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Is Vacuuming oil better than pulling the plug
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Thread: Is Vacuuming oil better than pulling the plug

  1. #1
    smark's Avatar
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    Is Vacuuming oil better than pulling the plug

    This topic has come up before, on this forum. Here is a actual demonstration, and the end results are excellent.


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    Moderato map's Avatar
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    The amount left behind varies in each video. There are a couple that show none draining out of the plug, others that show 4 to 6 ounces left behind, and others that show a quart left. I'd guess it depends on the user and the dipstick tube location. Note: Even when pulling the plug, 4 or 5 ounces can be left behind. Those that are concerned with leaving behind sludge will probably want to tilt the car's pan towards the drain plug and/or avoid extended oil change intervals. Removing the filter while it's draining can help with some models.

    Last edited by map; 11-06-2021 at 12:31 AM.

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    smark's Avatar
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    I know a couple people, at work. That had there oil changed at Jiffy Lub. The mechanic didn’t tightened down the drain plug.

    One of the ladies I work with. Had Honda Fit oil change at the dealership. That I’ve used over 35 years. The mechanic didn’t tighten down the oil plug too. She drove 10 miles south to her home. Oil is pouring on her driveway. The dealership apologize, and gave her over $600 worth of free service. It would cost him more to replace that engine if they had burned up.

    That OEM Tool extractor, is a lot better unit, then my 100 buck, Harbor freight one I bought.

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    Amministratore Fiat500USA's Avatar
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    The oil filter on our cars need to be removed first before draining the oil. This allows the oil trapped in the housing to be drained into the pan and then out the drain plug hole. You can bet that a large number of shops and people don't do this, so right there is a few ounces of dirty oil.

    I think it all comes down to how conscientious someone is when doing the oil change. I'm pretty fussy, and pour in an additional 1/2 quart or more of fresh oil in and suck that out too, making sure I get all the old oil out. I feel confident I'm doing a good job getting rid of the old oil. However, if you aren't fussy, I could see some gunk being caught in a corner, but that can also happen at a shop when the guy pulls the plug and then slams it back in without waiting for the drips to slow down. A shop isn't going to take the same care an enthusiast owner normally does.

    The cars I've pulled plugs on after I've sucked the oil out, I get pretty much NO drips of residual oil. I do spend a lot of time sucking the oil out though.

    That also goes with prefilling an oil filter. I'm meticulous and am careful not to get anything dropping into the oil filter housing. My funnels are brake cleaned and wiped with a white, lint free paper towel. If someone isn't careful or is rushing at a shop I can see the point about not filling an oil filter.

    I think if you are careful, you can get a good change sucking it out. If you are not as methodical, maybe dropping it would be better, as long as all the steps are taken and time is given to let the oil drain all out.
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    Senior Member aelfwyne's Avatar
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    If you're worried about leaving sludge behind on a vacuum oil change here's two tidbits for you:

    1: Have the oil quite warm when doing the change so it's mixed and not settled out.

    2: If you're having levels of sludge on the bottom of the pan that don't mix when your oil is warm, then you got more serious issues bro and should be changing your oil much more frequently than you have. Sludge buildup shouldn't be a thing if you're changing your oil regularly with the correct oil.

    3: If you ARE having sludge buildup, then sludge collecting in things like oil passages, valvetrain, etc, is much more worrying than the non-moving area around your oil drain plug.
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    smark's Avatar
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    That oil extractor is a $600 item.

    BF9ACD03-0E75-41BC-920E-9ABED09636F5.jpg

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    Moderato map's Avatar
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    Yep. If I was going to use one of those I'd go with one where I could check how much oil is removed (like your clear-side canister). I tried using a couple of those units and thought them messier than using a drain pan. I can see how they'd save work on the Fiat and other engines where you can reach the filter from above. Those bigger units are handy if you have a modern diesel PU which can hold 13 quarts of oil. I assume they work well with most engines. It's my understanding that Mercedes dealerships use a vacuum system to change oil.

    Yeah, leaving the oil plug off or loose is a problem in some cases. The first I saw was from Lou, when a customer pulled to the pumps. He let the car down, dumped in the oil, and parked it for the customer to pick up. The customer drove it home, then half way back to the station with the oil light on. (The plug wasn't installed and just drained into the shop floor drain.) Of course there are always problems that come up with oil changes. There was a recent "Just Rolled In" where the shop drained the front differential then added 8 quarts to the engine.

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    Senior Member TheDan's Avatar
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    I prefer sucking the oil out. Did it just yesterday actually. I use either a Topsider or cheapy electric pump.


    On some cars like my Land Rover, it's actually designed to be sucked out. There's an extraction tube for it under the fill cap.

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    Senior Member bryanintowson's Avatar
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    Vacuuming also is perfect if you don't have ramps, a lift, a pit or even a driveway.

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    Agreed. My ramps brush the bumper when taking the car up in back (haven't tried them on front) and it isn't lowered. On my former car I had to jack the car up to slide ramps under the wheels.

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