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DIY Jeep Wrangler JK Oil Change

Being the start of the New Year, it is usually a good time for vehicle maintenance. Coincidentally, my Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited Rubicon was due for an oil change right after New Years Day. I figured I could document my routine for an oil change in the Wrangler JK.

First off, I use Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Full Synthetic 5W-20 which I typically have to order online since it is not usually carried in local retail stores (compared to Pennzoil Platinum or Pennzoil conventional). The Wrangler JK with the 3.6L Pentastar (2012-2018) needs a 5.9 quarts, but most everyone puts in 6 quarts (5 quart jug + 1 quart bottle).

As far as the oil filter I stick with the OEM Mopar 68191349AA oil filter. There really is no reason to go with a non-OEM oil filter.

Tools that I use for an oil change:

  • ratchet
  • torque wrench (ft-lbs)
  • 24mm socket, for the oil filter cap
  • 13mm socket* / Valvomax Drain Tube Assembly, for the oil pan plug
  • 19mm socket, for the wheel lugs (tire rotation)

Note that a 13mm socket is required for the oil pan plug, but I replaced my oil pan plug with a Valvomax drain plug system.

With the Valvomax system, a ‘permanent’ valve replaces the OEM oil pan plug. The valve has a protective dust cap which is unthreaded, and the drain tube assembly is threaded on to actuate / depress the spring pressurized ball mechanism to allow oil to flow out of the valve.

Anyway, I pretty much start off with a huge piece of cardboard and an oil pan underneath the JK.

Even though I use the Valvomax system which is a very clean, low-mess way of draining oil, I still like to have cardboard in the event something drips or splashes haphazardly.

Once I start draining oil, I wait a few seconds and then take a sample with a pre-provided sample bottle from Blackstone Laboratories.

Blackstone Laboratories will analyze oil samples to provide information on how your oil is holding up and if it can be extended for longer user (longer change intervals) and if the engine is having any specific issues with regards to contamination (e.g. oil-fuel dilution). The sample kits are free and come with pre-paid mailing labels. The cost for a test is currently $25, but you can add $10 for an additive test to get more information on the oil’s longevity potential.

Blackstone Laboratories test results for the Jeep after 2,979 (~3K) mile oil change and 8,003 miles on the odometer.

Once I get the sample, I let the oil continue to drain fully. During this time, I will get into the engine bay and remove the oil filter.

The oil filter cap is removed with a 24mm socket. If you don’t have a deep socket, you will need an extension or two.

Replacing the oil filter is a simple affair, but don’t forget to change out the o-ring on the oil filter cap/cover. The Mopar 68191349AA oil filter and every oil filter made for the Wrangler JK should come with a new o-ring.

I then install the new oil filter and torque the cap to 18 ft-lbs (according to specification).

After the new oil filter is installed, I will take the time to wash off the engine cover.

After a wash and dry I will let the engine cover air dry further while I move on to a 5-tire rotation on the Jeep. Depending on the interval, I may or may not do a 5-tire rotation. But generally, if I am doing an oil change, odds are I need to do a tire rotation.

A 5-tire rotation on a rear wheel drive, 4×4, or all wheel drive vehicle is very straightforward. Spare tire to passenger rear. Passenger rear to passenger front. Passenger front to driver rear. Driver rear to driver front. Driver front to spare location.

5-Tire Rotation for Jeep Wrangler

The torque on the factory Jeep wheel lug nuts can vary from 90-135 ft-lb depending on year (because of what Jeep printed in the manual for that year). The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JK manual lists 100 ft-lb as the torque specification for the wheel lug nuts and 50 ft-lb for the spare tire lug nuts.

After the wheels are on, I will close up the Valvomax drain plug and begin adding 6 quarts of oil. Note that if you use the factory oil pan plug, the torque specification is 20 ft-lb.

Once you drop in the six (6) quarts and close up the oil filler cap, start up the Jeep and let it warm up for a few minutes and shut it off. Then check for any leaks. You’re pretty much done.

After that, do not forget to reset the oil life remaining meter. Simply turn the ignition to the on position and press and release the gas pedal three times within 10 seconds of turning the ignition.

Torque settings reference:

  • Oil pan plug: 20 ft-lb
  • Oil filter cap: 18 ft-lb
  • Factory wheel lug nuts: 100 ft-lb
  • Spare tire lug nuts: 50 ft-lb

Jeep Wrangler JK oil change and tire rotation tools and supplies:

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