2010 GMC Terrain Long-Term Road Test


2010 GMC Terrain: "Top Kill" DIY Oil Change Video

October 08, 2010

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In our last episode, Blackstone Laboratories suggested we change the oil now rather than wait until the oil life monitor told us to. Why? Our 2010 GMC Terrain is still new-ish, and Blackstone saw a few more residual break-in metals than they'd like to see in a sample of our current oil.

That gave me an excuse to try something I'd had in mind for a while: a stand-up or, as I like to call it, a "Top Kill" oil change. Instead of diving deep under the sea car, I'm going to do the whole job topside, from right under the hood.

This works because the GMC Terrain's 2.4-liter Ecotec engine has a cartridge-style oil filter. On top of that, Edmunds co-conspirator Phil Reed lent me his vacuum oil extractor.

Follow the jump to see a video of the process.

Here are a few "DVD extras" for our regular readers.

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The vacuum pump in question is made by Moeller. I decided not to add the smallest of the three interconnecting hoses, even though it would have made it possible to set the unit on the ground instead of a stool, because I was going for maximum oil flow.

I'm pretty sure that I got all of the oil out, too, because the manual says it takes 5 quarts to fill the Ecotec after an oil change, and that's exactly what it took to reach the "full" mark on the dipstick. I had a similar experience a couple of weeks ago when I used my wife's minivan as a guinea pig.

After it starts sucking air, you may have to push and pull the tube in and out and move it around like a kid trying to get every last drop of a milkshake, but it's not difficult. It does take a bit more time than draining it out the bottom, but it's a thousand percent cleaner.

Finally, Blackstone says there's no reason to fear chunks or other solids sitting in the bottom of the pan. The detergent in the oil (represented by the TBN number we discussed last time) keeps such particles in suspension. The big ones get trapped in the filter and they say the smaller ones don't settle out for many hours -- a day or more.

But a vacuum pump doesn't make sense if you have to jack up your car and crawl under to get the oil filter off -- you may as well drain it out the bottom at that point.

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The oil filter is a pretty simple device. The orange o-ring on the cartridge cap is a new one that came in the box with the new filter.

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My local Pep Boys had this 32mm catridge filter socket in the same aisle as the oil filters and other kinds of filter wrenches for $9.99. There was at least one other size, so you might want to measure if you have this kind of filter on some other kind of car.

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No "Top Kill" procedure would be complete without a little BP oil down below.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 16,903 miles

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2010 GMC Terrain in VA is:

$113 per month*
* Explanation
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