2002 Dodge Stratus R/T Coupe. 3.0L engine, auto-stick transmission.
Things that you will need:
-5 Quarts of oil
-Oil filter (mopar part number 5175567AA or MD352626)
-a 17mm wrench or socket/ratchet
-jack stands (2)
-a catch pan
-a couple rags
Open your hood. Remove the oil cap on the valve cover, as well as pulling the dipstick and checking your oil. Alot of people dont know that they have an oil system problem until its too late, so if youre going to change your own oil, this would be a fine time to do so, if not at other times.
Jack up the front of the car. I sugget using the crossmember running front to back, under the engine. When looking at the car, its just to the right of the middle of the car. Just it up enough so that you can fit under it, and then put the jackstands under the car, along the sides, just behind the wheel, on the 'pinch rail'. This is the metal that juts down about 1/4 or so from the body. These are precautionary, in case the jack fails.
Slide the catch pan under the car. There are two "pans" on the car; the transmission pan and the oil engine pan. The oil engine pan is toward the passenger side, and the plug is at a 45 or so degree angle on the back side of the pan. If you were to draw a line from the oil plug directly to the front of the car, you will see the oil filter. It is along the front of the engine. I always remove the drain plug first, and this is where the 17mm wrench comes into play. When laying under the car, you will want to turn the plug counter-clockwise. You can try to catch the plug as it comes out, or you can let it drop into the pan. There is no gasket on the stock plug to get lost in the dirty oil. While that is draining, and has slowed to a trickle, you may be able to slide the catch pan far enough forward to remove the filter. I will usually loosen the filter, and let the oil begin to run down the sides for a bit. Something to keep in mind, when you loosen the filter, oil WILL run out, and the oil should be hot. If youre laying on the ground, and let it splash into the catch pan, it may splash hot oil, so be careful.
Once the filter and plug are out, i typically let it drain for a few minutes, and in the meantime, i fish the plug out of the oil, and inspect the threads. Alot of companies will say to change the plug every time, but if you inspect it, you can be the judge whether to replace it or not. Wipe the threads clean, and the threads should look "sharp". If they appear to be rounding off, or flattened out, I would suggest buying a new one.
Clean the plug off, and get the new filter. Fill the new filter with new oil, and then take some of the oil in the filter on your finger and rub it around the filter gasket. Before installing the new filter, inspect the filter mounting surface, or the old filter, and be certain that the old filter gasket isnt stuck on the filter mounting surface. That makes for a real mess, and a big hassle if you have an old gasket stuck there when you put on a new filter. Once all is clear, screw the new filter on, and never use tools to tighten the filter; it should only be hand tightened. Then put the oil plug back in, and be very careful not to crossthread the plug, and dont over-tighten it, as it will ruin the plug, and sometimes the oil pan. Just make certain that the plug is nice and tight, but it doesnt need to be torqued down.
Remove the jackstands, and lower the car. I typically start by pouring in 4 quarts, letting it settle for a minute, then put the oil cap on and start the car, to move the oil around the engine, and ensure that the filter is full. Then check the oil per the dipstick, and add as needed. I think that my car takes around 4.5 quarts.
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