Insight oil change, no ramps needed.

Discussion in 'General' started by highwater, Aug 20, 2006.

  1. highwater

    highwater Well-Known Member

    Many times a new Insighter will ask about changing the oil: What oil to use, which is the best filter, do you have to jack it up…etc. It seems that the advise given always included the purchase of some ramps to get the front end up off the ground. Since day one, I have never used ramps when changing the oil in the Insight. Of course this is if you do your own oil changes. Here’s my method….

    I took a one gallon metal paint thinner can, the squareish one, laid it on one of its largest sides, where the screw cap would be up, and cut out the side. This will create a pan that is approximately 3 inches deep, with a handle now on the end, will slide right under the Insight, and hold almost twice the volume of the Insight oil capacity. After cutting out the side with snips, it is necessary to bend the edges over to the inside all the way around the top. This creates a blunt edge and can be done with pliers very easily. After getting the edge rolled to the inside with the pliers, it works very well to hold the can edges flat against a vise or anvil and hammer the rolled in edges flat. This will flatten out any burrs.


    With the Insight level on the ground, I can reach all the needed fasteners on the front underbody panels for removal. My arms may be a bit longer than most, but I still have some bend in them even when reaching the farthest back. With the panels removed, slide the shallow pan under the Insight, to the general location of the drain. Now get up off the ground, and with the hood open, reach down behind the ICE and position the pan exactly where needed. You can drain the oil from the top side. It is so easy to reach the plug from up above. A correctly sized socket/ratchet/short extension may be the easiest, from the top side. (When working with the oil pan on the Insight, extreme care should be taken with the drain plug, The engine pan on the Insight is Magnesium and the threads will strip out very easily if over torqued. Read the owners manual for the specs.) After the oil has drained, and plug replaced (it is generally advised to replace the crush washer also), just slide the pan forward a bit and position it under the oil filter. Back on the ground for the filter change. It is visible from underneath, on the front side of the engine. Very easy to see and get to.


    Only one hose and one reflection:D .​

    I have added the Fram SureDrain valve to my list of mods. There are a couple of advantages to a device such as this. It does away with the plug, thereby eliminating most all the concern about stripping the plug threads. No more crush washers either:D . It has a hose attached to the part that screws on when draining the oil, so the oil is directed right into the catch pan. Very clean. It comes with a cover cap that screws on to protect the threads from damage and dust. Once this device is in place, there is no need for wrenches. The cap and the drain hose are put on and taken off my hand. The drain hose when threaded on, has a plunger that activates the valve to allow the oil to drain. Gently threading it on will get the oil to drain. It doesn’t have to be tightened down at all. Once the dust cap is put on, it compresses an o-ring for sealing and this holds it secure. Don’t use any wrenches to tighten the dust cap. Hand tight only. You’ll feel it bottom out.


    Installed SureDrain.​

    There is another oil drain valve available that looks to be very well made, although I don’t remember the name at this time. An internet search will cough it up. I found the Fram at a local auto parts for ~10USD, so I went with it.

  2. ecopreneur

    ecopreneur New Member

    Thanks for a great post!

    I have always changed the oil on my other vehicles without a ramp.

    I was wondering will the oil drain properly on my insight if I pull the front wheels up on a ramp to reach the plug easier since the plug is on the rear side of the engine. Also the owners manual (I am a new owner) states oil changes every 7500 miles or 12 months. Seems like a long time between changes (the 12 months). Any recommendations appreciated.

    I will try your technique on the oil change when I have installed the fumoto valve in lieu of the existing drain plug.
  3. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member

    Somehow I have this image of you with tentacles... ;)

    Seriously, I'll tip my hat to anyone who sets their mind to accomplish a difficult feat, and this is in that category. But:

    Isn't ground clearance about the same as the Civic?? Just think how much easier this would be if you did run it up on ramps, or raise it and set on jackstands (my preference). You'll have agoraphobia, it'll be so roomy. And you'll be able to have a decent look at the drive boots, check for leaks, and so on.

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