Just like a car, truck or SUV, a recreational vehicle (RV) requires regular maintenance. But unlike your typical passenger vehicle, you’ll handle most of the maintenance yourself, including oil changes. You may be a pro at changing your car’s oil, but a few things are different when it comes to an RV oil change. Here’s how to get the job done.
1. Assemble Your Tools
Shop for a motor oil grade as recommended by your RV owners manual. The amount of oil required varies, usually ranging from 12 to 28 quarts of oil. No matter how much is recommended, purchase an extra quart or two in case you need to offset leaks or spills.
You’ll also need the following:
- One or more oil drain pans
- A wrench and socket set
- An oil filter
- A funnel
- An oil wrench
- Rags and paper towels
- Personal eye coverings
2. Prep the Area
Chock the rear wheels to secure the RV. Most RVs are high enough off the ground that an oil change can be done without lifting the vehicle. Simply grab a creeper and roll under. If that isn’t an option, make sure to choose heavy duty ramps that are designed to handle the vehicle’s weight. Keep in mind that most car ramps are NOT rated to hold the capacity of an RV. If you choose to use ramps, make sure they are secured on level pavement.
Leave the engine running for about five minutes, and then turn it off. A warm engine drains oil better and removes more sediment.
3. Drain the Old Oil
Slide yourself under the RV and place the drain pan beneath the drain plug. Use the wrench and socket to loosen the plug. When loosened, unscrew the plug by hand so that it doesn’t fall into the pan.
Set the plug to the side, and then remove the oil filter as the oil drains into the pan. Pour out the oil from the filter into the pan. Once fully drained, set the old oil aside for recycling.
4. Add Fresh Oil
Dip your finger in the new oil and slather it on the ring of the filter before tightening it in place. Secure the plug to the bottom of the oil pan. Head to the engine compartment, locate the oil cap, remove it and put the funnel in place. Add the recommended amount of oil. Keep in mind that an RV filter typically holds several more quarts of oil than the engine uses. Check the oil dipstick, and add more oil if necessary.
Turn on the engine, look for leaks underneath and recheck the oil level after you lower the RV. Once you’re satisfied with your work, secure the oil cap, remove and clean your tools, then recycle the old oil.
RV Oil Change Considerations
Consider using synthetic oil because it has fewer impurities, is better for the engine and lasts longer. If you’re like many recreational vehicle owners, you drive only a few thousand miles each year. If so, synthetic oil may limit your oil and filter changes to just once annually.
After each oil change, check the oil level after driving 100 miles. It isn’t unusual to need more at this point as the oil settles in the pan and filter.
Check out all the motor oils available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on oil changes, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.
Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.