How to change the oil in a

Mercedes Benz 190E (W201)

Change the oil in your Mercedes 190E!

Changing the engine oil on the Mercedes-Benz 190E is just enough different from most cars that those “10-Minute” oil change places are very apt to charge you more than the basic $24.95 to do it. You could also take your car to the Mercedes dealership, but I’m going to guess that it will be even more expensive than what you can do it at home for.


The M102 engine takes close enough to five quarts of oil that

that should be the size jug that you buy. There is usually a slight discount over buying individual 1 quart bottles and it will give you a convenient container to refill with the used oil to take back to the recycling center.

Check the back of your owners manual for the grade of oil appropriate for the season you will be driving in. I generally go with 10w-30 for late Fall into early Spring, 10w-40 for Spring


into Summer when I switch to the 20w-50

weight oil for hot weather driving.

The chart in the owners manual gives a temperature range for each recommended weight.


There are two unusual things in changing the oil in the M102 2.3 motor, the first is that the oil filter is not the traditional spin-on metal can that you may be familiar with. It is a paper element that goes into an aluminum housing at the back of the engine compartment. The other difference is that Mercedes has made an especially wide dipstick tube with the intention that you will be using a vacuum-type fluid extractor to remove the old oil.


This pair of quirks means that, not only can you change the oil without raising the car or getting under it, the factory actually recommends it.  There is a conventional drain bolt (13mm) on the bottom of the oil pan, and that is the method that the video shows because I am assuming that most people do not have specialized garage equipment like the vacuum extractor, but if you have one, it is actually much easier to do that way.


Whether you are going to drain the oil from underneath, or extract it through the dipstick tube, first drive the car for a distance long enough to bring the engine up to normal operating temperature. This will ensure that the oil will flow freely and you will get the maximum amount of dirty oil out. Park the car on a level surface and pop the hood.


I always recommend wearing protective gloves, and even safety glasses. Always use sturdy, undamaged jack stands when working under the car.


13 millimeter is the size tools you will need, a box-end wrench for the oil pan drain bolt and a socket-extender-ratchet combination for the oil filter housing bolt.

The oil filter will come with a new O-ring and a small crush washer for the center housing bolt.


A neat trick to help the oil flow out more easily is to loosen that filter housing cover just a little and remove the oil fill cap from the valve cover.This lets air flow easily behind the oil and speeds up the extraction process.





When should you change your oil? Mercedes recommends no more than 7500 miles between changes, with a small asterisk that under “severe operating conditions” that figure should be halved. Oil specifications have gotten much better in the decades since the 190E was being sold new, so there is some leeway in those figures.


I tend to change oil and filter somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 miles, which I think gives a buffer of safety if I have to run longer, say if I am in the middle of a long road trip.


I also skip using the synthetic oils. They are terrific, and often required on new engines with their tighter tolerances. I am sure they

do all sorts of marvelous things and last an extra long time. However, they cost a LOT more money up front than conventional oils, and they tend to flow a lot better too. That can be an issue if you have even the slightest leak, the more expensive oil is going to drip out and end up costing even more.


Random example, I recently got a 5-quart jug of conventional, national-brand-name oil for just under $18. The same size jug of a top synthetic brand was actually $42 at a popular auto parts chain store.


Forty. Two. Dollars.


That would more than double the cost of your DIY oil change. Which misses the point. You want to save money by servicing your car yourself.


Double check your work when you are done. If you have pulled the oil pan bolt, make sure it is seated tightly. Use the torque spec for the filter housing cover bolt. Check the dipstick one last time before starting the car up and be absolutely certain the oil fill cap is back on and tight. After starting the car up, make sure the oil pressure gauge responds and take a bright light to inspect both above and below the engine for leaks or drips.


 Take your used oil to the recycling center. They may have a special bin at the center for filters. and you can discard it correctly too.


Changing your oil can save money, time and give a level of satisfaction that helps you enjoy your 190E for Many More Mercedes Miles.


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