Car hood won't open--can I still get an oil change?

I have a 2009 Nissan cube. It was recently in an accident that left the hood unable to be raised. I’m overdue for an oil change and would like to get that done soon. I won’t be able to leave my car at a bodyshop for 1+ week until January, so I’m curious if I can take the car to a regular auto place (not a Jiffylube type) and get the oil changed.

I know the basics of the oil change process and it doesn’t seem like they would NEED to open the hood for anything other than checking levels, but I’m not sure.

The new oil goes into the top of the engine, so yes, they’ll need to open the hood.

I’m no expert, but I believe that while they can drain the oil from beneath the vehicle, they have to refill it from the top (i.e., open the hood)

ETA: What Steronz said.

They probably won’t take you in. Accessing the fill spout pretty much takes raising the hood. That said, why bother? You aren’t going to put that many more miles on the car in a month. Unless you are low on oil, put off the oil change until after you get the car back from the shop.

How overdue? A 2009 Nissan is not going to need an oil change every 3k.

Since you’re probably going to replace that hood anyway, they could just take a can opener to it in the vicinity of the fill spout.

When you say ‘due for an oil change’ are you going by miles, date, indicator, what? It may not be critical you get one immediately but can wait a short period until the hood repair has been completed.

About 9 months and 2000 over the mileage my regular place put on the sticker.

So you’re probably at 5000. I just looked up the service manual. For schedule 2 (less severe operating conditions), the schedule is every 7500 miles or 6 months, whichever comes first.

Technically you’re over the 6 month recommendation, but if it was me, I wouldn’t sweat it.


This. Don’t worry about whatever mileage your oil change place puts on a windshield sticker for you; they’d be happy to have you change your oil every 1000 miles if they thought you’d go for it. Stick with what the owner’s manual says; the manufacturer (the people who wrote that owner’s manual) wants you to have a satisfying ownership experience, and that means a long life and a minimal cost of ownership, so they write the oil change interval spec accordingly.

Furthermore, understand that even their spec has a pretty fat margin of safety, i.e. the oil can last for quite a bit longer than the specified change interval before you really start worrying about its ability to protect your engine parts. For example, if the spec is 7500 miles, you may actually be able to go to twice that before the oil is well and truly done; I know people who have sent samples of their used oil in for analysis (see for example Blackstone Labs), and they have confirmed that the oil was still usable at that point. Not every vehicle maintenance schedule is so conservative with regard to oil life, but they’ve all got a generous margin. Bottom line, if you’re only at 5000, then don’t worry about getting the oil changed before it’s convenient for you.

Doesn’t the body shop have a loaner you can use? Or does your insurance (or the other party’s insurance if someone hit you) not cover a rental?

Take it in for a service. They know how to open bonnets… even bent ones.
Should they give you a bill for work to open the bonnet, thats probably covered by the insurance claim… ?

Closing bent hoods can be quite a bit trickier, and the OP would be in the awkward position of having her car stranded at the place that did the oil change.

Though I tend to concur with the “better to wait” advice, I note that it would be possible to do an oil change without access to the fill tube: after installing an oil drain valve, you could “backfill” the engine with new oil.

Has a mechanic told you that it’s okay to be driving the car around like this? On a car with such a cramped engine compartment, I have a hard time imagining a crash that would stop the hood from opening but leave the radiator, condenser and fan unmolested.

Safe to drive according to the inspector. The frame was bent so the hood no longer lines up with the body perfectly. The hood latch now doesn’t have enough space to release.