Product Reviews

Best Oil Extractors: Skip the Mess

Oil extractor pumps are easy to understand. It doesn’t take much to get yourself in the right ballpark. Still, it helps to do a little bit of homework. It’s important to know what the basic functions of the different types are as well as what brands are worthy of your consideration in this segment. It’s also a good idea to always read the reviews of any product you’re considering to make sure that specific model is effective. I took those factors into account and balanced them with what I know to be important to the average DIYer when building the buying guide and list of recommendations.

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q: How do you empty an oil extractor?

A: It depends on the model. Some require the fluid to be poured out, others have a drain port, and some even pump it out. It’s worth reading into this detail before you buy to ensure you select a system you’re comfortable with.

What can I expect to pay for an oil extractor?

A: The majority of oil extractor pumps sell for around $50 to $100. Some cheap electric pumps list for even less. From personal experience, most of the good oil extractor pumps sell for around $85 to $100. That isn’t to say you won’t find anything good for less, though. If you’re willing to sacrifice additional features, you can pull in a reliable extractor pump for around $50. Of course, you still need to be careful and read the reviews to make sure you’re spending your money on a tool that’s worth your time.

What are the different types of oil extractors?

A: Manual: As the name suggests, manual pumps have you doing the work. That’s not to say they’re all the same, though. Some designs require you to pump the system to extract oil with each stroke, while others let a vacuum build up from pumping to do the work. Manual pumps may require user input that other designs do not, but that does come at an advantage. No dependence on external power sources means you’re free to use this style of pump in virtually any situation.

Pneumatic: Pneumatic oil extractors let compressed air do the work. That means you don’t need to work up a sweat to suck the oil out of the crankcase. Just set up the extractor with a few airlines, step back, and let it handle the situation for you. Obviously, these are great for shops already equipped with a good air compressor. Otherwise, the overall investment to make this type of oil extractor pump operational simply isn’t worth it.

Electrical: Electric pumps are an alternative many will consider. Rather than using manual input or compressed air to work, an electric motor is used to extract oil. Depending on the model you select, it can use 12-volt or 120-volt power. The obvious benefit is that they don’t require as much work from the user, nor do they depend on expensive equipment to function. However, they are limited in availability, and performance isn’t always the best.

Q: What happens if you overfill your engine’s oil?

A: Too much oil can lead to foaming. This inhibits the oil’s ability to function properly and can eventually lead to internal damage.

Q: Will an oil extractor pump hurt my engine?

A: No. An oil extractor pump will not hurt your engine. As long as you set it up and run it correctly, you won’t run into any issues.

Q. Where do I recycle my old oil?

A: Your local auto parts supplier that you buy oil from likely accepts oil for recycling. Big chain retailers are usually a safe bet that will save you the trouble of searching for a nearby oil bank.

Q: What are key features of oil extractors?

A: Portability: Portability and capacity go hand in hand. Oil extractor pumps are designed to make transport easy in some way. However, as the capacity increases, the size, and weight when full — if a reservoir is present — will increase. You want to make sure you consider your intended use and pick a model you can use without it being a hassle.

Spill prevention: Look for safety features to ensure that you have a clean extraction process. Features like a flow control valve and automatic shut-off for immediately stopping the flow of oil to prevent overflowing can save you a mess and potential injury. Another good feature is a suction pipe that directs the oil from the engine to the disposal container. This simple feature makes disposing of the extracted oil as easy as removing it from the crankcase.

Reservoir size: As mentioned before, size and reservoir capacity directly correlate. No matter the case, though, you must pick a reservoir that’ll hold the oil it’s pulling from the engine. Otherwise, you’ll have to stop and empty it out in the middle of a job. Most pump reservoirs can hold five to 10 liters of oil. You should pick a size that at least matches the oil capacity of your vehicle’s engine.


Read More Motor Oils & Fluids Product Reviews

Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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