckles.

Flat Headed Screwdriver – You should have one of these anyways.

Shop Towels – Disposable towels can also be used to plug the holes and the oil catch pan.

Remove the Engine Cover

All newer models of the Jeep Wrangler have a plastic cover over the top of the engine. This cover is designed to keep the engine bay looking clean and neat at all times. Although it is securely fastened in place, there are no bolts that need to be removed. You can simply pull up on the cover in order to pop it off the engine. You will need to use both hands in order to complete this step.

As soon as the cover is removed, you will be able to see the top part of your engine, including the location of the oil filler cap, where you will need to add more oil once you have drained out the engine. You will also be able to reach the oil filter through the top of the engine.

Drain the Oil

Once you have exposed the top of the engine, you may now start working underneath the engine. You will need to position your oil catch pan directly under the drain bolt that is located at the bottom of the oil pan. Once you have placed the catch pan, make sure that you have some extra towels lying around for when you remove the drain bolt.

You are going to need to use a 13 mm socket in order to loosen up the bolt. You will not be able to loosen the bolt by hand at first because it will be too tight. With your ratchet, you only need to rotate the bolt at least a half of a turn before the oil will start to come out. Hang your ratchet over the edge of the drain pan, then using a gloved hand, unscrew the bolt the rest of the way. Be careful because the oil will quickly flow out of the oil pan.

The actual process of draining your engine will only take a few minutes. You’ll notice right away that the oil is very dark in color, and may even have a different odor to it. This is normal, just make sure that you collect all of the oil in your drain pan. You can take this time to also wipe off your socket wrench and the drain bolt.

Replace the Oil Filter

In order to get the most out of any oil change, you will need to replace the oil filter every single time. The oil filter is an important part of the oiling system within your engine, and it is responsible for removing that metallic sediment before it is pumped through the oil journals.

In order to remove the oil filter, you will need to go back to the top of the engine. Switch over to a 24 mm socket, and unscrew the oil filter. As you unscrew it, the oil may begin to drip out, so, make sure to keep some towels handy in order to clean up any messes.

You’ll need to detach the oil filter itself from the cap, by gently pulling on it. There is also an O ring that you will need to remove. You will find both a new filter as well as a replacement oil ring in the box. Simply dab your finger in some brand-new oil, and gently coat the new oil ring before placing it on the cap. Simply push the brand-new oil filter onto the and return it back to the motor. Using your 24 mm socket once again, make sure that the cap is nice and snug.

Tighten the Drain Plug

After you have finished replacing the oil filter, it is time to head back underneath your Jeep in order to return the oil drain plug. Make sure that there are no rocks or sand in the threads of the oil drain plug bolt before you start screwing it in. If there is any dirt, this can damage the threads.

Start by screwing the drain bolt back into the bottom of the oil pan with your gloved hands. Once you have screwed as far as you can by hand, it is time to use the wrench. As a general rule of thumb, you should use a torque wrench to ensure that the drain plug is properly tightened. If you do not have a torque wrench, then tighten it snugly with your 13 mm socket, but remember to check it after a few miles of driving to ensure that it has not come loose.

Add New Oil

Next, you will need to refill the engine with the new oil. You’ll find the oil filler on the driver’s side of the engine. The cap can be unscrewed by hand with ease. Make sure to use a funnel in order to pour the oil into the engine. For most Jeep Wranglers, you will need 6 quarts of oil for the engine however, you should check with the owner’s manual to determine exactly how much oil you should add, as well as the viscosity of the oil.

Do not add all of the oil at the same time. Some of the oil will need to first circulate through the engine before you can top it off. So, once you have added the first five quarts, return the filler cap, and start your engine. You need to run the motor for at least 30 seconds in order to allow time for the oil to circulate through the engine. Do not run it too long or the engine will get too hot to finish working on it.

Clean Up Your Mess

Once you have finished circulating the oil, turn off the engine and add the last remaining quart. Don’t forget to clean up your mess after you are through. You can use some disposable rags to plug the holes in the oil catch pan so that it can be transported to a recycling center. You will also need to wipe down anything that oil may have dripped onto, and snap the engine cover back in place.

You do not need a large collection of tools in order to maintain your Jeep. A lot of regular maintenance can be done with just a few standard tools. As long as you have a good screwdriver set and a set of sockets and wrenches, you can actually do a lot of routine maintenance on your own. All it takes is a little bit of know-how in order to complete the task properly.

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