No matter how you use your vehicle, routine maintenance is a necessity. Changing the engine oil is one of the higher frequency ones. Sure, you could visit the local quick change place and have them do it for you, but really, it’s a pretty easy job that can be done with a few simple hand tools and time.
Hopefully this “How-to” write-up will inspire you to give it a go.
Before you begin:
As I mentioned you will need some basic hand tools. Rummage through your tool box and make sure you have the following:
- Oil Catch Pan (One with a pour spout is a plus)
- 13mm socket and ratchet (a 13mm wrench can also be used)
- 24mm socket and ratchet w/6” extension (I use a t-handle rather than the ratchet)
- Small pick (a small flat head screwdriver can also be used)
- Paper towels or rags
- Drive up ramps or jack and jack stands (optional)
Beyond tools, you will also need to make a trip to the local auto parts store for the following:
- 6 quarts of 5W-20 ¹
- Oil Filter ²
With the above items handy, let’s get going!
Begin by pulling the nose of your KL up onto some ramps to gain some extra clearance for the work that will be done underneath. Alternately, you could jack up the front and support it with Jack stands. In truth, this is optional but makes the job a bit easier in the long run.
Ensure the vehicle is in Park and the emergency brake is set. Then, open the hood and remove the oil fill cap and set it aside. It can be found on the front passenger side of the engine. This is to allow air flow so the old oil will drain better.
Next, grab the oil catch pan along with the 13mm socket and ratchet. Place the catch pan under the drain plug (which can be found on the passenger side of the engine). Shift it toward the back of the Jeep as the oil will drain in an arc, especially in the beginning.
I like to loosen the plug with the socket and ratchet but remove it completely by hand as it allows for better control. This helps prevent accidentally dropping the plug into the pan with the old oil.
As mentioned, the oil will come out in an arc so account for this when placing the catch pan.
You will have undoubtedly gotten some oil on your hands and the plug… While wiping up, inspect the drain plug seal for any cuts or damage that could lead to leaks.
Once the oil flow has drained to a drip, reinstall the drain plug but there is no need to crank on it. While I never torque it, the specification is only 25 ft-lbs.
Give the pan and plug a final wipe down. You’re all done with the underside work!
The 3.2L Pentastar that is found in V6 Cherokees share a similar oil filter design to its 3.6L big brother. The oil filter housing is part of the engine and only the filter media itself is replaced.
Access to the filter housing is gained via an access hole on the passenger side of the engine cover. Turn the cover counter-clockwise about 30 degrees before lifting the cover.
Once the cover is out of the way you will see the oil filter housing and cap below.
Loosen and remove the oil filter cap using a 24mm socket and extension. Note: the cap is spring loaded, so it will feel a little odd when being unscrewed.
Once completely loose, remove the cap and filter which will be attached to it. There will be some oil dripping from the filter so have some paper towels and/or rags handy.
The filter is held in place by a small plastic detent. To remove it from the cap, just give it a little tug. Your new filter should have come with a new cap seal (o-ring). Be sure to swap the o-ring out on the cap before snapping the new filter onto it.
Once you have replaced the oil filter cap seal and snapped the new filter into place, reinstall the assembly back in/on the engine. I was unable to find a torque spec for the filter cap, but it will be clear when it is fully screwed in. There is no need to over-tighten it.
Replace the inspection cover.
You are now ready to install the new oil.
We typically purchase a 5 quart jug of oil and one stand-alone quart to save some money. The larger jug can be tricky to start pouring even with a large funnel. A trick I learned is to cut a small opening from the foil seal along with a port for air rather than just remove the foil all together.
Once all 6 quarts of oil are poured in you can reinstall the oil fill cap and you are done!
“Wait” you say? “I forgot to check the level!” In my opinion there really is no need to check the oil unless you can’t count to 6 and think you may have missed a quart or you spilled a bunch. But since I know there are many that will disagree, here you go:
Start the engine and let it run for at least two minutes. Then turn it off (Oil level can only be checked with the engine OFF). Wait another two minutes. Remove the oil dip-stick (yellow ring at the very front of the engine). Wipe all oil off of the stick with a rag and reinstall it.
Remove the dip stick again and look at the oil level which will be found at the very bottom.
Sorry for the bad picture, but you can still see the markings on the dip stick above. The markings indicate the 6th quart. The oil should be touching or at the upper marks when the engine oil is full. If the oil is at the lower marks, the engine is one quart low.
Note: Ours looks just a touch low because I didn’t wait the two minutes to ensure all the oil had drained back into the pan prior to taking this picture.
Another reason I like to purchase oil in one large 5 quart jug and then add a single quart is also for the clean-up. My catch pan has a pour spout and I turn around and pour the used oil I just took out of the engine, right back into the now empty new oil jugs. This makes for easy transport to the oil recycler.
There are also some catch pans that have lids or can transport the oil to the recycler without this step.
Recycling used motor oil works differently depending on where you live, but it’s an important step. Here in Ohio, any place that sells motor oil, must also accept it for recycling.
Just a few more comments:
¹ Jeep recommends oil that meets or exceeds MS-6395. This is an old and outdated specification and it can be tricky to find oil with it. The type of oil we are using in this write up has NOT been tested for MS-6395. It does however meet or exceed the required specifications. If you are concerned about warranty ramifications, Mobil Super Synthetic does have MS-6395 approval but was not available for us locally. It also is vastly more expensive.
² We use either Wix or Mobil-1 filters based on availability. The filter part number we used here is a Wix WL10010.