DIY Cadillac oil change

2009 oil filter for 3.6L

Cartridge oil filter for 3.6L

I just got finished another DIY Cadillac oil change on my 2009 SRX. This article contains details about the tools and parts needed to perform the operation. First a little more researched information about this really common engine. The GM 3.6 L all aluminum V-6 is the standard power in a lot of different models. It can also be found in the Camaro. This is an impressive light weight V-6 that back in 2009 produced 304 hp. When I stopped into the Cadillac dealer to pick up a PF2129 oil filter I looked at a few of the 2013 models including the new XLS.

All of the new cars on the lot had the standard engine listed as the 3.6 L. Last year and the year before that, you would find a 3.4 L version of this engine as standard equipment. I’m not sure what happened to the 3.4L or why it’s not standard? That will be in a future article as it will take some research. But I was glad to see that they consider the 3.6 L still to be a good choice as a standard engine after all these years.

Before I move on to the details of my DIY Cadillac oil change I should mention that the 2013 Cadillac with the standard engine is expected to get an average fuel economy of 21 MPG. When I bought mine the window sticker said the average miles per gallon would be around 17. This is a fairly healthy increase in miles per gallon while at the same time boosting horsepower to 318. You got to love when new technology is able to squeeze better efficiency and more power out of this all aluminum V-6 at the same time.

The oil filter for my at-home oil change

close up of cartridge oil filter

Delco PF2129 Cartridge

People who know me would not be surprised to see me go to the dealership to purchase a factory version of the cartridge type oil filter that the 2009 SRX uses. The Cadillac dealer is not that close to my house and it is quite a ride, but to me the quality of the part is noticeable and let me tell you why.

When I went to the local advanced auto parts the only filter they had in stock was by Fram which is a made in China parts company I believe. Anyway the filter said made in China on it for sure. When I picked it up it felt extremely light and poor quality as compared to the Delco filter that I installed last time. So I went to the dealership and purchased what is by far a better quality part. The filter paper is thicker and heavier and has more pleats than the Fram model. Also the end caps that fit over the filter paper was a heavy gauge metal instead of a thin tin like material.

To be honest with you I really don’t know if there is any difference in the filtration quality of these two parts. What I’m basically saying is I took a ride to get what I believed a better quality part but in actuality I don’t know if there’s any difference in how these parts actually filter out debris and particles from the oil which is their job.

Cartridge type oil filters

spin on filter

Spin on filter

I was never a big fan of cartridge type oil filters. For those that are not familiar with them it’s basically a paper element with metal end caps and some O-rings that fits down inside of a housing. Most people know the spin on type oil filters which are extremely convenient for DIY oil changes in the driveway. The cartridge is just the element inside of a spin on.

I do not know which type of filter provides better filtration and I really don’t think the factories do either. General Motors has flip-flopped on the cartridge type oil filter. Every couple of years they switch back to them and then a few years later switch back to the spin on type oil filters. When I was looking through the application book at the advanced auto parts I noticed that the 3.6 L has been at the center of this flip-flop. You really need to look it up by year make and model.

The first time I ever saw the cartridge type used often was by Mercedes-Benz and BMW. There are years of these German cars that also went with a spin on filter but it seems to me more often than not when I see a high mileage German car it has a cartridge type oil filter. The Germans are known for their automotive engineering and their long-lasting engines. I’m hoping that my 3.6 L Cadillac will enjoy the same longevity as one of these old Mercedes turbo diesel’s that can post 500,000 miles on it. Well they both have cartridge filters.

DIY oil change tips and specifications

The drain plug size on the 3.6L engine is a standard 15mm. This has been the go to size for a long time and not just for Cadillac oil changes. I wrote an article about oil drain plug problems that is helpful and you can also get new plugs if yours is worn out. If you have a cartridge type filter you will need a 15/16 socket (3/8 drive is preferred) to unscrew the housing cover. Most often this size socket is found in half inch drive. With a very light torque spec on the cover you don’t need a half inch drive. It’s to tempting to over tighten this part already.

Mobile 1 5w-30 synthetic oil

Mobile 1 5w-30 synthetic oil

I found the Fram filter for about 12 or $13 where the Delco factory filter pf2129 was $14 from the dealership parts counter. The problem with changing the engine oil on a 3.6 L Cadillac is that the oil that is required is Mobil 1 5W 30 full synthetic oil. I shopped around for this and I could not find it any cheaper than at the local Wal-Mart and even still 6 quarts of this stuff is about $40.

This will bring the total of my do-it-yourself oil change into the $55 range. Remember since the full synthetic oil has extended life this might be a once a year service. It depends on how much you drive if I went into the Cadillac dealership and had them change the oil it would probably only cost about $20 more and they would get rid of the waste oil for me instead of me lugging it back to the advanced auto parts for proper disposal.

But for me it’s not that I wanted to lay in my driveway on a Saturday. It was the fact that there is no one I trust to do the oil change in my town. True that I am a certified master technician and I am somewhat jaded about other mechanics touching my automobile. But what I really wanted to avoid was the service adviser coming up to me and telling me that I needed a throttle body service, environmental service, front and rear brakes and a power steering flush when I don’t need any of those things. So in order to avoid all of that aggravation it’s just better for me if I do it in the driveway. In fact I think that would make a good bumper sticker “just do it in the driveway”.


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