Suzuki Swift Sport

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Description: The factory-recommended schedule for oil changes is every 15,000 km /12 months, or 7500 km /6 months for "severe" service. I've noted that my oil temperature does not reach 100°C

The factory-recommended schedule for oil changes is every 15,000 km /12 months, or 7500 km /6 months for "severe" service. I've noted that my oil temperature does not reach 100°C during my normal drive to work so I'm inclined to hedge more towards the "severe" interval, perhaps 10,000 km / 10 months.

I installed a 5W-30, the weight recommended by Suzuki for the Sport at all ambient temperatures in New Zealand.

I'm been sold on the use of full synthetic oils for about 15 years now and so changed the factory fill at only 3,000 km. Here are a few good choices of 5W-30 Group III full synthetic oils in New Zealand:

Castrol Edge Sport 5W-30 was my choice for the first oil change. It's made by BP Malaysia and Supercheap Auto has it on sale several times a year in a 5 liter container. Castrol Edge is understood to be a Group III synthetic, meaning it is made from ultra-refined mineral oil. It's worth noting that there are apparently three sources of Edge worldwide: Malaysia, North America, and the UK - all of which have slightly different technical specifications.

Fuchs Titan GT1 Pro Flex 5W-30. my choice for the 11,000 km oil change and sold at BNT in a 5 liter container. See pics of the bottle below. It does not say "full synthetic" on the bottle, I believe because it is a Group III and it must be Group IV to be legally called "full synthetic" in Germany.

Calibre 5W-30 Full Synthetic. my choice for the 30,000 km oil change, SuperCheap's house brand is actually Caltex Havoline, an oil with specs very similar to the other two. This is the cheapest oil of this standard per litre. The bottle however contains 5.5 litres (5 US quarts) which is of little use if you only need 4+1 litres, the last litre for top-ups during the change interval. For no other reason than the engine seemed to run a bit smoother, this oil is my favorite.

All these oils work perfectly well, just get the one that's on sale, or the one that has the most attractive packaging.

OEM oil filters are NZ$15 ea from the local Suzuki dealer - really the only sensible choice as we can't get the cool high-end filters like the PureOne or Mobil-1 in NZ. The filters I bought in Hawkes Bay are made in Austria and look to be of excellent quality. I prefer using the OEM filter as it precludes having to even consider if a common aftermarket filter is as good, to say nothing of avoiding questions should a warranty claim arise. Paying an extra $10 every 10,000 km represents just $0.001 of my total operating cost of about $0.398 per km.

1. A full synthetic will avoid the creation of varnish deposits in the cylinder head cam and cam cover area.

2. It will minimize creation of corrosive liquids in the oil as a result of the inevitable condensation and addition of water to the oil from short trips. Even my 22 km drive to work is a "short trip" in this context as the oil does not get hot enough to boil off the water.

3. When it comes to resale value, I've found that being able to show maintenance records to prospective buyers showing the use of a full synthetic is a deal-clincher. This is where you get your money back.

b) End-on style oil filter wrench (pic above) with suitable drive handle and 3" or 6" extension.

Note: To get a good angle for tightening the drain plug I highly recommend removing the right-front wheel. You need to lift the car anyway and it only adds three minutes to R&R the wheel, time you would waste anyway trying to tighten the drain plug properly. It's optional however if you are really lazy and there is clearly no need if you are using a vehicle lift.

1) Partially jack up the vehicle at the front-right factory jacking point. Loosen the right-front wheel lug nuts slightly while the wheel is still touching the ground. Jack up the vehicle further and place a jackstand under the frame box section behind the front wheel. Remove the lug nuts and the wheel.

2) Loosen the oil filter with the oil-filter wrench. Position your empty drain pan under the oil filter location, place a rag around the filter, spin it off and drop it in the pan. When the dripping is under control clean off the gasket contact surface and surrounding area.

3) Install the new filter pre-filled to the brim with oil. Be sure the rubber gasket is wet too. Tighten 3/4 turn after just barely touching the gasket. Best to mark the filter underside (e.g. with a dab of "white-out") so that you know exactly when you've completed 3/4 turn. You can (and should) do this by hand, but wear gloves for safety as there are sharp edges nearby. Don't be tempted to tighten it more because it "feels loose." For what it's worth the torque spec is 14 N-m or 10.5 lb-ft.

4) With the filter taken care of, next remove the engine sump drain plug with the box wrench and allow the oil to drain for at least 15 minutes into the pan (assuming oil is hot.) An hour is enough when it's cold.

5) The drain plug washer is made of soft aluminium. I suggest replacing it every 2-3 changes, purchase from the dealer. Tighten the plug by lying on the ground on the cars right side and reach directly underneath the right-front axle to get the proper angle with the box wrench. Don't overtighten it - you can feel when the washer starts to yield. The torque spec is 35 N-m or 25.5 lb-ft for what it's worth.

7) Fill engine with 3.75 L of new oil, replace the cap, start and allow the engine to idle for 3 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes and check the level. While you're waiting, crawl underneath check around the filter for leaks.

Add more oil as required to reach (or close to) the upper mark on the dip stick. The specified sump capacity (with filter) is 4.2 litres, again for whatever that's worth. I always check it again the next day after the car has sat overnight.

8) To save time at the next oil change use a felt-tip pen to mark the level of the remaining oil in the container (and on any further oil stock you have) so that the next time you will know exactly how much to install without experimenting.

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