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RV Oil and Filter Changes

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 – Good Sam Extended Service Plan

Changing the engine oil and filter of your RV is one of the most important maintenance procedures to prolong the life of an RV engine, is also easy and inexpensive to do in your own backyard.

Use only top-quality oil and filters; bargain-basement lubricants may do more harm than good in the long run. Use only SH- or SJ- rated oils for gas engines and CG4- rated oils for diesels.

Follow the manufacturer’s viscosity recommendations for the ambient outdoor temperatures you expect to encounter. Generally, for gasoline engines, 20W-50 works well for summer use and 10W-30 for cold (consistently below 32° F) winter driving. If you have a diesel engine, carefully check the oil requirements. Most heavy-duty diesels require a 15W-40 viscosity rating meeting the CG4 standards, while lesser-duty types may have different requirements.

Engine oil and filter changes can be accomplished by the following simple steps:

1. Check the owner’s manual for the engine oil capacity with a filter change. Purchase the correct quantity of oil and the correct oil filter for the engine.

2. Operate the engine until it is fully warmed. It will require seven to ten miles of driving to fully warm the engine.

3. With a proper-fitting wrench or socket, loosen the drain plug in the oil pan.

4. Drain the oil into a suitable container for proper disposal. Used oil is accepted at most service stations for recycling.

5. While the oil is draining, remove the oil filter with a filter wrench.

6. Clean the oil filter base on the engine block with a rag. Make sure that the oil filter’s O-ring gasket came off with the old filter and did not stick to the filter base on the engine.

7. Wipe a thin film of clean oil on the gasket of the new filter and screw it into place. Fill the oil filter with fresh oil first if it mounts vertically to the engine, and hand tighten with a three-quarter turn after the gasket contacts the filter base.

8. Next, replace the drain plug in the oil pan and tighten snugly.

9. Fill the crankcase with the proper amount of oil and replace the fill cap.

10. Start the engine. Watch the oil-pressure gauge or light: If pressure is not attained after fifteen to twenty seconds, shut off the engine before damage can be done. If pressure does not build, check for leakage. It is rare that the oil pressure fails to return to normal after an oil change, but if it does fail, have a professional check the system before running the engine.

11. Once the oil pressure is confirmed, check for any external leaks around the drain plug and filter gasket while the engine is running to assure that the job is leak-free.

12. Repeat this oil-changing routine every 3,000 miles or according to the schedule in your owner’s manual for severe service.


Livingston , B. (2002). RV repair & maintenance manual . (4th ed.). Ripon Printers

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