One of the most important factors to extend the life of any engine would be proper lubrication. Making sure there is the proper amount of oil, the right viscosity of oil and functional oil all would help provide the proper lubrication mentioned. Whether you need a diesel oil change or a oil change on a gas engine, it is vital for engine longevity.

For the most part a standard oil change can be relatively affordable for most passenger cars but diesels are a different story. A standard car would take four to five quarts of a bulk oil and the cost of a oil change would be $20-$30 but often times a diesel oil change could be 4 to 5 times as much. Here we wanted to go over the most cost efficient way to change the oil on your diesel engine. Changing your own oil will save you money but will also give you the assurance that it is done to your standards.

Before You Start Your Diesel Oil Change

Before you start your oil change you will want to make sure you are prepared. While this isn’t a difficult process having the necessary materials on hand will make things easier. We will use an example vehicle for the purpose of this article and it is a 2016 GMC Sierra 2500 with the 6.6 liter LML Duramax.

First and foremost you will need to find out the exact oil specifications for your diesel engine. What you will need to know is the oil capacity and the oil viscosity. If you are working on one of the more popular consumer diesel engines(Powerstroke, Cummins or Duramax) you can find that info here. For all other diesel engines I suggest looking in your vehicle manual or checking with the vehicle manufacturer. Our goal is to have all diesel engine manufacturer’s specifications available here at Intense Diesel in the future.

So for our vehicle we have looked up the specifications and found that 10 quarts of 15w40 viscosity grade engine oil is needed.

Diesel Engine Oil

Rotella 15W40 Synthetic Blend

Now there are many brands of oil on the market all claiming to be the best but which one should you chose? Well everyone has their own opinion and recommendations but I personally chose Shell Rotella T5.

Having used Rotella in my personal vehicle as well as hundreds of customers vehicles I have never experienced any issues or faults. You can find this oil at most part stores but I have found the best price to be on amazon.

Click here for best Rotella oil price

Diesel Oil Filter

Next up on your list of materials will be an oil filter. Again we find ourselves with a countless amount of oil filter options. I personally suggest picking a quality oil filter when doing your own oil change because I have seen plenty of failures from cheap filters.

Bosch Premium FILTECH Oil Filter

So which filter do I recommend? Personally I would go with an OE filter, Bosch filter or other premium option. I have linked the Bosch and the AcDelco filter I would normally use for the example vehicle.

Recommended Tools and Equipment

So now that we have the oil viscosity, oil capacity, containers of oil and oil filter we are almost set to start the oil change. The convenience of getting an oil change at a dealership or repair shop is two fold. You drop off the vehicle, they do the service and you are on your way(about $120 poorer). Secondly, they have all of they right equipment(lifts, oil caddies and tools) that makes the job super easy.

15 QT Capacity Oil Drain Container

What I have found that makes servicing a diesel engine at home easy are a few neat tools that can be found on amazon(or most any parts store). First and foremost you will need a  oil drain that doubles as a used oil transport. These make changing oil very easy and convenient by holding used oil securely in the basin. There are many options when it comes to these oil drains but I have linked to my favorite, most durable option. Oil Drain Caddy

Second up on our list of recommended tools would be a multi use wrench. While its great to have a plethora of tools I understand that its not necessary for many people. A tool that has been very useful is a oil change specific wrench that has an assortment of sockets all on one tool.diesel-oil-change-wrenchThis one here features 8 different socket sizes in one tool so there is no worry of loosing sockets. It offers the most frequent sizes found on most consumer vehicles. You can the 8 in 1 wrench here but I have seen it at places like Sears.

Next up on our list of recommended tools for your diesel oil change would be a oil filter wrench. Removing oil filters often times is a royal pain in the butt. They’re hot, slippery and usually on so tight you might think you would need an impact gun to remove it. The impact gun would be an extreme case otherwise a oil filter wrench will work just fine. The key with the wrench is to make sure it is big enough to fit your oil filter. The oil filter wrench I have listed here is my personal favorite as it provides excellent grip and leverage.The next item is not necessarily a tool but equipment that assist in the oil change process. Crawling on your back under the vehicle can be tough depending on the height of your vehicle. Even the clearance of 1 ton trucks can leave little room to work. These Rhino ramps here provide that extra clearance that allow a comfortable working environment. An added bonus to using these ramps is that they speed up the oil drain time slightly.

RhinoRamps MAX Vehicle Ramp -16,000 lb GVW Capacity

Another helpful piece of equipment would be a rolling shop creeper that allows for you to

Big Red Rolling Shop Creeper

easily roll under your vehicle and reach the oil drain plug or oil filter. While this is not a necessary item it can be extremely helpful in doing your oil change.

Pro Tip: If you don’t feel like throwing down the money for a creeper, a large piece of carboard will assist in sliding back and forth from under the vehicle.

Now you should be ready to tackle the oil change on your diesel from the comfort of home. Additional items you would possibly need would be oil dry, disposable rags or oil mats. These items can be found at most local auto parts stores or Amazon.

Changing The Oil On Your Diesel Engine

  1. With all of the supplies listed above on hand, you are now set to begin your oil change.
  2. The first thing to start with would be finding a smooth, flat working surface(most driveways work just fine).
  3. Place your truck ramps directly in front of the front tires and pull slowly up onto the ramps until you reach the stop point.
  4. Chock the rear tires for added safety.
  5. If the vehicle has been running for a while it is recommended to let it cool for 30 minutes to one hour.
  6. After the vehicle has cooled, you are now able to start draining the oil.
  7. Roll under the vehicle with your creeper, drain pan, oil filter tool and drain plug wrench.
  8. Locate the oil drain plug and proceed to loosen.
  9. Allow oil to drain till just a small stream of oil flows.
  10. Tighten drain plug till snug.
  11. Locate the oil filter and loosen.
  12. Allow oil to drain from the oil filter housing.
  13. Take new oil filter and wipe a small amount of oil on the new oil filter O-ring.
  14. Before placing new oil filter on housing MAKE SURE that old o-ring has been removed from oil filter housing.
  15. Tighten new oil filter HAND TIGHT only.
  16. Clean up any oil residue.
  17. Proceed to open hood and locate the engine oil fill tube.
  18. Place funnel in oil fill tube and fill with correct oil amount.
  19. Replace oil fill cap and start engine.
  20. Allow engine to run for about 30 seconds to make sure there are no leaks and to build oil pressure.
  21. Turn off vehicle and locate the oil dipstick under the hood.
  22. Pull dipstick, wipe clean and place back in dipstick tube till seated.
  23. Pull dipstick again and observe oil at correct level.
  24. If not at correct level fill till it reads correct level.
  25. Make sure all tools have been removed, oil cap has been tightened and dipstick has been placed back in tube.
  26. Close hood. Be sure to log the miles of your oil change.

The process of doing a diesel oil change will take a little longer on your first attempt but with each following attempt it will become faster and faster.

Doing the oil change on your diesel engine will save you money, allow you to be more in tune with your vehicle and provide you a gratifying feeling.