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I just changed the oil in my 14 MDX myself for the second time and thought I'd post some tips. I've been changing the oil in my vehicles myself for over 40 years and many hundreds of K miles and have never had an engine problem even after hundreds of K miles per engine. Changing the oil doesn't take much time - it takes me less time than taking the vehicle to a dealer or oil change place.

- 14 MDX SHAWD Tech - around 17K miles -

- Spec for the oil is 0W-20 with the API seal. This could be a blend or full synthetic and I don't think 0W-20 is made as a non-synthetic (natural). The spec doesn't care which is used.

- I used Mobil 1 0W-20 full synthetic Advanced Fuel Economy oil purchased in a 5 quart container at Walmart. I purchased it at Walmart because that's the only place I could find that had it in the 5 quart container and the price was good. Surprisingly, it's not carried at the closest Walmart to me but is at one a bit further away. It seems weird it's carried at some but not at others (i.e. it wasn't just out of stock).

- I purchased the oil filter (a Honda) at the local Acura dealer and included a new crush washer with it. I'm sure this would be cheaper on the internet but it really wasn't very expensive at the dealer.

- I warmed up the engine before doing the oil change to make sure the oil would drain well (but I'm not sure it's really needed with 0W-20 synthetic). Beware of hot exhaust pipes when doing it with a warm engine.

- It's easy to position an oil drain pan under the car and reach the oil pan drain bolt without needing to jack up the vehicle. The oil drain bolt is a 17mm bolt. After draining the oil thoroughly discard the old crush washer and use a new one (it only costs around $1 maybe) and torque the bolt to 29 ft-lbs. Note that to be able to torque it you might need to jack one side of the vehicle up a bit to get the wrench swing on it. I had to which leads to another suggestion below.

- The oil filter can be removed from underneath the vehicle or from the passenger wheel well. I've done it from under the vehicle but probably will do it from the wheel well next time and I'll explain that.
-- I purchased a special oil filter wrench (end cap type) from the local auto parts store that would fit the oil filter. This is a tiny oil filter and none of the wrenches I already had would fit it. I think it was a 64mm or maybe a 65mm one. It was an inexpensive metal one with a nut as part of it so I could get a wrench on it.
-- The first time taking off the factory filter can require a bit of extra muscle since they can be on tight but I found it wasn't too bad as long as one had the end cap wrench.
-- There's barely enough room to get the end cap wrench on the filter between the filter and the frame but there was enough for the one I used.
-- There'll be a dump of oil when the filter's loosened and when it's finally off so prepare for that. I always use a big piece of cardboard under the drain pan. Make sure the O-ring gasket came off with the filter and that the mating surface for the new oil filter is clean and debris free (it should be already).

- Put a new oil filter on after dipping your finger in some oil and liberally coating the rubber O-ring gasket and threads of the new filter with oil. After tightening by hand tighten a bit more with the oil filter wrench but don't overdo it - it doesn't need to be too tight. Don't muscle this tightening (I generally only hand tighten oil filters but the owner's manual stated to tighten more than that so I did).

- Remove the oil filler cap (near the radiator) and fill the crankcase with fresh oil. The 5 quart container I mentioned will perfectly fill the crankcase despite what the spec says about 5.5 quarts capacity. Check it yourself with the dipstick when done.

- Take the used oil and filter to an auto parts store or other location that will recycle the oil. I usually save up several oil changes before doing this so it's no inconvenience.

* Notes

- I noticed on a recent 7K mile road trip (mostly freeways) that the oil life percentage left drops about 9-10 percent per 1K miles driven. I started that trip at 70% life and after 7K miles ended up at 5% left. This is just an anecdote and could vary with driving conditions.

- I noticed that on this vehicle changing oil time is about the same timeframe as rotating the tires time so I did that at the same time.

- As long as you'll have the passenger front tire off to do the tire rotation you'll have jacked up the car, which now provides wrench room to torque the oil drain pan bolt which is handy, and you'll see the oil filter is just conveniently sitting right there in the wheel well and s/b even easier to take off from here rather from underneath (where it's not really hard either). You may as well remove it from this position although I haven't tried it yet.

- If you'll be under the car when it's jacked up, such as I just suggested above, make sure you use a jackstand in addition to the jack for safety. This is important and take that from someone who had a car fall on them before due to a jack failure.

- Rotating tires - this is straightforward and easy to do yourself. It's handy to have 2 jacks when doing this but not necessary as long as you have a jackstand. I rotated by crossing the backs to the front and moving the fronts to the back on the same side - i.e. RR goes to LF, LR goes to RF, LF goes to LR, and RF goes to RR. Just check in the owner's manual if you're unclear on this. Torque the wheel nuts to 80 ft-lbs in a star pattern.

- While you're under the vehicle changing the oil look around and see if you see any kind of road damage or other issue like a missing nut, stray oil or grease, or something.

- While you're rotating your tires -
-- Check the brake pads to make sure there's plenty of life left in them. There's plenty on mine after 17K.
-- Check the tires for any nails or cuts. If there are nails in the tire you should take the tire to a tire shop/dealer before just pulling out the nail since pulling it out might cause a leak but you don't want to leave a nail in the tire.
-- Check the tires for small stones/gravel stuck in the tread. There's almost always some. I like to remove them using a small screwdriver to flick it out. It's debatable whether you really need to do this but it takes only a few seconds per tire to do.
-- Check the tires for even wear although it's normal for there to be a difference in wear between the backs and fronts. Uneven wear, ex: inside or outside of the tire more than the middle or vice versa or outside more than inside or vice versa can be indicative of other issues such as incorrect tire inflation, incorrect alignment, or a suspension or steering component issue.

When I change the oil myself I know exactly what was done. I know the filter was actually changed (an easy thing for an oil change place/dealer to skip) and exactly what oil was put in (something an oil change place/dealer can bait and switch or make a mistake on), and I know I torqued everything properly and put the oil filler cap back on - also something not always done correctly by others.

When I change the oil myself and rotate the tires myself it also gives me an opportunity to inspect the undercarriage of the car and the tires and know whether there are other problems or not.

* Summary
- It's easy to change the oil yourself on this vehicle - try it.
- The drain bolt is 17mm and has a crush washer. Torque is 29 ft-lbs.
- The oil filter can be removed with various wrenches including a 64mm/65mm end cap type with a nut as part of it for a wrench to get on.
- The system takes the Walmart available 5 quart container of Mobil 1 Extended Fuel Economy 0W-20 Full Synthetic perfectly.

- Tires are rotated by crossing (switching sides) the backs to the fronts and then moving the fronts to the backs on the same side.
- Wheel nut torque is 80 ft-lbs.
 

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Good information. Thanks!!! Sounds like a fun Saturday project.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
HOLY ****
No kidding. That happened when I was 16 and I still have the scars but luckily wasn't killed or seriously maimed (and that really was luck). On the positive side, I've been very careful ever since then and have had no more mishaps even though I've done quite a lot of work on cars over the years.
 

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Thanks for the detailed writeup. What about adding one of those drain valves in place of the drain plug?

No kidding. That happened when I was 16 and I still have the scars but luckily wasn't killed or seriously maimed (and that really was luck).
Glad that you lived to tell the tale ... but you haven't told it to us - yet!

I have been working on my own vehicles for 40 years (well, helping Dad for the first 10 of those 40), and have always had a healthy respect for just what can happen if you aren't careful. Who hasn't been laying under the car, banging away full tilt at something stuck, and not thought about what could happen if something slipped and the whole thing came crashing down on you. Reliable floor jacks, jack stands, wheel chocks, even a healthy block of oak placed in the right spot to catch the frame if the unthinkable happens ... all in the "better safe than sorry" dept.

Which reminds me - I haven't checked yet, what kind of jack do the models with a spare tire come with (one of those little screw-drive scissor jacks)?
 

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Happy to hear that you made it to tell the story..

Btw, I recommend pouring fresh oil into the new filter to get it ready for its job before installing onto the car. It helps by getting the filter to soak up the new oil.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
What about adding one of those drain valves in place of the drain plug?
Removing the whole drain plug ensures as much oil gets drained as possible - i.e. there's no lip that might exist in some valve plugs - plus there's nothing to fail and accidentally leak oil or worse, have a catastrophic failure and dump oil which would ruin the engine, although I don't know how often that might happen with the valves. It only takes a minute to remove and reinstall the drain bolt so I've just never bothered with installing a valve.

pouring fresh oil into the new filter
I'll do that sometimes if installing the filter - i.e. the angle of the filter and being able to get it to the install point doesn't cause oil to spill out but on many/most cars this doesn't work well since the oil will spill out as maneuvering the filter to install it. Theoretically it's not really needed - probably especially so with synthetic oil. On many cars it's simply not possible because the filter's at a 90 degree angle or something. The MDX is actually pretty vertical but you need to maneuver it a bit around frame members to get it to the right spot although installing from the wheel well might do the trick in this regard. There are cars I haven't done this on and the engines lasted for > 200K miles and these are engines on normal dino oil.

what kind of jack do the models with a spare tire come with (one of those little screw-drive scissor jacks)?
I haven't used the MDX jack yet but it's a scissor jack - much like the one that failed and dropped my car on me. For this job I used a couple of hydraulic floor jacks (and a jackstand). This scissor jack is adequate for changing a wheel since there's no need to put a body part under the car for that but if anyone plans to do more than that they need at least a jackstand or better yet, a hydraulic floor jack plus a jackstand or two.
 

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mdxstang, thanks for the writeup.

I do have a question though. Doesn't the 14 MDX require more than 5 quarts, something like 5.4 quarts or oil?
 

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I don't torque the drain plug. I tightened it by hand until I couldn't go further, and then I used a combination standard wrench (the hole end) to tighten it another 1/4 turn. You can feel the ring crushed.

To remove the oil filter without the mess, you can use ZipLoc Freezer bag, zip it and turn the oil filter loose. Don't remove it yet, just loose it enough that it won't drop to let the oil out. I only installed the oil filter and tightened by hand. Using mechanical to tighten it may crush the O-ring.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
^^ I torque the oil pan bolt mostly 'because I can' - i.e. it's easy enough to do on this vehicle and since it has a crush washer I want to make sure it's adequately crushed but not overdone. There's nothing wrong with actually doing it to spec. For most of my vehicles (none of which had crush washers) I tend to tighten it so it's snug but not overly tight.

The bag method on the oil filter can be used with various degrees of success in catching the spill. I actually used one this time but didn't catch much of the spillage and basically it wasn't worth the try. The time before this caught a bit more of the oil. It's certainly something one might want to at least try.

The oil filter I tightened mechanically but only slightly more than by hand and I did it because the owner's manual specifically stated to. My other vehicles I only tighten by hand. Again - it was easy enough to do what the manual stated but as I cautioned - people shouldn't overly tighten an oil filter.

Doesn't the 14 MDX require more than 5 quarts, something like 5.4 quarts or oil?
Yes, I mentioned this in the write-up. The manual states a capacity of 5.7 quarts (including filter) but these containers of Mobile 1, which state 5 quarts, fill the crankcase perfectly. I'm not sure of the discrepancy - if these containers actually have a bit more than the stated 5 quarts or if there's still somewhere close to .7 quarts retained in the engine on a drain (which seems like a bit much) - there's always still 'some' oil in an engine after a drain - i.e. it doesn't 'all' come out. But like I said, make sure you always double check the level on the dipstick after a change. I also double check the next day or so after an oil change.
 

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Great writeup! One question -- is there somewhere to reset the car to let it know the oil was changed or does it automatically sense the new oil?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
is there somewhere to reset the car to let it know the oil was changed
Yes - the reset of the 'oil life used' is done through the MID using the scroll wheel on the steering wheel. Like nzone said - it's in the owner's manual so see that as a reference.
 

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mdxstang, thanks for the writeup again.

I am considering doing this myself.

I do have to purchase a good amount of supplies to do this properly.

What do you suggest? I am thinking of purchasing:

2 pieces jack stands, 3 tons each
1.5 ton pump jack
2 wheel chocks
Torque wrenches (do I need 1/4" and 1/2"? i'd like to do the tire rotations as well)
oil drain pan

Beyond these, I will be purchasing some filters and washes off ebay for 5 dollars, along with the oil which costs 24 dollars in my area as well.

I will be doing my 2004 acura TL as well,probably the same oil, but at 5w 30.
 

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recipe7:

For this job you should only need -

An oil filter wrench that'll fit this tiny Honda oil filter. I used a cap wrench for it as I think I already described. This isn't expensive but take care that the one you get fits because there are many sizes of oil filters.

1 jackstand - (although I recommend getting 2 for future use with other procedures you might want to do once you get the other tools and maybe decide to do more things yourself) They're often sold in pairs anyway.

1 jack - I use a floor jack which is the easiest to use but isn't as portable so it's best if you have a garage you can keep it in. A bottle jack or other jacks, even the jack included with the vehicle (if you have the AWD) will work also but a floor jack is easier. I have a couple of floor jacks I use - one's a 3.5 ton and the other is a 2.25 ton one. If you're going to buy one I wouldn't go down as low a 1.5 ton.

2 wheel chocks

A 1/2" torque wrench. You s/b able to use this for both 1/2" and 3/8" applications (i.e. the sizes of the sockets that mate with socket wrenches). Make sure you have 1/2" to 3/8" adapter so you can use it with both 1/2" drive and 3/8" drive sockets.

A drain pan for the oil

A container to put the drained oil in that you'll eventually take with you to an auto parts store to recycle. You could use the 5 quart jug the new oil comes in, something close to a 5 gallon container to hold lots of oil but it'll be heavy and unwieldy, or what I've been using lately - old plastic kitty litter containers (i.e. what the Johnny Cat or whatever comes in) from back when I used to have a cat that hold several oil changes worth of oil and have a wide cap. It doesn't really matter what you use for this - just something convenient.

A big piece of cardboard (from an old box or something) to place under the vehicle that you'll set the oil drain pan on since you'll almost invariably have some spillage and it's better to get it on cardboard rather than the cement.

Disposable nitrile gloves to protect your hands from the oil and grease plus make cleanup of your hands easy. I like the heavy duty ones I got at an auto parts store.

A bunch of paper towels to help with the spillage - have them handy while you're under there with the drain bolt and oil filter.

The number one thing to do on this is to be safe. It's easy to be safe so it won't be a problem as long as you use common sense and don't try to take a shortcut. Make sure that whenever you raise a car and plan to put you body under it to always have two points of lift in case one fails - for example the jack and a jackstand.

This isn't a difficult job and I'm sure you'll be able to do it just fine.
 

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I see walmart carries two different 0-w20 in 5-qt containers, both Mobil1, one states Extended Fuel economy (27.97) gold cap and label, the other states Advanced fuel economy (22.66) green cap and label.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I see walmart carries two different 0-w20 in 5-qt containers, both Mobil1, one states Extended Fuel economy (27.97) gold cap and label, the other states Advanced fuel economy (22.66) green cap and label.
I think it's -
- Green cap/label - Advanced Fuel Economy
- Gold cap/label - Extended Performance

I use the 'Advanced Fuel Economy', i.e. green label, one.

It looks like the 'Extended Performance' oil's main feature is to be able to go to 15K miles between changes but there's no way I'd go that long in the first place and it'd be contrary to the stated maintenance schedule/requirements of the MDX anyway (where oil is changed much sooner than 15K miles) so I don't see any advantage.

The MDX owner's manual says that any API sealed 0W-20 oil is okay so that's not so stringent but they 'are' stringent on the point in when to replace the oil. I'd expect exceeding this change timeframe (i.e. change according to the MID) could void the engine warranty no matter how good the oil is.

Realistically, I wonder how much difference there really is in some of these or if it's mostly just the label/marketing with maybe some minor formulaic change if that.
 

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... The bag method on the oil filter can be used with various degrees of success in catching the spill. I actually used one this time but didn't catch much of the spillage and basically it wasn't worth the try. The time before this caught a bit more of the oil. It's certainly something one might want to at least try...
I hate the mess it makes when you remove the filter. I'm tempted use a sharp nail to punch a hole in the bottom of the filter and let the oil drain out before removing it next time.

EDIT: I was searching online for ideas and found this: http://www.griotsgarage.com/product/form-a-funnel.do?sortby=ourPicks. Sounds like a good idea to at least funnel the oil into a pan instead of all over the suspension arm. Has really good reviews on Amazon too ...
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I hate the mess it makes when you remove the filter. I'm tempted use a sharp nail to punch a hole in the bottom of the filter and let the oil drain out before removing it next time.
I resigned to myself long ago that oil changes on some vehicles will simply be a somewhat messy job with some vehicles being messier than others. The MDX is one of the messier ones due to the oil filter location. As long as you're expecting it, it's not so bad because you can make sure the ground is covered with cardboard and you have several paper towels right there ready to wipe up the frame members and your hand/arm as-needed.

I've seen some tools online that might make it less messy although I haven't used this particular one but it looks like it might be useful (I might get one and try it) -
Form-A-Funnel® Flexible Draining Tool

This is why regardless of what's being used it's a good idea to have a big piece of cardboard down under the oil pan and up against the passenger tire since that's the side the MDX oil filter is on. That and the paper towels, perhaps in conjunction with trying to use a plastic bag, or better yet, one of these flexible funnel tools, should make it at least a bit less messy and easier to clean up.
 

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funny thing is, on my 2nd gen I'd read online that the oil filter was "right there" when you turn the wheels all the way to the right but I thought "it can't be THAT accessible, I'd better put the truck on the lift"

Lo and behold, the filter really is right there, in fact it was probably tougher to get to the filter on the lift than it would have been on the ground with the wheels turned. You live and learn ...
 
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