Help for a Newb: Changing Oil

Border Walker

Original poster
Member
Oct 13, 2012
18
Yes. I am that much of a newbie and sheltered. Warned so in my intro thread.

Anyway, just got my TB back from the shop. along with fixing my Power Steering, I had asked them to change my oil. They neglected to change my oil though, and I'm getting tired of bringing my car in every other day. Since Oil changes I've been told are supposed to be simple, I want to just do it myself.

I normally get it changed with Synthetic (Mobil 1 As I understand it?) but beyond that I know nothing. So, from a complete newb standpoint...

How does one go about it?
What do I need?
Where are the caps and such in an 03 TB LS?
What Synthetic oil is best?
--Does Synthetic also actually get you mroe than the 3000 supposed miles?
What does one do with the old oil?
And anything else I should know but forgot?

I'll be checking the owner's manual to be sure but wanted tips from others as well.:confused:
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
A local mentor to show you the ropes would be better than folks on an Internet forum, but there are plenty of youtube videos that can show you the basics good for ANY automotive platform. FInd a buddy from school or work. Buy them beer if you're both old enough.

Your local parts store will have the right oil filter wrench to help you get it off. I use the end-cap style. We don't have room for the strap-style with the handle that extends to the side. Then you'll need some extensions for your socket set. You *do* have a socket set?

Also buy some ramps to drive up on, and a drain pan/collection unit, at your local Harbor Freight or parts store.

Neoprene gloves to keep your hands cleaner, shop towels to absorb any spills, and your locacl parts store should accept and recycle your used oil out of the collection unit.

ALL oils will last much more than 3000 miles. Don't believe that old lie, spread by the Jiffy-Lube industry to pad their profits at the expense of the environment. They lile. Read your Owner's Manual about the OLM (oil life monitoring) system. You can easily go 7000-10000 miles before the OLM light will alert you to change it.
 

Border Walker

Original poster
Member
Oct 13, 2012
18
I do indeed have a socket wrench set. And though having a buddy would be good, none of mine actually have the experience, oddly enough. But thanks. I'll be looking into youtube vids and such as well from various perspectives before actually trying this. And I had a feeling that 3000 was a lie, but what about Synths? Will they get more than normal on most occasions? Or are their benefits elsewhere?
 

navigator

Member
Dec 3, 2011
504
I tried searching for a write up for you but was unable to find one here or on the OS.
Does your oil life monitor (OLM) work?
As I understand the TB with regular oil following the OLM can usually get between 5 and 9k miles between changes because it holds 7 quarts.
I change mine every 7500 with full synthetic because that works out to about 2X per year for me. I would feel confident changing it 1X per year
except I like to get under it more often than that and it gives me a good reason.

There are a lot of discussions on the best oil but M1 is a fine oil, if you change it regularly with a good filter you shouldn't have any oil related engine issues.
The main thing with filters is stay away from the Orange Fram filter.
the Purolator/AC Delco are good solid filters, Purolator Gold, K&N, WIX, Napa Gold are a step up.
I usually get whichever synthetic that is on sale that doesn't have an orange fram filter.


Try searching here/the OS to see if you can find a writeup or another poster might link one.
If we don't find something I'll try to give you some instructions.
Roadie beat me to the punch, a good mentor can make this much easier. Put your city in your location and maybe another member is near you and able to show you the ropes.
 

TBGal

Member
Sep 14, 2012
30
Hi, welcome to the forum. I am a newbie too.

There is a member on this forum, MAY03LT, who made a youtube video on how to change the oil on a trailblazer.
[video=youtube;HwHUvJzE83o]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwHUvJzE83o[/video]

If you continue to get your oil changed at the dealership, I recommend you check your oil level after driving it a bit. The reason I say this is because most of the Chevy dealerships build up to 6qts of oil into their price quote. Any additional qts is charged extra. Our trucks hold 7 qts. It has been my experience that most of the time, the dealership puts 7 qts in and doesn't charge me extra over the 6qts. BUT, I check all my fluid levels, because I like to see for my own self what is going on with my vehicle. There has been a time or two when the dealership only put in 6 qts. I am just giving you a warning that you need to check on things yourself with your vehicle and not trust the dealership to not make a mistake.

If you use non-synthetic oil, you may be able to get up to 5000 miles without needing an oil change. Full synthetic is a much longer service interval. Use your OLM but also check your oil and other fluids once per month.

The first time you do your own oil change, you may find that the oil filter is a little tough to take off. Some dealerships get them on really tight. But, after you are doing your own oil and filter changes, you can get them hand tight.
 

framedforlife

Member
Oct 14, 2012
95
I have gone to 9% on the DIC thing for the before

and I have a full synthetic and I am going to keep it for 10-15K before changing it.
 

CaptainXL

Member
Dec 4, 2011
2,445
Purely a geographic observation...Being in Maine you are gonna want to use 0W-30 synthetic if possible for the winter.:thumbsup:
 

Phantom

Member
Jun 17, 2012
277
CaptainXL said:
Purely a geographic observation...Being in Maine you are gonna want to use 0W-30 synthetic if possible for the winter.:thumbsup:

I lived in Maine for 28 years. It gets colder here in Iowa then it does there. I always used 10- 30
 

meerschm

Member
Aug 26, 2012
1,079
Owners manual is a good reference.

5W-30 is recommended. (also look at your oil fill cap)

if it will be below zero a lot (and it sounds like this could be your case, depending on where in the state you are, and what this winter is like) 5W-30 synthetic is recommended, or 0W30 non-synthetic.

10W-30 is ok if it stays above zero.. ( if you cannot find 5-w30)

http://www.extendedgmwarranty.com/owners-manual/chevrolet/2004-Chevrolet-TrailBlazer.pdf is for a 2004, but section on oil is the same as my 2003 see p 5-15.
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
the roadie said:
We don't have room for the strap-style with the handle that extends to the side.

Actually that's what I use. Mine has a pretty short handle that sticks out at a tangent from the loop. It only gets me about 1/8 turn, but that's all that's really needed to loosen it up and just a couple swings to snug it down. The one my dad has is a little bigger with a longer handle that sticks straight out from the strap and it doesn't work well at all on these vehicles.

I've never used the end cap style filter wrench. So far the trailblazer is the hardest I've had to deal with on oil changes. My other car has the filter sticking right out the front, super easy to get to.
 

CaptainXL

Member
Dec 4, 2011
2,445
Phantom said:
I lived in Maine for 28 years. It gets colder here in Iowa then it does there. I always used 10- 30

I would use 5w or 0w in the winter. You get better startup protection and fuel economy.
 

MAY03LT

Member
Nov 18, 2011
3,412
Border Walker said:
What does one do with the old oil?

I dump it in 5qt jugs and take it to a local parts store.

The filter isn't too bad to get to in your 03. The challenge will be getting it off if some peckerwood tightened it to oblivion at the last change.
 

meerschm

Member
Aug 26, 2012
1,079
Border Walker said:
I do indeed have a socket wrench set. And though having a buddy would be good, none of mine actually have the experience, oddly enough. But thanks. I'll be looking into youtube vids and such as well from various perspectives before actually trying this. And I had a feeling that 3000 was a lie, but what about Synths? Will they get more than normal on most occasions? Or are their benefits elsewhere?

synthetic 5W 30 should be easier to start than conventional 5W30 when it is very cold.
 

6716

Member
Jul 24, 2012
821
I have changed my own oil exactly once. It helped me figure out why I would pay someone else to do it for me. I'll bet some folks on here have a much nicer set-up in the garage than I do, and it's easier for them. For me it was a big mess, and by the time I was done getting all the stuff and dumping off the used oil somewhere, it just didn't make sense.

I have mine changed every three months, which is usually 6-7K. Been doing that for the last 4-ish years / 100+k miles.
 

CaptainXL

Member
Dec 4, 2011
2,445
6716 said:
I have changed my own oil exactly once. It helped me figure out why I would pay someone else to do it for me. I'll bet some folks on here have a much nicer set-up in the garage than I do, and it's easier for them. For me it was a big mess, and by the time I was done getting all the stuff and dumping off the used oil somewhere, it just didn't make sense.

I have mine changed every three months, which is usually 6-7K. Been doing that for the last 4-ish years / 100+k miles.

Word of caution to those that do this. Some people are hard pressed to tell the difference when oil is only a few months old. Therefore given such a short drain interval it can be hard to tell if the oil has been changed at all. If you choose short intervals and a shop changes your oil i would suggest marking the old oil filter so you can tell if a new one was installed.
 

6716

Member
Jul 24, 2012
821
CaptainXL said:
Word of caution to those that do this. Some people are hard pressed to tell the difference when oil is only a few months old. Therefore given such a short drain interval it can be hard to tell if the oil has been changed at all. If you choose short intervals and a shop changes your oil i would suggest marking the old oil filter so you can tell if a new one was installed.

You, sir, have trust issues. :smile:
 

BaDAppLe

Member
Jun 28, 2012
51
You will want to remember to put oil on the rubber seal on the connecting face of the oil filter! Also make sure there is NOT still a seal stuck on the area of the block where the oil filter screws in at. If you don't oil the rubber seal on the oil filter it can be hard to remove. If the seal sticks to the block as you remove the old oil filter it will likely leak after you screw the new filter on.
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
6716 said:
I have changed my own oil exactly once. It helped me figure out why I would pay someone else to do it for me. I'll bet some folks on here have a much nicer set-up in the garage than I do, and it's easier for them. For me it was a big mess, and by the time I was done getting all the stuff and dumping off the used oil somewhere, it just didn't make sense.

I have mine changed every three months, which is usually 6-7K. Been doing that for the last 4-ish years / 100+k miles.

Haha, nope, I don't have a nice setup for oil changes at all. Heck just recently I pulled the truck onto the patio and covered the patio with cardboard to avoid drips :crazy: It's just that I, like CaptainXL, have trust issues with other places :tongue: Plus I'm a little more picky on what oil goes in and even with the hassle I'd rather save myself the extra 20 bucks or whatever. That 20 can get me a nice 12 pack of beer after all :cool: :biggrin:
 

navigator

Member
Dec 3, 2011
504
Sparky said:
Haha, nope, I don't have a nice setup for oil changes at all. Heck just recently I pulled the truck onto the patio and covered the patio with cardboard to avoid drips :crazy: It's just that I, like CaptainXL, have trust issues with other places :tongue: Plus I'm a little more picky on what oil goes in and even with the hassle I'd rather save myself the extra 20 bucks or whatever. That 20 can get me a nice 12 pack of beer after all :cool: :biggrin:
In one place we used to live I actually straddled the ditch(but used a catch tub) in my front yard because I had nowhere to change the oil.It worked out great because I didn't even need ramps.

My 3 main reasons for changing my own oil are
1. It makes me crawl under my truck.
2. I want to know what is going into it and that it is done right.
3. the biggie is I hate to take my truck to a shop and wait for them to do something......

I bought a 15X6.00 lawnmower tire yesterday and changed it by hand in my garage because I didn't want to wait for Walmart to change it for me and they would have done it for free.
 

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