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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Change your car's oil without jacking it up or removing the plug

I've started doing my own oil changes on the Gadgetmobile (MINI Cooper) and to make things easier, I installed a Fumoto valve. The Fumoto valve replaces your oil plug and makes it easy to drain your oil. It has a spring-loaded lever that opens easily to drain the oil. This means you don't have to remove the oil plug or replace any washers or gaskets, and you eliminate the risk of cross threading the oil pan when you replace your plug. You still have to jack up the car to throw the lever, then drain the oil into a pan like you normally would. Still, it does save some time. Here's a really cheesy "infomercial" that shows how the Fumoto valve works (called the Qwik Valve in the video).

But what if you could change your oil without jacking it up or messing with the oil plug at all? Is that even possible? With help from this gadget, it is.

583110liquivac_banner1.pngThe LiquiVac Oil Change System is basically an oil vacuum. Just pump the hand pump 40 times and insert a small hose into the oil stick shaft, all the way to the oil pan, to remove the oil with very little mess and without getting under the car. This is only true, however, if your oil filter is accessible from the engine bay so make sure you can get to your oil filter before buying. According to the manufacturer, the pump removes the oil from an average car or truck in about eight minutes.

This looks like a good solution but it's not going to be as mess-free as it looks. When you remove the oil filter it typically will be holding a lot of oil, so you still need to slide a pan or some newspapers beneath the car. You'll also need a small pan in which to dump the oil that comes out of the filter. A disposable cup might work and then you can dump the oil into the LiquiVac.

This system has some definite advantages because most of the oil goes directly into a sealable container, ready for transport to an oil recycling center. The 8-quart tank is large enough for most cars and trucks, and you also can use it for motorcycles, lawn equipment and boats. A smaller, 3-quart version is available too if you want a separate one for your lawn equipment.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 17, 2011 1:20pm]

    

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