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Back when we were searching for the right RV for us we found ourselves torn between Diesel vs. Gas. While diesel RV’s are built to last longer, handle inclines better, and be more efficient, they also cost more and come with heftier repair and maintenance bills. With this being our first RV and not knowing exactly how long we would travel, or if we would even like the lifestyle, we decided Gas would be the best option for us.
One of the main reasons we went with a Gas RV was because routine maintenance would be less expensive, and I would be able to perform some of those tasks myself, such as changing the oil and air filter.
How to change the oil in a gas RV
Today we’re going to discuss my first attempt to change the oil in a gas RV, and let me tell you, if you’re nervous about doing this for the first time in your rig, don’t be. It’s a total of 10 easy steps, I’ll walk you through them below.
I hadn’t changed the oil in a vehicle since I was 16 years old. Not only had it been a while, but the vehicle I changed the oil on last was a 1991 Firebird, quite a bit different than an RV. Needless to say, my nerves were tearing me up about getting under our home.
While I had reservations about the differences between the two vehicles, I soon realized changing the oil is pretty much the exact same.
The oil filter, oil, and oil filter wrench will depend on what your engine requires. Make sure to do your research to determine which filter, oil, and wrench you’ll need. We have a 2008 Tiffin Allegro Open Road which has a Vortec 8100 General Motors Engine.
- 7099 Oil Filter
- 5W 30 Semi-Synthetic Motor Oil (I used Napa oil, which is manufactured by Valvoline)
- Oil Drain Pan
- Vise Grips
- Wrench Set/Socket Set
- Oil Filter Wrench
- Scott’s Shop Towels
- Fumoto Oil Drain Valve (I did not add this but will be next time I change my oil, I’ve heard great things)
Watch the video: How to change the oil in a gas RV
In the video below I walk through the steps taken to change the oil in our gas RV:
- Make sure your rig is level
- Let your engine run between 5-10 minutes (turn off when the time has passed)
- Remove drain plug (be careful as the oil may be hot)
- Replace drain plug
- Remove the old oil filter
- Rub a little oil on the rubber gasket on the new oil filter
- Screw new oil filter in place
- Put new oil into the engine
- Run engine 5 minutes
- Check oil levels and add more oil if needed
Now that we have a quick step list let’s dive in a little deeper with each one.
Step 1: Make Sure Your Rig Is Level
The first thing you’ll want to do before changing your oil is to make sure your rig and engine are level. There are a couple of reasons to do this. The first is to ensure the old oil will completely drain from your oil reservoir. The second is to make sure when you check your engine oil levels you’ll get an accurate reading.
Step 2: Turn On Your Engine
Now that you’ve leveled out your engine and rig you’ll want to turn it on for a few minutes. I let mine run for about 10 minutes before I cut it off.
The main reason you’ll want to run your engine is to heat the oil up. By heating it up it’ll thin out the oil, in turn helping it drain smoother and quicker.
Quick Tip – Before I started the oil change process under the RV I made sure I had all of my supplies close to where I’d be working underneath. That way I didn’t need to continuously climb out from under the RV.
Step 3: Remove Your Drain Plug
Now it’s time to get underneath your rig and begin the oil changing process. I changed my oil on grass and had a couple of pieces of plywood lying around so I created a solid surface with them under the rig. When the plywood was in place I covered it with an 8X10 tarp. This helped with making cleanup easier and making sure no oil leaked on the ground.
Tip: Remove oil fill cap before you drain the oil. Before I went about changing the oil in our gas RV I did a ton of research, one of the most helpful videos I found was by Trek With Us. He gave a great tip, which was before you remove your drain plug you should remove the cap where you put oil in the engine. This will help create a faster flow when draining the oil. This tip worked great for me as my oil drained.
Next, you’ll want to make sure your drain pan is in place so the oil has a place to go.
Now that everything is where it needs to be, let’s remove your drain plug.
This was difficult for me, as you may have seen in the video above.
I wasn’t able to find a socket or wrench that would fit my drain plug. Come to find out, the head of my drain plug bolt was stripped so my sockets and wrenches wouldn’t turn without slipping. That’s when I grabbed my Dad’s vise grips.
Once I was able to clamp down with the vise grips the plug unscrewed easily and the oil started flowing.
Tip From a Reader: After I posted the video on our YouTube Channel I had a viewer leave me a comment about these Fumoto Oil Drain Valves, which I’d never heard of. But after looking into them I think I’ll be installing one the next time I change my oil.
Step 4: Replace Your Drain Plug
Now we sit back and give the oil time to drain. I gave mine about 20 minutes until it was barely dripping, then cleaned off the drain plug and twisted it back into position.
After the drain plug was back in place, I wiped down the area around it to clean up any oil that may have splashed on the oil reservoir with the shop towels.
I then moved the drain pan underneath where my oil filter was located. I’d seen in the videos I’d watched how much oil spills out when you unscrew the oil filter.
Step 5: Remove Old Oil Filter
Your drain plug is back in position and the drain pan is under the oil filter, so it’s time to unscrew it.
I’d heard that many people were able to remove and install their oil filters by hand. So while I’d purchased an oil filter wrench I wanted to try by hand first. Turns out I was able to remove the old oil filter by hand, though I do want to say it was in there pretty tight. So use your best judgment for how you handle this step.
Go ahead and unscrew the oil filter with your hand or oil filter wrench.
I hadn’t given much thought to where to put the old oil filter so I ended up placing it in the oil pan with the old oil while I moved on to the next step.
Step 6: Rub Oil Onto New Oil Filter Gasket
With your old oil filter put to the side grab your new filter. In order to help create a better seal between your oil filter and the engine, you’ll want to cover the rubber gasket on the top with oil.
In the video, you’ll note I used the old oil from my drain pan because the oil you’re putting on the rubber gasket isn’t going to be entering your engine. However, next time I’ll use new oil, the main reason being that it isn’t any more difficult to use new oil and why not. It’s up to you which way to go, but I believe either way works just fine.
Step 7: Screw New Oil Filter In Place
With the oil on the rubber gasket reach up and screw the new oil filter in place. I hand tightened my oil filter considering I was able to loosen it by hand. But if you’d rather, you can use the oil filter wrench to tighten it down.
Step 8: Put New Oil In Engine
Not too bad so far right? The hardest parts are behind us at this point.
The new oil filter is in place and the old oil has been drained, onto putting the new oil in. Our engine required 6.4 quarts of oil, so I went to the front of the engine where I’d removed the oil fill cap earlier. I grabbed the funnel and began pouring in my new quarts.
With all the new oil in, replace the cap.
Step 9: Run Engine 5 Minutes
Startup your engine and let it run for 5 to 10 minutes. This will allow for the oil to circulate through the engine and into the oil filter. The trick here is that the oil filter actually holds a decent amount of oil, not a crazy amount but enough. I’ve read it can hold anywhere between 1/4 of a quart to 1/2 a quart. With this being the case it’s important to let it fill up so you can move onto the next step.
Step 10: Check Engine Oil Levels
Next to your oil fill cap, there should be a dipstick that is labeled with either an oilcan symbol, the words oil dipstick, or engine oil (our’s is yellow).
Pull the dipstick from the engine, and use your towels to wipe off any oil, then put the dipstick back in. After making sure it’s all the way back in you’ll want to remove it again and read the gauge on the end. You’re trying to make sure the oil is in the operating range. If you find it’s toward the lower end of the operating range I’d go ahead and add a bit more oil.
Disposing of the Old Oil and Oil Filter
Now that you’re done changing your RV’s oil you’ll realize you have roughly 6 quarts of old oil and a dirty filter to deal with. Luckily for us, we had people nearby that could reuse the oil.
O’Reilly Auto Parts will take your old oil and oil filter and recycle it free of charge. It’s important to note that you’ll need to let your old oil filter drain for 12 to 24 hours before taking it to them. Also, it may be a bit difficult to transport the old oil in the drain pan, what I did was dump all of the old oil into the empty oil canisters I had leftover from the new oil I’d just put into the engine.
I’m not sure if Autozone or Advanced Autoparts offers a similar service but you may want to give them a call if you don’t have an O’Reilly Auto Parts nearby.
Anyway, that about wraps it up for how we went about changing the oil in our gas RV for the first time. It really wasn’t that difficult right? Basically, if you can change the oil in a vehicle, you can change it in a gas RV.
I hope this helped answer any questions you may have if you plan to change the oil in a gas RV. If you have any suggestions for how I could do things better, or tips that could be helpful I’d love to hear them in the comments section below.
When you remove the old filter check that the gasket came off with the filter. If not you may have to scrape it off carefully so you don’t scratch the surface the gasket sits on.
I use my drain oil in my chainsaw for chain lube oil.
Hey Paul, thank you so much for the tip! I didn’t even think to make sure the old gasket came off with the filter, I’ll make sure to check that every time in the future.
I’m a full-time rver. The dilemma I have is where to change my oil. RV parks generally have rules against working on your RV. Any suggestions?
Hey Ron, that is a great question and to be honest with you I’ve been fortunate enough to be on private property every time I’ve needed to change my oil. Though I think if I hadn’t have been so lucky I would’ve maybe called ahead to like a Loves or Flying J or the RV park I’m heading to and ask if I could do it there in the parking lot. If I were to take that approach I would explain to them that I have a tarp in order to keep everything clean and that I have a plan to dispose of the old oil. I’m not entirely certain that approach would work as I haven’t tried it but that’s probably where I’d start. Anyway, I hope that helps and I’m sorry I don’t have a better answer.
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