OIL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CHANGING OIL.
Failure to change oil on a regular basis can cause irreversible damage to the engine. The results will be excessive oil consumption, loss of power and decreased fuel economy, to name a few potential problems. While this might seem like a simple task, there are many factors to consider.
THE NECESSITY OF OIL
Engine oil is the lifeblood of an engine. It lubricates all the moving parts within an engine — pistons, piston rings, bearings, valve stems, camshafts and lifters. But, engine oil also has a secondary purpose: removing heat from the engine. Without engine oil, metal-to-metal contact between moving Engine parts will cause accelerated engine wear, heat, scuffing and eventual seizure of the engine.
Oil, whether conventional or synthetic, is more than just oil. Additive packages are added that improve wear characteristics, flow over a wide range of temperatures and cleaning capabilities. Without these additives, engine oil would quickly break down under the rigorous operating conditions in the internal combustion engine.
To get the most from your engine oil, the American Petroleum Industry (API) suggests the following:
- Refer to the owner’s manual for the correct type of oil to use
- Follow the manufacturer’s oil change recommendations
- Use only the recommended API category: S for gasoline engines; C for diesel engines
- Select the proper SAE oil viscosity grade
- If you have to mix brands of oil, use the same viscosity grade and API service grade
HOW OFTEN SHOULD OIL BE CHANGED?
As a general rule, FCA US LLC recommends that engine oil be changed every 5,000 miles. Most late model vehicles are equipped with an automatic oil change indicator system. This system will remind the vehicle owner that it is time to take their vehicle in for scheduled maintenance. Based on engine operation conditions, the oil change indicator message will illuminate.
Severe operating conditions such as frequent short trips, trailer towing, dusty environments, extremely hot or cold ambient temperatures and E85 fuel usage will influence when the Oil Change Required message is displayed. Such conditions can cause the change oil message to illuminate as early as 3,500 miles since last reset. If this is the case, have your vehicle serviced within the next 500 miles. It’s important that the change interval be reduced when operating the vehicle under severe operating conditions.
Under no circumstances should the oil change interval exceed 10,000 miles, 12 months or 350 hours of engine run time, whichever comes first. The 350 hours of engine run or idle time is generally only a concern for fleet vehicles.
For authentic performance, FCA US recommends Pennzoil Professional. In addition, API certified engine oil, meeting the requirements of Material Standard MS-6395, such as Mopar® and Shell Helix, can be used. Refer to the engine oil filler cap or owner’s manual for the correct SAE grade.
CHANGING ENGINE OIL
Changing engine oil is a pretty straightforward task, but here are a few tips to do the job correctly.
Note: The oil filter should be changed every time the oil is changed.
The first step is running the engine until the normal operating temperature is reached. Place the vehicle on a level surface, then turn the engine off. Remove the oil fill cap.
Note: The oil fill cap must be removed. Removing the oil fill cap releases oil held within the oil filter cavity and allows it to drain into the sump; failure to remove the cap prior to reinstallation of the drain plug will not allow complete draining of the engine oil.
Next, raise and support the vehicle. On SRT® Challenger/Charger models, remove the belly pan. Place a suitable drain pan under the crankcase drain plug. Remove the drain plug from the oil pan and allow the engine oil to drain into the pan. Inspect the drain plug and replace it if the treads and/or gasket are damaged. After the oil has drained from the oil pan, remove the oil filter.
Note: On the popular 3.6L V6 engine, the oil filter is removed before raising the vehicle and draining the engine oil; the new filter is installed after the vehicle is lowered and the crankcase is filled.
Install the drain plug in the oil pan, then install the new oil filter. Remember to lubricate the oil filter gasket with engine oil. Rotate the filter until the gasket just touches the gasket surface, then tighten it to specifications. Lower the vehicle.
Fill the engine with the correct engine oil and the correct volume of oil. Install the oil fill cap. Start the engine and inspect for leaks. Turn off the engine and check the oil level.
If the incorrect filter is installed, oil leaks can occur. It can also cause oil flow problems through the filter. HEMI® engines use two different designs, so be sure the correct one is selected. There’s also a more common oil filter problem that occurs from time to time with the 3.6L V6 engine in the FCA US product line since 2011.
A unique design feature of this filter is its cartridge design, it’s not the conventional screw-on canister-type filter that is used on all other FCA US engines. This is not the problem with this filter. The problem can potentially occur because the cartridge design changed in the 2014 model year.
Refer to Figure 1. The cartridge on the left (P/N MO-744) is used on the 3.6L engine built from 2011 through 2013. The cartridge on the right (P/N MO-349) is used on that engine from 2014 to the present. As you can see, the two cartridges are physically different from one another. These cartridges ARE NOT INTERCHANGEABLE! Vehicle owners who change oil themselves, or have it done at a quick oil change facility, must be aware of the model year of their vehicle.
If the wrong cartridge is installed and the vehicle comes to your dealership or repair facility, the check engine light will be illuminated because a trouble code will be set. In addition, the vehicle might be leaking oil. The Mopar
box has a picture of the cartridge and clearly states the years for which it applies.
One final note on this cartridge. The O-ring must be replaced when the cartridge is replaced. If the O-ring is not
installed, you’ll have a major oil issue on your hands.