Change the Oil on a Fourth Generation (1998-2005) Hyundai Sonata V6
1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 Hyundai Sonata V6 Model
Greetings all. I’ve decided to create some do it yourself write-ups for the Sonata. I’m no mechanic, but I like (1) saving money, and (2) getting things done myself. As I’m sitting in my office without much to do, I thought I’d share some experiences I’ve had doing my own car work. I thought I’d start off with a very basic write-up: changing the oil. Changing the motor oil is a pretty standard and uniform process across cars. Described below is for a 2002 Sonata LX.
Things you’ll need:
Drain pan for used oil (~ $15 in most auto stores)
A pair of Jackstands (~ $20 in most auto stores) and jack OR Ramps (~ $40 in most auto stores)
5 (or 6, to be safe) Quarts of 10W-30 oil and funnel
Rachet or Breaker Bar with heads
Oil Filter Wrench
Maybe a hammer
(1) Warm up your car. This helps to thin the motor oil and suspend solid particles. If you have to pick up oil or tools or something, this is perfect to get your car warmed up.
(2) Raise the front end of your car. To perform the oil change, you’ll need to have access to the underside of the front of the car. To be able to move around and gain some leverage, you have to raise the car. You can either jack the car up and put some jackstands underneath to support it (you should never support a car up on a jack, in case it fails). The jacking spots are a little bit behind the front wheels, under the door. In the alternative, you can simply drive the car onto a pair of ramps. I prefer the ramp option as it’s quick, easy and gives you all sufficient clearance underneath to work.
(3) Get under the car and find the oil pan. The oil pan is on the passenger side of the car, almost right next to the passenger side front wheel. The oil pan drain nut faces the rear of the car. What you’ll want to do is bring with you under the car your ratchet or wrench and the drain pan. I forget the size of the drain nut, I think it was something like 15mm. Once you have a properly fitting ratchet head or wrench for the drain nut, you want to open the drain nut by turning out counter-clockwise. It might be on there tight, so hitting the end of the ratchet/wrench with a hammer is a good idea. Once you’ve loosened it, keep the drain pan close, positioned in front of the drain hole opening. As you get close to completely taking the drain nut out, oil might start seeping out. Once you completely remove the drain nut, oil will come shooting out, so be prepared and position the drain pain accordingly. Also, be careful not to lose that drain nut. Unless you have a replacement, you’ll be reusing it.
(4) Open the oil filler cap. I like to open the oil filler cap after opening the drain nut so that air comes swooshing in to help push more oil out. Not sure how accurate this is, but I do it. Once you open it, give the car a few minutes to completely drain out.
(5) Remove the oil filter. Once oil pretty much stops coming out of the drain, get back underneath the car. In front, you’ll notice an oil filter sticking out. There might be a plastic skid pan in the way. You can remove it (if I recall, it was a single screw holding it in place) to gain better access to the filter. You can try removing the oil filter by hand, but the easiest way is with an oil filter wrench. Once you’ve got a grip on the oil filter (whether by hand or by wrench), turn it counter-clockwise to remove it. Oil will come out from here as well, so as you’re turning the oil filter, position the drain pan underneath. Let that oil drain out for a minute or two. Also, make sure that the oil filter gasket (a circular piece of rubber that’s on the open part of the oil filter, almost like a cushion) came off with the old filter. If not, you’re going to have to scrap it off the oil pan.
(6) Close up the oil pan. At this point, you’ve drained the oil from the car. Next, we’re closing up the oil pan. Start with the drain nut. Wipe down the drain area, reinsert the nut and tighten by turning it clockwise. (I’m not sure about torque wrench specs. I just tighten until it’s tight). Next, we have to put a new oil filter. Again, wipe down the area where the oil filter goes, making sure no old gasket is there, or any other dirt or something. Once it’s clean, dip a finger in old oil and wipe the gasket on the new filter with it. (My understanding is that this helps to prevent the gasket from seizing onto the metal. There’s no exact science to it, just wipe the gasket with oil until it’s lightly coated). After putting oil on the gasket, just screw in the filter where the old one was. It might take some fidgeting to make sure the oil filter is screwing in where it’s supposed to, but it’s simple. Tighten the filter by screwing it clockwise. Don’t use the oil filter wrench to tighten – just use both hands. Tightening the oil filter too much can compromise the integrity of the filter, and can damage the inside of it (or so I’ve read).
(7) Fill the crankcase with oil. If you haven’t done so already, find the oil filler cap on the topside of the engine (it’s a circular cap marked with an oil dish symbol). Seat the narrow head of the funnel inside of the filler area. Start pouring oil.
(8) Start the car up. Close up the oil filler cap and start the car. Let it run for a bit, you might even want to rev the engine up a bit to get some pressure in the oil pan. As the car is on, look underneath and check for any leaks.
(9) Shut the car off. Turn the car off. At this time, I generally check underneath again for any leaks. (There might be a trickle of oil on the new oil filter, but this is likely trickle from old oil when we screwed on the new filter.) If there is a noticeable leak, try to tighten everything more. If tightening doesn’t stop the leak, you have bigger issues. Assuming no leak, wipe down the areas again. Let the car cool down for 2 or 3 minutes. After it’s cooled down, check the oil dipstick (on the driver’s side of the engine, I think a yellow handle). Pull the dipstick out and wipe it clean with a clean rag or something. Stick it back in all the way, hold for 5 seconds, and pull out straight back out. Check to make sure the oil level is within the shaded area on the bottom of the dipstick. If not, add a little more. If you are adding oil, do it in small intervals, checking the dipstick markings frequently because you really don’t want to add more oil than a car can handle. Assuming you’ve got the oil within the shaded area, put the dipstick back in, close the hood, clean up and you’re done. Feels good, doesn’t it?!
Some personal thoughts:
Again, I’m no mechanic, and my cars are out of warranty, so I’ll play around with what I put in. In terms of oil, I prefer synthetic over conventional. I pick up a 5 quart jug of synthetic at Walmart for about $25. People can argue for days about whether synthetic is superior to conventional, and I really don’t know. You have to balance cost with what you think offers good protection. I think all the major brands of oil do a decent and similar job. With respect to an oil filter, I think here’s where you don’t want to skimp out. Get a decent oil filter. Again, what’s decent and what’s not is up for debate. You have to balance cost with performance. I use Purolator filters for this Sonata, and a german oil filter for my VW.