Saturday, March 30, 2013

B8 Audi S4 (2012) DIY Oil change

This is a pretty easy DIY guide for changing the engine oil in your B8 Audi S4. It's fairly straightforward to change the oil in the S4, since the oil filter is right up top. In fact, if you use an oil extractor, you don't even need to get underneath the car!

But based on general feedback I got from people who are much better informed about such things, I decided to go with the traditional (but messy) drain plug method. I've done oil changes on my Jetta in the past, so this isn't entirely new to me, but I'm by no means an expert. If I can do this, most of you can! Also, I'm not responsible for anything good/bad that may happen to you/your car as a result of following this guide. Hopefully you have all of Baby Jesuses blessings! 

What you need:
1. 7-7.5 qts oil (Mobil 1 0W-40 in my case)
2. Oil Filter (MANN HU 722z, which is basically the exact same as the OWM minu the Audi logo)
3. Trolley Jacks (or ramps, if you have those)
4. A phillips screwdriver
5. A 36mm socket
6. T35 Torx head screwdriver
7. Nose plier
8. Something to catch and hold the used oil (I used a Hefty 6.5 qts container)
9. Plenty of rags/paper towels
10. Crush washers for the drain plug (I got these from the dealership. Audi of Stevens Creek was nice enough to just give me a couple!) 
11. A decent playlist and possibly some beer :)

Before you start off, make sure you cover parts around the hood with towels, just so that you don't accidentally touch the car with dirty/oily hands. In my case, this was a bit moot thanks to the MASSIVE amounts of pollen bombing, combined with rain.

With that aside, let's get started with the oil change!

1. Pop the hood open first. Then, jack the car up, or drive it up the ramp. Make sure the car is secure and you've use the correct mount points for the jacks. After this, make sure you unscrew and open the engine oil cap and remove the dipstick (if you've installed one like me. If not, just remove the oil cap)

2. Next, we need to remove the under-body panel that covers the front end. The panel is held together by 11 phillips screws; two right up front, 3 on the other end and 3 on each side (near the front wheels). The 3 at the rear of the panel remain attached to the panel and will NOT drop off even after unscrewing them

3. Now that you've removed the under-body panel. the oil pain (and therefore, the drain plug) should be clearly visible.

Once you've located the drain plug, place the oil catch container and plenty of paper towels or rags underneath the drain plug. This CAN get VERY messy if you've not done this before and are not prepared for it.


4. Once the container and rags are in place, go ahead and use the T35 torx head to unscrew the drain plug. I had some trouble getting this out as it was screwed on very tight. Be careful when exerting ape-shit crazy force, especially if the car is on jacks! It didn't help that I had a bit of a brain fart moment and got the clockwise/anti-clockwise directions mixed up...

Remember to quickly unscrew the drain bolt to avoid getting oil all over your arms! Once this is done, watch your S4 let loose the juice! Given that there's close to 7 quarts in there, it will take some time to drain completely. Take a break. Grab some stout and pat yourself on the back...the hard part's done!

You need to wait until the time interval between consecutive drops is great than 5 secs...again, this will take some time. Once 99.99% of the oil has been drained, take a couple of paper towels and clean the area around the drain plug thoroughly

5. Next, replace the old crush washer from the drain plug with a new one. Once this is done, use the T35 head once again to screw the drain bolt back tightly, but make sure you don't overdo it, especially if the car is on jacks!

6. After this, you need to screw the under-body panel back in place. Frankly, I found this to be the most annoying and cumbersome part of the entire process! The screw threads are very shallow, making it very difficult to hold the panel in place while you work on it. From my experience, start with screwing back the 2 screw in the front. then the sides and then the rear

7. That wraps up the under-the-car-and-therefore-annoying-part of it. Carefully release the jacks. If you've used ramps, don't drive the car off them yet! We now need to replace the oil filter. The oil filter housing is near the back of the engine, on the right side. Wrap it with some rags or a couple of paper towels. A good bit of Oil WILL drip out when you remove the filter

8. Use the 36mm socket wrench to unscrew the oil filter housing cap. NOTE: I had a tough time getting hold of a 36mm socket. The PepBoys, Harbor Freight and AutoZone near me did not have this! Luckily, the Sears about 3 miles away did, although only for a 1/2 inch drive wrench (I had a 3/8 incher). So I went ahead an bought a 1/2" drive wrench along with the socket

9. Once fully unscrewed, quickly (but carefully) pull the housing out and place the cartridge on some rags or paper towels. Carefully screw out the filter cap from the actual filter; you might have to use a little force to separate them

10. Now, emoe the rubber O-ring that's inside the filter housing. There should be a small tab that you can use a nose plier to grab and pull out the O-ring. Replace this with the new tabbed O-ring that comes with the filter. Before putting it back into the housing, remember to coat the new O-ring in some oil and then install it with the tab facing UP. Screw the new filter element back into the housing

NOTE: The filter came with a second, thinner, non-tabbed O-ring. I did not see a second O-Ring while removing the filter and trying to attached it around the neck of the housing (as suggested in another guide) prevented me from screwing the filter back on tight. I ended up not using it

11. Now, it's simply a matter of pouring in the good stuff into the engine! Unfortunately a funnel doesn't really work with the S4, given how shallow the inlet is (and the fact that there are some mechanicals inside that obstruct the opening). Remember to pour the oil in nice and slow to prevent creating a mess!

Once I'm done with each bottle, I make sure to seal it back tight and let it rest up-side down while I go through other bottles. At the end, I slowly open each bottle (while up-side down) and see that there's at least a cap full of oil in each bottle. This, times 7, adds up!

12. That's it! I filled in about 7 quarts, closed the oil cap tight and set off on a short test drive. After letting the oil heat up to a reasonable temperature (70-odd deg C...which you can check in the MFD if you've enabled it through VCDS), I shut the engine off and check the oil level with the dipstick. If you didn't install the dipstick, you can use the MMI to confirm the oil level. To do this, shut down the car and turn the ignition on again (without actually starting the engine). Wait for about 3 minutes. Now check the MMI and you should see the current oil level. If it looks good, go grab yourself another Ale! If it's short of full, remember to top it up before you go grab your ale! :)

If you already have all the tools, you've saved yourself a good bit of change. The dealerships here in th Bay Area were quoting anywhere between $130 and $150 for the oil change. With the $12 MIR rebate currently going on on Amazon for the Mobil 1 0W-40, I scored 12 quarts for about $76. Including the cost of the wrench and socket I had to buy this time, I came in at $110 total. That's still $20-40 cheaper than a dealership, with much better oil AND the satisfaction of having done a good job yourself. Honestly, I don't do this to save money. I just enjoy working on the car and making sure that it's taken care of well. Hope folks found this DIY guide useful! :)


PeterC. said...

Over time you can save yourself a good deal of cash by doing simple repairs and maintenance yourself. Oil changes are pretty quick and easy to do yourself; although it never hurts to have a repair manual,like, on hand in case you into a problem.

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Ryan Yost said...

Awesome DIY guide. Only change I made was a few IPAs instead of stouts! That 36mm socket can be taken off with a small pipe wrench, just don't over torque or blemish the housing. A rag works well as a buffer. Thanks again. Cheers.