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xA oil change quick guide

Old 07-16-2012, 04:33 AM
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Default xA oil change quick guide

You can literally follow the xB guide, but might as well post photos for the xA. Whole thing will take about an hour to 1 1/2 if you're just a beginner, or not doing this as a living. 30 min will be spend just waiting for the oil to drip out from the pan. Easy, but it just takes time for you to get the hang of where things are, how things fit together, etc.

1) Look at your car. DO NOT TOUCH ANY BOLT YOU MIGHT THINK IS THE OIL PAN ON THE DRIVER'S SIDE of the underbelly of your car!!!! IT IS NOT THE OIL PAN PLUG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(Feel free to dump your transmission fluid anytime you want to tho...)

2) If you use disposable gloves, it'll help a lot in keeping hands clean. Change to new ones as needed/convenient since it'll keep everything less messy.

Start with a cold car. If you start with it hot, you'll have to wait ~30min to 1 hour for it to cool down properly (hot oil will hurt you!!).
Start the xA and run the front of the xA up on RAMPS (RhinoGear plastic ramps 12,000lbs rated at Walmart for $45 are what I used - good buy) to raise the car up. Turn the ignition off ASAP so that the engine isn't too hot. (If it is, you'll have to wait for it to cool down.)
(Feel free to take your time with jacks, etc, but it's a whole lot faster and easier just to drive it up the ramps.)
Simple put the ramps CENTERED in front of each front tire, then slowly drive it up the ramp until you feel it level out. Stop the car, put it in PARK, set your EMERGENCY brake, and check to see if the tires are actually on the flat, top part of each ramp.

Put blocks, chocks, your dinner (piggy), etc. behind each rear wheel to prevent the car from sliding back in case both brakes fail.

3) TURN OFF THE CAR!

4) Metric wrench, PASSENGER SIDE WHEEL WELL AREA.
14mm for the oil pan plug; 10mm for the underbelly flap bolts.

If you want to keep the area clean, you can put a 13+ gallon plastic bag under. But what I've found that works better are absorbant underpads (for elderly) you can find anywhere from Walmart to any drug store. One side is plastic, the other has absorbant material that'll soak up any spilled oil.

Slide a BIG 1Gallon+ Pan, jug, OIL CATCHING whatever under that bolt (see photo). You don't even need to slide under the car to reach this once the car is up on ramps.

http://www.blitzusa.com/products/oil...s/podp7tdp.htm
The Blitz triangular oil pan works nicely here. Better than cumbersome round pans because the sides are more sturdy when you're pouring, and easier to move about. With this, you'll have to transfer the used oil to an empty 5qt oil container later.

If you don't want to wash out oil pans, then any oil container with a cap (you'll find these at any auto store or Walmart). You can simply cap the container after disposing of the oil. With this, you don't have to transfer to an empty 5qt oil container - you simply take the entire thing to an oil disposal site and pour the oil out then.

(14mm metric) Unscrew a few turns, then use your hand to unscrew it completely. Don't let it drop into a pan of oil, or you're gonna be fishing in dark oil for awhile! Otherwise, use a proper oil catcher that has a plastic mesh across its opening to catch the bolt for you (Walmart sells them for $6 with a nice big cap on the side for catching oil; another on the end to let you pour it into an oil collection barrel.)

If you press on the bolt while unscrewing it, it won't leak until you've totally unscrewed it and are ready to pull it out.

5) Once the oil starts to pour out from your car, open the hood and undo the cap. You can leave it there at an angle so it helps prevent things from falling into the hole.

6) 30 minutes later (once you've got a proper draining done - faster if you don't care), or when the drips practically stop, remove gasket from oil pan bolt, put a new one on, then HAND screw it back onto the oil pan.
(gasket from Toyota - buy one with the filter there for <$1 each)

If you're super lazy, try reusing the old one, but leaks are up to you.

You'll feel the difference immediately once it's seated tight BY HAND, so don't overtighten much from that point on. Not much more than 1/4-1/3 turn really using the 14mm metric wrench to tighten fully.

WIPE the entire area clean with paper towels! You'll want it clean of any oil so you can check for leaks later.

Per Technical Service Manual:
Torque oil pan plug to 382 kgf*cm/28 ft.*lbf.

7) Now, you have to get the oil filter off. You can either do it with the plastic underbelly guard on or off. If it's on, you'll have to scoot farther under the car to get a good grip and access to the filter.

Otherwise, just unscrew the two bolts holding the front of the passenger's side plastic guard undone, then the one towards the middle holding both the driver's side and passenger's side together.

Just bend it down - it won't break.

If you've got the oil pan on the absorbant sheet or plastic, you can easily slide it over. Otherwise, be careful as you may spill if it's an open pan. Move it under the filter.

Using a 64mm filter remover tool (or your hands if you can do it), unscrew the oil filter.

If you are not using a filter wrench, but a filter tool/cap, you can keep it from falling into the oil pan below by using duct tape. Duct tape the cap to the oil filter - when it's fully unscrewed, you can easily remove the filter without worrying about the filter tool falling away.

At some point, oil will start dripping out. You can either wait until it's stopped, then unscrew it completely, or just keep going. The former - less oil going down your hands; the latter, faster and more oil coming down your hands. Just hurry and get it over with.

Try not to drop the filter tool and wrench and/or oil filter into the oil collector pan (unless you've got a mesh screen on the collector pan) - more fishing for parts in dark oil.

You'll want to hold the filter with the hole over the oil pan to collect the few ounces of oil inside for disposal.

NOTE: 64mm Filter TOOL from a 3rd party vendor at a 3rd party auto store is typically $6-10!

If you buy the OEM Toyota tool, I was quoted $21.
Toyota SST (oil change tool, offical part) 09228-06501
(ie. a 64mm filter tool)

A metal filter tool is always smart - never will break on you. You may need to twist the tool back and forth slightly to get it off the filter if stuck.

9) Open a new filter, apply fresh oil to gasket all around - be generous. Make sure the gasket is seated.

Clean the oil filter area on the car with a paper towel first - you want it clean! It should be shiny like new metal where the filter seats to the engine. You'll also want the area clean so you can check for leaks later.

Then, screw the new filter on by hand until you can just feel the gasket touch the metal. From there, per instructions, 3/4 turn by hand or tool to get it seated correctly.

Per Technical Service Manual:
Torque filter to 175 kgf*cm/13 ft *lbf or 3/4 turn after oil filter gasket has touched metal of motor.

Filter tool is the easiest way to get it on and off easily, IMO. Mark a line across the tool so you can see how much you've turned it. If you're using a filter cap/tool, you can duct tape it to the filter before installing it, then use the duct tape as a mark so you can see if you've tightened the filter by 3/4 turn.

10) Paper towel and clean up all oil from the oil plug and filter area - you'll check for leaks later.

11) Above, pour 3-3.9 quarts of oil into the baby from the oil fill hole. You can buy a $1-2 funnel at Walmart or an auto parts store, or cut a straight edge off a paper plate, then curl and tape together to form a funnel. Bottom of funnel should fit the oil fill hole atop the engine, top of funnel should be 3-4 inches wide so it catches the stream of oil from the bottles as you fill.

Just be lazy&cheap and stick with the 5w-30 Toyota or regular 5w-30 oil!

http://www.lindoptoyota.co.uk/files/tgmo%25205w30.pdf

(My experience with the 0W-30 Mobil 1 Fuel Economy Synthetic resulting in lots of idle clattering is already driving me nuts - probably going to dump it and go back to regular Toyota oil ASAP (made by Mobil oddly enough as one guy who works at the distribution center for years has said elsewhere online...).

Right now, that's $2.49 per Qt at my local Toyota dealer, so about $10 in oil for 4Qt. (+ $3.50-4.50 for the oil filter & oil pan gasket)

You can check the oil stick to make sure you don't overfill. Just about 3.9 should do the trick for a fresh fill with new filter, but mileage may vary, esp. depending on how well you drained the oil in the first place.

Per technical service manual:
Drain and fill with oil filter change 3.7 L / 3.9 US qts oil.

=========!!!!!!!!!!!!DO NOT FILL BEYOND THE FULL LINE ON THE DIPSTICK!!!!======
Per manual, there is a 1.5L / 1.6Q difference between the L and F marks on the dipstick.
If the fill is 3.7L / 3.9Q, the L mark is at 2.2L / 2.3 Q of oil.

=========READ IT AGAIN!!!!! Low mark is at ~ 2.3 Q of oil============

You should start with 3Q of oil or so, put the oil cap on top of the engine back on, put the car on a flat surface, run it warm, then rest
about 5 minutes, and use the dipstick to guide you from there. Again, DO NOT FILL BEYOND
the FULL LINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You can safely leave the oil level in the middle, between L and F, and the car will be perfectly fine.

Typically, 3.5qt works fine here, putting the oil mark between L and F just fine.

12) Put the cap back on, and run the engine a few minutes. Turn off the car, then get back under to check for leaks. Tighten as needed.

13) Close hood and drive the car off ramps. Stow ramps, tools, dispose of oil and trash properly.

14) Test car by driving it around a few miles and look for leaks after it's parked.

----

Generally, regular oil changes every 5k (or as noted in manual) works fine. Have used synthetic fuel converving oil to get about 2-3 MPG more than regular oil, but for protecting the engine, doesn't matter.

The engine always feels 'smoother' revving after an oil change, and regardless of whether I use regular or synthetic, seems the wear after 5000 miles results in darker oil that the engine finds so-so - revs aren't as smooth anymore. Pushing it to 7000 miles, it's still ok, but again, not as smooth revving as new. Use synthetic only if you're serious about ecomodding or extending oil changes (eg. Mobil 1 Extended says they're good for 15k).

California gov. has done a study for their fleet vehicles and published a PDF that shows they can safely extend to 10k-15k between changes. Reasonable as long as you're not using your car under harsh environments. That said, up to you whether $15-20 oil change is too much for you to spend money on every 5k vs 10k+.
http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/Publica...%5C2008020.pdf
If you're worried about warranty and the engine lifespan, just stick to the schedule in the manual.
Attached Thumbnails xA oil change quick guide-01drain.jpg   xA oil change quick guide-02cap.jpg   xA oil change quick guide-03filter.jpg  

Last edited by adorable; 01-15-2014 at 04:38 AM.
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Old 07-16-2012, 04:18 PM
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Wish I had waited until I seen this, my girl just paid 45 bucks for my oil change which I think was crap. Will be doing this myself next time.
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Old 07-16-2012, 05:46 PM
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For 45 bucks you can buy a large jug of synthetic oil $25.00 from Walmart + buy a upgraded brand oil filter $12-$15 for overall better engine protection. I keep my old gallon washer fluid jugs to pour the old oil into if needed.
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Old 07-17-2012, 06:54 AM
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1. Search for oil filter tests:
http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums...Board=6&page=1
http://parts.olathetoyota.com/tundra...omparison.html
http://www.corolland.com/oil-filters.html
http://filtrationcomparisons.weebly....d-results.html

You'll find the Toyota filter (at $4 for me) to be the best value overall vs. more expensive 99%+ filters like the Bosch.

2.
=========ignore===========
Seems some silly tube popped off the air filter cover while I was changing it and putting it back on seems to have corrected this issue. Why on earth Toyota didn't screw clamp these tubes down is beyond me.... >.<

Warning about 0w-30 Mobil 1 Advanced Fuel Economy motor oil!

In my xA, I switched from Toyota recommended weight regular oil for the xA to Mobil 1 the last oil change. Noticeable clacking now in the engine at idle that comes and goes - this is reported for other cars and trucks as well, esp. with freer flowing oils.
=========end ignore

While I'm only using it to see if there is any advantage in fuel savings for this change, I will likely go back to regular oil the next change if there's no savings of any note.

Keep in mind that oils suspend metal particles from the engine and other debris, lubricate, etc. As long as you can change the oil prior to it breaking down to the point where engine damage occurs (ie. recommended 5000k oil change schedule with regular Toyota weight oil), then you really don't need to spend $$$ for synthetic and worry about a broken engine.

Synthetics are good for certain heavy-duty, super-hot/cold, etc. situations, but rarely does one need it for the xA to run happily.

Synthetics do cost 2x-3x more than regular oils, so you're basically burning through cash faster despite doing it yourself. Only if you extend the oil change to 10,000k on synthetics at 2x the price does it make sense, matching the 5,000k change on regular oils. (Wouldn't recommend 15k oil change intervals...)

Do recall others noting that Mobil 1 is a true class/group/whatever IV synthetic, and most other synthetics were a class III. Thus, if you're going to synthetics, start with Mobil 1 (cheap at Walmart at $25 or so).

3. Yes. Buy that filter removal tool first! 64mm!

If you don't, it may take another trip to the store to pick it up during your first oil change, thus extending this to 1+ hours for the oil change. It's not like you'll always need it, but even getting the filter back on with a 3/4 turn as noted on the Toyota oil filter takes some effort!

(See technical service manual for the notes and diagrams.)

Toyota SST (oil change tool, offical part) 09228-06501
(ie. a 64mm filter tool)

Torque filter to 175 kgf*cm/13 ft *lbf or 3/4 turn after oil filter gasket has touched metal of motor.

Torque oil pan plug to 382 kgf*cm/28 ft.*lbf.

Drain and fill with oil filter change 3.7 L / 3.9 US qts oil.
On the first oil change, it should take an easy hour or less. Later, you can speed it up some, but the majority of time is taken up waiting for the oil to fully drain. (Again, you can put the plug and new filter back in any time, but mixing lots of old oil and new oil merely shortens the life of your new oil - warning to those zipping through 10 minute oil change service stations!)

4. Cost-wise, the $45 you spend on RhinoRamps is worth it. Yes, it's like 3 oil changes worth, but it's SO very convenient vs. jacks, stands, etc.! And much safer, too, for other work under the car.

Those trying to save money will simply look for the latest oil + filter offers from O'Reily, AutoZone, Walmart, etc. and stock up. Also, often, Toyota dealers have deals on oil filters and Toyota oil worth stocking up on.

DON'T forget the OIL PAN PLUG GASKET. Silliest part ever, but you might as well buy a dozen now at <$1 each. Wish they simply designed the oil pan plug to seal without a gasket...

5. Oil pan. RhinoGear pan like this for $6ish at Walmart:
http://www.walmart.com/ip/RhinoGear-...n-Pan/20440557

This is the bigger one. Buy the cheaper smaller one for $6 if you don't ever need to drop 10Qt of oil from a truck someday....or expect to do 2 oil changes at the same time! (Might be good for couples - change oil in both cars with the larger 10Qt pan.)

You can think of other cheap buckets, pans, etc., but if you're going to transport and pour oil safely, this is far better if your bucket/pan/etc. isn't rigid and capped for transport in a car to the oil change facility.

Otherwise, if you buy a bucket/pan/etc, make sure you can pour out a gallon of oil (or water) easily into the 5Qt jug your new oil comes in without the pan/bucket spilling/collapsing/etc. Nothing sillier than a messy oil spill to clean up (yuck, takes forever!).

Last edited by adorable; 07-18-2012 at 09:51 PM.
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:05 AM
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Tips for longer oil & filter life:
1) Drive like an ecomodder!
http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...mods-2969.html

Baby the engine and be gentle with the pedals. Easier you are, less wear and tear the engine, oil, and filter will get.

Plus, you'll save $$$ in gas that'll more than pay for a trip to Hawaii, etc. within a year. - Neil's getting 50+! (fifty!!) MPG in his ecodriven xA!

2) For the neurotic who want to really, really stretch out that oil change.
(best if your driving habits always stay the same, same with route, load, etc.)

http://www.blackstone-labs.com/
$25 per oil analysis, but the only sure way to know if your oil is still good if you extend the oil change past the xA's 5000 mile Toyota recommended interval.

(Many find they can go 10k easily on synthetics, 15k if they're luck and filter holds up.)

Keep in mind the xA's small filter! It won't hold that much junk and if you go to 15k, you'd better watch it!

Also, if you go past 5000 mile intervals, be very careful with jelling of your oil! Synthetics last longer (Mobil 1 has an Extended synthetic good for 15k), but if you run the xA rough and the oil jells, have a happy day with possible damage and engine repair! Oils naturally break down with use, and you don't want to use it to the point where they jell - change oil & filter before that point!
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by adorable View Post
5. Oil pan. RhinoGear pan like this for $6ish at Walmart:
http://www.walmart.com/ip/RhinoGear-...n-Pan/20440557
I wouldn't recommend this pan. I had the blitz labeled one, same design, just different label, and it leaked horribly. Then the cap on the drain part completely broke.
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:07 PM
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Amazon Amazon

If the above pans don't work for you, there's always lots more on Amazon and elsewhere like this one.

----------

Else, simply get a stiff, open oil pan like the Lisle:
Amazon Amazon

Or go cheap and use an aluminum, disposable turkey pan like I did...
Attached Thumbnails xA oil change quick guide-plasticsgroupoilpan.jpg   xA oil change quick guide-lisleoilpan.jpg  
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:08 PM
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Easy, cheap funnel. Works for adding oil, coolant, etc. and you don't have to deal with the mess of cleaning a plastic/metal funnel.

Take one 9" paper plate. Cut off 2" from one side, straight edge. Curl into a funnel with the straight edge as the bottom of the funnel. Tape with duct tape along side.

Use and toss.
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Old 07-24-2012, 05:21 AM
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Good info here..Thanks. I'm a big fan of the fumoto valve. Just got one for my xB, so all my vehicles have them now. Makes the oil change much easier/cleaner and you don't have to buy any more plug gaskets. So it pays for itself eventually. One thing I didn't see mentioned is that you should note the slight angle of the oil filter when taking it off, especially if you don't have ramps and want to put the new one back on blind. The filter has to be positioned perfectly or it won't catch the threads. I just make a small mark on the end of the filter to help me count revolutions but, for me, hand tight is always right on for some reason. I guess if I was stronger or weaker it would be a different story. Finally, driving the car over a tarp prior to the oil change has saved my butt more than once. There are just so many ways that oil can get all over the place no matter how hard you try to make sure that doesn't happen.
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Old 07-29-2012, 04:30 AM
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http://www.harborfreight.com/4-piece...hes-94096.html
Yea, Harbor Freight Supply carries 4 oil filter cap wrenches for:
Sizes: 3-5/32'' (80 mm) x 30 flutes, 2-27/32'' (65 & 68 mm) x 14 flutes, 3'' (74 mm & 76 mm) x 15 flutes, 3-31/32'' (93 mm) x 36 flutes

65mm may be okay for the 64mm xA filter - worth visiting the store to see for the $6.99 price for all 4!

---

They also have:
http://www.harborfreight.com/oil-pan...out-66000.html
Basic Open Oil Pan for $5.99

But besides this and the turkey pan, I thought, hey, what has a spout and can hold 5 quarts of oil? A 2.5 Gallon water container!

Just zip into a supermarket, buy that 2.5 gallon of water (you can pick mountain, spring, or distilled - distilled great if you're going to mix with antifreeze), and cut a hole in the top big enough to let the filter and oil splash down inside (maybe cut the top half off completely if your jacks don't life the car high enough).

When done, you can empty the oil into your used oil containers for disposal.

---

http://www.harborfreight.com/4-piece...l-set-744.html
4 funnels for $0.99. 5" will work perfectly if you're not cutting paper plates to make funnels like I am.

--

1st half tank of gas running AC almost all the time gives me about 29mpg - maybe Mobile 1 Fuel Economy oil is doing something here, maybe it's the new air filter? Hard to tell until I put on a lot more miles. Will have to wait and see. If it can improve fuel economy by 1mpg, it'll break even for me by the next fuel up.

Thus, synthetic oil is really only going to save $$ if you extend changes or if it gives you better fuel economy. Otherwise, I'd just zip right back to the $2.50 Toyota Qt special on dealer ads or other sale oils. Figure the xA isn't a 4 ton truck, so you're not really going to see much changing just the oil type.

--

In my experience, the oil drain plug won't be the cause of oil dripping down your arm and everywhere. On ramps, you can access it from the wheel well, and you simply unscrew it to about 3/4 undone, then use your hand to unscrew it all the way while applying light pressure to keep the oil from flowing out until it comes fully loose in the end. Just a little dribble on the fingers - nothing a glove can't handle.

The oil filter can dribble a lot more - this is where the xB's oil change guide advice comes in handy if you can wait - turn it until oil starts to dribble down. Wait until this stops, then unscrew it a bit more, and repeat 1-2 more times before unscrewing it completely. But IME, it just winds up all over the bottom of the oil filter, so you might as well just unscrew it as fast as possible. Two gloves dirtied with oil if you do it fast. Just the fingertips if you do it slow.

If you have the money, go ahead and do the flip spout plug if you want - just make sure lowered cars & clearance with debris is enough to prevent damage. In no way does this fix the dripping oil filter mess above =P
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Old 12-14-2012, 04:50 PM
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Default Used oil containers

Your local fast food / chinese take out throws out HEAVY duty 5 gal plastic containers that had their frying oil in them. Ask if they'll save one (or two) for you. They work great and usually have a wide mouth, making it easier to pour in your dirty oil.
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Old 01-22-2013, 02:40 AM
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Originally Posted by tailhooker View Post
Your local fast food / chinese take out throws out HEAVY duty 5 gal plastic containers that had their frying oil in them..
Thanks. Will have to remember this. Plastic bowl doesn't cut it. Oil pours differently, so it just makes a mess dripping all over pouring the oil back into the empty 5qt.

Oddly, still have my tires at 34psi, same gas station, but after the latest oil change at 5w-30 Mobil 1 synthetic and Toyota filter, the car gets 34mpg on the last run...with window open and ac during parts.

Makes me wonder....did some magical air/fuel clog take care of itself? O2 sensor came back to life? Winter gas blend? Or is my car suddenly happy? At least the engine likes 5w-30 - no noisy engine unlike last oil change. Haven't had much chance to run it about the city, so no idea yet if the city mpg also went up.
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Old 03-08-2013, 05:51 AM
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Running about 34-35psi on tires, 5w-30 Mobil 1 is doing good for gas mileage - about 32-34MPG on most fillups vs. <30mpg on regular Toyota oil.

From now until May 31, 2013, Pennzoil is having a $10 rebate on their Platinum Synthetic, which at Walmart goes for $22. $12 for 5qts synthetic is awesome! Details on the sticker on the jugs or at their website. Picked up a jug just because of this deal, and figure it also says Resource Conserving on the back, so it should help with fuel economy just like Mobil 1.
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Old 03-23-2013, 12:22 AM
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http://www.carcarekiosk.com/
Pretty neat site. Short video walkthroughs of the basic care points for the xA and other cars, including oil changes.
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Old 03-17-2014, 03:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Caprice0083 View Post
Wish I had waited until I seen this, my girl just paid 45 bucks for my oil change which I think was crap. Will be doing this myself next time.
For me the cost isn't so much the issue, it's the people who work at those oil change places not properly reinstalling the drain plug. Had a friend who went to one of these places and they stripped the plug putting it in and ruined the pan too.

Found the official gasket cheap and in quantity on Amazon
Amazon.com: Genuine Toyota - Oil Drain Plug Gaskets (QTY10) - 90430-12031: Automotive Amazon.com: Genuine Toyota - Oil Drain Plug Gaskets (QTY10) - 90430-12031: Automotive

I wasn't going to drive all the way to the dealer just for a gasket. Fortunately my local O'Reilly's had one for $1.50. I'd be careful on those custom drain plugs where you just push in and spin it or whatever, it'd be really easy for someone to be mean to you and drain your oil just by reaching under the car one day and you'd never know it.
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Old 07-18-2014, 02:11 AM
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1) Be careful about rocking motions on the Rhino Ramps!
I didn't use one foot to brake, one to accel slowly this time, and used just accel. Going up the ramp, the car backed up a touch a few times, and pop! the Ramps slid right under the car.
Sigh...

Proper way is to park, put the ramps right in front of each wheel, center aligned, then drive up slowly while using one foot to brake if needed. Don't let the car back up naturally when the transmission lets it.

2)
Amazon.com: Midwest Can Company Triangle Drain Pan - 7.5qt. 6375: Automotive Amazon.com: Midwest Can Company Triangle Drain Pan - 7.5qt. 6375: Automotive
Triangle plastic oil drain pan works really well. More sturdy than the round ones, and easier to hold and pour old oil into a 5 gallon oil bottle. Wash? Just wipe down with paper towels, suds it up with Tide, rinse, and wipe to dry. Otherwise, you can think about using a small trash bag liner.

3) Once you've done this and sparks a few times, you should be able to complete both in an hour or less. Oil first to drain, then filter, pop both in, fill with oil, then pop the cover for the sparks one at a time. NGK Iridium IX work well and after 30k miles, had just the usual brown color to the tip and all - nothing unusual and could probably go another 30k with minor wear they had.

Gotta be careful not to jam the sparks into the spark socket too hard - it'll stay on the spark while the rest of your wrench is pulled off and up, so it'll be hard to get the socket off the spark plug. Best is to use your hand to gently push it on enough to hold it in place while you put the spark down into the hole, then counterclockwise until you feel the ridge 'jump', then clockwise by hand a few times to get the spark threads going without stripping before using the socket. Tighten by hand gently until you feel resistance, then 1/2 turn by socket wrench to fully torque.
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