3.6L Pentastar V6 Oil Filter Housing Leak Guide

One of, if not the most common issue we see at our three stores is a leaking oil filter housing on the 3.6L Pentastar engine from Chrysler. Why is this one of the most common issues we see in our store? Well, it’s a very popular engine. Production started in 2010 and now there are over 10 million vehicles on the road with this engine. The Fiat Chrysler 3.6L V6 Pentastar engine is versatile, allowing it to be in sedans, pickup trucks, minivans, and SUVs. Common vehicles with this engine are the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Wrangler, Chrysler Pacifica, Grand Caravan, Town and Country, Dodge Journey, Durango, and Ram 1500-ProMaster. 

Diagnosing Oil Filter Housing Leaks

Our mechanics’ extensive experience with these engines means they can not only repair intricate engine problems but also diagnose them correctly. It takes a bit of time for the oil to accumulate enough to see the oil leaking onto the ground. Why is this? The oil filter housing sits in a valley towards the back passenger side of the engine. When the oil filter housing leaks there is plenty of room below the housing to collect the oil. So, it’s hard to determine if your oil filter housing is leaking by looking under the engine for oil. You will commonly see the oil pooling up visually with a flashlight.

Why Does the Oil Filter Housing Leak? 

Well, the oil filter housing used on the engine is made of plastic. This plastic sees a good amount of heat while the engine is running. But when the engine is off the housing is exposed to the atmospheric temperature. Over the years, that is a lot of thermal cycling on a piece of plastic. The housing is mounted onto the engine block which is made from cast aluminum. During thermal cycling, the plastic of the oil filter housing and the aluminum of the engine block expand and contract at different rates. The gasket between the two is asked to do a lot of work because the gap between the two pieces is ever-changing.

What Can Prevent the Engine Oil Filter Housing from Leaking? 

Unfortunately, it’s a design flaw that causes the oil filter housing to leak. So, nothing can be done to prevent the oil filter housing from leaking. However, when we replace your oil filter housing at Scott’s U-Save, we will not use the OE plastic housing but upgrade to an aluminum housing. The housing should have been aluminum from the start. Once the oil filter housing is replaced with an aluminum part we seldom see the housing leak again.

Regular Oil Changes

Since you can’t prevent the oil filter housing from leaking, you should regularly have your oil changed. This ensures a technician is consistently inspecting your vehicle. Or, you can regularly check your dipstick to make sure you’re not running the engine low on oil. The engine takes 0W20 oil. 0W20 oil only comes as synthetic oil. So, your common oil change interval is 5,000-6,000 miles.

Why is There so Much Labor to Replace an Oil Filter Housing on an Engine?

 On the engine, the oil filter housing is located under the intake manifold. So, this manifold must be removed to reach the oil filter housing. This not only includes the labor to remove the housing, but you will also need an intake gasket to be replaced. These gaskets are for one-time use. At Scott’s U-Save, we highly suggest doing a tune-up at the same time you do the oil filter housing. The reason is, that the spark plugs are also located under the intake manifold. If you’re already paying to take off the intake manifold, replace the gasket, and re-stall you should replace all wearable parts. This would be your spark plugs, possibly your ignition coils, and your spark plug boots. Any time we do a tune-up we highly recommend a fuel service be done at the same time. This will clean up the fuel lines, injectors, and the back of your engine valves.

What is the Typical Cost of Replacing the Engine Oil Filter Housing? 

We just discussed a few other parts that should be replaced at the same time. But, just replacing the oil filter housing with upgraded aluminum housing is around $800.

Get Your Oil Filter Housing Replaced at Scott’s U-Save!

The skilled and experienced technicians at Scott’s U-Save have replaced oil filter housings on countless 3.6L Pentastar engines. We have three locations in Steger IL, New Lenox IL, and Schererville IN. If your engine is leaking oil, give us a call or schedule an appointment today. 

Is a Coolant Flush Really Necessary? How Much Does it Cost?

When you think of regular vehicle maintenance, the first services that pop into your head are probably things like oil changes, tire rotations, brake services, and maybe alignments. Other than oil changes, all of these other services impact components of your car you can easily feel while you drive. Misaligned wheels or tires with excessive wear can drastically impact drivability. Brake problems can cause a lot of trouble, ranging from inconvenient to downright dangerous.

 

The services that don’t directly impact how your day-to-day drive feels are much more likely to be neglected, or even forgotten altogether. If you don’t notice any change, why go out of your way and spend money? It’s easy to fall into that mindset. However, neglecting any service can lead to catastrophe down the road. The absolute best way to ensure reliability is to perform ALL maintenance services at the correct intervals.

 

Enter the coolant flush. Unless you’ve blown a coolant line or replaced a leaking radiator, you might not give your coolant much thought. Coolant flushes are one of the easy-to-put-off services. If you don’t flush your cooling system, you probably won’t have any issues for many years, and if you do, you won’t notice any real difference when driving your car. However, neglecting coolant flushes can lead to some pretty serious problems down the road, potentially leading to some expensive repairs.

 

What is Coolant?

Coolant, or antifreeze, is a liquid that cycles through your engine block, radiator, and heater core, driven by the water pump. The entire cooling system is responsible for keeping your engine within safe operating temperature by removing access heat. The hot coolant then passes through the radiator and cools down. This process repeats itself the entire time your car is running.

Additionally, hot coolant passes through the heater core, which provides hot air in the cabin of your vehicle on cold mornings and winter days.

 

Up close of a black radiator

Why Are Regular Coolant Flushes Important?

Coolant flushes are about more than just replacing a liquid. The cooling system has many components, and the antifreeze helps protect them. Keeping all components in the cooling system like the water pump, thermostat, heater core, and hoses in good condition will prevent overheating and reduce the chance of an expensive repair.

Neglecting coolant flushes can lead to some serious issues:

 

1.) Scale and rust particles will build up in the cooling system over time. If you go too long without flushing your coolant, these particles can clog passages, potentially damaging your heater core or overheating your engine.

 

2.) Coolant contains anti-corrosive and lubricating additives that help prevent rusting and keep the water pump functioning well. Over time these additives lose their effectiveness, increasing the wear and tear on cooling system components through lack of lubrication and corrosive buildup.

 

3.) Antifreeze can become acidic as it ages, causing plastics, rubber hoses, and metal components to rapidly corrode. This process is called chemical electrolysis and can be catastrophic if left unaddressed.

 

In addition to preventing issues, a coolant flush is an opportunity to inspect the entire cooling system for issues. If contaminants like oil are present in the drained coolant, it can be indicative of other problems.

 

What’s Involved in a Coolant Flush?

Generally, this service is not much more involved than draining the antifreeze, adding new liquid, and purging air bubbles from the cooling system, sometimes called “burping”. Letting the vehicle run with the coolant cap off and the heater on high will allow any air pockets in the system, including the heater core, to escape. Air pockets will prevent proper cooling and may lead to overheating.

On vehicles with a lot of buildup and debris in the antifreeze, a coolant flush additive is sometimes used to get all the contaminants out. If the buildup is severe enough, components may need to be replaced.

 

How Much Does a Coolant Flush Cost?

The cost of a coolant flush depends on your vehicle’s coolant capacity, and whether or not you are flushing the system with chemicals or soap before refilling it. Typically, you can expect to pay between $100 and $150 for this service on most vehicles.

 

Coolant Flushes at Scott’s U-Save

As you can see, neglecting a coolant flush service is bad news. Staying on top of it, as well as other services like oil changes, brake service, and filter replacements, is the best way to keep your vehicle running reliably.

At Scott’s U-Save, we have teams of ASE-Certified technicians with the skills and experience needed to perform all services, including coolant flushes, on your car. We also offer an extensive tire catalog and aftermarket suspension, wheel, and off-road services. With three locations in Steger and New Lenox, Illinois as well as Schererville, Indiana, one of our shops is a short drive away. Give us a call or schedule an appointment online today!

Is High Mileage Oil Really Better?

A surefire way to get years of reliable transportation out of your car or truck is to follow a regular maintenance schedule. Coolant flushes, brakes service, alignments, and oil changes will keep your vehicle running strong as the miles rack up. Over time, age-related issues will inevitably creep up. Many engine oil manufacturers offer oils branded as “high mileage” which claim to benefit aged engines and keep them running stronger for longer.

For the average person, it can be hard to sift through the strong advertising and marketing for these products and determine if they provide any real benefit. This article will answer whether high mileage oil is better than regular engine oil on engines that have racked up the miles.

What Makes Engine Oil “High Mileage”?

Other than the differences between conventional, synthetic, and synthetic blends, engine oil is engine oil, right? Not exactly. There is a difference between standard motor oils and those engineered for high mileage engines.

Seal Conditioners

High mileage oils contain seal conditioners, which cause gaskets and seals on mating surfaces to swell. Swollen seals help reduce internal and external leaking.

Detergents

Detergents are touted as an additive that manufacturers claim removes sludge and other buildups. These additives can also assist in improving lubrication between components inside the motor.

Benefits of High Mileage Oil

Using high mileage oil can have several legitimate benefits for your engine.

Cleaner Engine 

The additives in high mileage oil can reduce or remove buildup in your motor, allowing it to run better.

Less Oil Consumption

Older engines frequently consume oil. An engine running with low oil puts excess wear and tear on components. Low oil can also lead to engine failure. Reduced leaking from seals refreshed by conditioner additives can help lower oil consumption.

Better Lubrication 

High mileage oil will provide better lubrication to the rotating parts in your engine. Additives in the oil fill in grooves and divots invisible to the eye, reducing friction and heat. Ultimately, high mileage oil can help protect your engine from age-related wear and tear.

What’s Considered a High Mileage Car?

Oil manufacturers target high mileage oil to vehicles with over 75,000 miles. It’s true that many of the issues these oils attempt to mitigate occur around this mileage, but other factors impact the wear and tear on an engine. It’s important to take into consideration the maintenance history of your vehicle and your driving style.

City and Highway Driving

Generally, highway driving is less abusive on engines than city driving. Driving on the highway lets the engine get up to temperature and operate most efficiently and involves far less starting and stopping.

Service History

Another factor that contributes to engine wear is how well it’s been taken care of. A vehicle that has regular services like oil changes and coolant flushes done at regular intervals will hold up better to years of driving.

Vehicle Age

We are not talking about mileage here. Some cars spend a lot of their lives sitting and get very few miles put on them every year. Even without the wear and tear of regular operation, a sitting engine can begin to leak and have other age-related issues.

Should I Use High Mileage Oil?

Making the transition to high mileage oil can have some positive effects on your vehicle. Most high mileage oils are aimed at vehicles with over 75000 miles. Many of the issues high mileage oil helps to address do not become present in lower mileage cars.

The 75,000-mile mark is not set in stone. As we discussed above, other factors can impact an engine. If you start and stop a lot when you drive, switching to high mileage oil earlier could be beneficial. On the flip side, if your daily commute is mostly on the freeway and you’re a stickler for maintenance, you may not need to switch until far beyond 75,000 miles.

High Mileage Oil Won’t Fix Actual Mechanical Problems

High mileage oils are not fix-all’s. If you have serious mechanical issues with your car, switching to a different type of oil will not solve the problem. Think of it as a preventative measure, like taking a vitamin. Using high mileage oil will slow the progression of age-related issues, which can aid in preventing more serious problems. If your car has any serious issues, bringing it to a trusted repair shop is the only way to get it fixed properly.

Get Your Oil Changes at Scott’s U-Save!

Switching to a high mileage oil can help protect your older engine and keep it running well. No matter the age or mileage of your vehicle, regular oil changes are essential to keeping your engine healthy. If it’s time for your next oil change, schedule an appointment at Scott’s U-Save! We have three locations in Schererville IN, Steger, and New Lenox IL. Give us a call or schedule an appointment online today!