By on September 18, 2009

The Mityvac 7201 Fluid Evacuator Plus as it arrived at my office.

I’m not a very good mechanic, but I enjoy working on my cars. Part of it is because I’m cheap and don’t like spending money on things I can do myself. Additionally, every time I have any interaction with any part of a car dealership I walk away feeling like a rape victim. Silkwood showers. Haunting regret. The works. Determined to rid myself of that feeling of being used, I made a commitment to gain mechanical skills and free myself from abuse.

I started long ago by doing oil changes. The procedure itself is so simple that it boggles my mind that anyone pays for the task. Yes, time is money, but a car is a huge portion of the cost of living, and its longevity is abetted by proper maintenance. Knowing that it is done properly adds peace of mind to that longevity . . . besides, have you seen the guys that work at the quick lube places? I keep my cars as long as possible and generally wear out their interiors before their drivetrains, and oil changes are the most basic, yet vital, maintenance to keep your car running a long time. Mechanically the process boils down to removing old oil and pouring in new. If you can cook yourself dinner you can change your own oil. The most difficult part of the operation is getting underneath the car to drain the old oil. Now, that is no longer an issue!

I first heard about removing the oil out of an engine via the dipstick hole from some Benz-owning friends. Mercedes-Benz only does through-the-dispstick-hole oil changes. I always thought it seemed silly, but now I’m a convert. I recently bought a Mityvac 7201 Fluid Evacuator Plus. The event that led up to my purchase was an accidental over-tightening of the drain bolt in my wife’s car. The last time I changed her oil I wasn’t paying attention and over-did it when putting the bolt back in. I didn’t strip it completely, but I felt that little “give” that told me I’d be doing a heli-coil job on her pan at some point in my future. (Remember I said at the beginning that I wasn’t a very good mechanic!) I did the bodger’s trick of sealing the bolt in silicone to hold it over until I can fix it properly. Meanwhile I’m still going to have to change the oil. Hence the The Mityvac 7201 Fluid Evacuator Plus.

The unit arrived with a damaged box, which is never a good start to a relationship. Thankfully no parts were missing and nothing was damaged. Included in the box was the unit itself, two different diameter extraction tubes, a main tube, and an instruction manual. I’m one of those guys who reads the manual of everything before I use it. In summary this is how to use the Fluid Extractor:

1.  Warm up, then shut down your engine. Think Goldilocks: Warm is good, HOT not so much, Cold won’t do.
2.  Remove your engine’s oil cap and dipstick.
3.  Insert the main tube into the top of the Mityvac 7201 unit.
4.  Select an extraction tube that is just slightly smaller than your dipstick hole, and attach that to the main tube.
5.  Insert extraction tube into the dipstick hole until you hit the bottom of the oil pan. Your dipstick will serve as a      guide as to how far to expect to slide it down.
6.  Make sure the drain plug on the Mityvac 7201 unit is secured and select “Evacuate” from the “Evacuate/Discharge” button options.
7.  Pump the handle about 10 times, as you would a bicycle pump.
8.  Stand back and behold the wonder that is the Mityvac 7201 Fluid Evacuator Plus as it sucks the old oil out of your engine!

It sucks. Just like it's supposed to.

It takes just a few minutes to get all the oil out. When it hits bottom and all the oil is out you’ll hear it sucking air. Once finished you pull the extraction tube out and off, insert the main tube into into something handy to carry it in off to the recycling station, flip the switch to “Discharge”, and it’ll blow out the old oil. Fill your engine with the proper amount of new oil, replace your cap and dipstick, and you are done. You won’t even get your hands dirty! Much faster than draining too.

Unless you have to also change a filter you won’t have to get under the car at all. (In the case of my TDI, the filter is on top of the engine, so with that car the entire operation can be done from above.) No muss, no fuss. No ramps, no jacks. There are other units besides the Mityvac 7201, but I chose this one for its size and discharge capacity. Some of the cars I care for are vintage machines with 11+ quart oil capacities. (The discharge feature also makes it useful for brake bleeding but I haven’t tested that yet.) The Mityvac 7201 is expensive at around $75, but a budget-minded gearhead could find a usable substitute for as little as $45. If you want powered options (electrical or compressed air) plan on spending a few hundred bucks.

Once you’ve sucked, you’ll never drain again.

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42 Comments on ““I’m gonna get you sucka!” Product Review: Mityvac 7201 Fluid Evacuator Plus...”


  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    The box says 2.3 gallons? IIRC that’s not quite 11+ quarts, but I suppose you could slurp the oil out in stages.

    Also, MB folks like this thing because they don’t *have* drain plugs anymore.

  • avatar
    tsofting

    I used to do the my own oil changes back in the old analog days, but today, where everything including the dipstick on my E60 is computer-controlled, I can’t do it. The computer needs to be told that an oil change has been made to keep track of service intervals, so no go! Heck, I can’t even do it on my wife’s 10 year old E39, so unless I get an ancient ride without computer controls 10 times those of an Apolle spacecraft, I guess my self-change days are over.

  • avatar

    I swear, I initially thought this was going to be a review of one of those “travelling urinals”.

  • avatar
    friedclams

    Great review Chuck. As an inveterate cheapskate and OCD car owner, I have 2 questions:

    I assume you could use this to drain ATF through the fill pipe on a car with automatic trans? That would make changing automatic trans filters a lot less messy (even though you’d still have to get under the car).

    Also, has anyone in their travels had experience with relocating the oil filter from the underside of the block to the top of the engine? I think there are kits to do this but maybe they’re only specific to certain cars.

    tsofting: I bet you can reset the oil change code with a $100 OBD scanner.

  • avatar
    NotFast

    While I see the appeal of this, if I have to dig around my engine and crawl on the floor to get to the oil filter, this only saves a little time. My cars always end up having filters that are a PITA to access.

  • avatar
    photog02

    I have this exact same model and love it. Mine arrived damaged (the drain/fill tube attachment was broken). I e-mailed the company and didn’t hear a word back from them. Three days later I was getting ready to call them when I got a complete replacement model with no instructions to return the broken one. They had me sold at that point, even if it didn’t remove oil.

    Like some people have mentioned, you need something to reset the oil change indicator with (I have a Peake tool for BMWs). Also, I have trouble getting the last half liter of oil out of the car. But overall it is a wonderful tool. As a side benefit, you can use it to change lawnmower oil too…

  • avatar
    carve

    tsofting: 10 seconds of google is your friend. Here is how to reset the condition based oil indicator on an e60

    Press the tacho reset button in the instument cluster about 10 seconds with the key to on position, until “service” appears, then change selection with a sigle push
    until “engine oil” appears. Keep pushing the “reset ” ask yes? and that’s all. Next oil change after 25000 Km appears on the idrive “service”menu.
    Beware, not to reset another function, there is no way to restore a reseted item

    On my e90, I need to short two points on a port to reset it.

    I agree that it sucks we don’t have dipsticks any more, but I can’t believe Mercedes doesn’t have a drain plug!

  • avatar

    Cool product!

    I then thought about the whole filter removal boondoggle and then realized that if one were to drain the oil pan first, then subsequently remove the filter, one would avoid, by and large, the surge of oil effect that makes filter removal so nitty gritty nasty.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    I stopped doing the oil changes myself when I became aware of the problems with disposing of used oil. Dumping it on the ground/in the gutter is really uncool, and I couldn’t find many places willing to take the oil even if I could find a good way to transport it (I used to drain it into an open pan). What are you doing with the used fluids? At least JiffyLube recycles it.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Because my new Santa Fe 3.3 has a top-mounted oil filter, I bought a $25 manual oil extractor (go ahead, insert cheap-ass-Hyundai-owner joke here) in the hope of eliminating ground-crawling entirely. Didn’t go well.

    Strike 1: Furious pumping generates only a thin flow of oil, which tries my patience and stokes my fear of incomplete drainage.

    Strike 2: The downstream hose pops off the pump without warning, sending a brown squirt across my pant leg and up the garage wall.

    Strike 3. The upstream hose gets stuck in my crankcase, stretching perilously thin but refusing to come loose as I pull on it. Lots of screaming and swearing.

    The funny part was realizing after the fact that the drain bolt on a Santa Fe can be easily reached without ramps.

  • avatar
    HankScorpio

    I always take my used oil to the local Autozone/Advance Auto/Pep Boys. Your local government may also have a recycling center for oil.

  • avatar
    GeeDashOff

    This thing scares me a tiny bit because I’d be afraid of dropping something into the oil fill hole.

    With used oil: I’m pretty sure by law places like autozone and pepboys have to take used oil. The autozone by me has a used oil container they leave on the side of their building in a shed with a rolling door, when the store is open the container is available for anybody to just come by and dump their oil.

  • avatar
    brettc

    Nice review. I’ve been using a Pela 5000 extractor for the last 5 years on my two Jetta TDIs. I did a bottom oil change once on my car, and that was enough for me. I got the Pela for around $50 I think back in 2004. With products like the Pela and Mityvac available, changing oil is almost fun! It typically takes me about 20 minutes to get every bit of oil sucked out from the oil filter housing and the oil pan.

    ALH TDI instructions:

    1. Extract oil
    2. Put a new filter in, change the two O-Rings on the housing cover
    3. Pour in new oil and make sure it’s the correct level
    4. Count all the leftover money in your wallet since you avoided a stealership raping encounter.

  • avatar
    dgduris

    This thing looks very much like the apparatus I purchased several years ago to do the brakes on my then wife’s Discovery. $60-odd to suck more Castrol LMA than the Land Rover’s master cylinder could hold x2.

    Worked great and paid for itself in one use (between the LR Dealer’s bill and the dino-juice needed to get there).

    Good product.

  • avatar
    Juniper

    ClutchCarGo
    Most brands now sell oil in 5 lt. Jugs.
    Put the old oil in the container the new oil came out of. Or an old windshield washer bottle works, milk jug?
    Auto Zone, where I buy my oil, takes old oil and properly disposes of it.

  • avatar


    The box says 2.3 gallons? IIRC that’s not quite 11+ quarts, but I suppose you could slurp the oil out in stages.

    Yes, like this: Suck-Blow-Suck. Precisely why I paid the bit extra for the “blow” feature.

    I assume you could use this to drain ATF through the fill pipe on a car with automatic trans? That would make changing automatic trans filters a lot less messy (even though you’d still have to get under the car).

    Yes. In my case the sole slushbox in our fleet is the wife’s pictured Liberty CRD. The auto-trans dipstick on that is a few inches from the engine oil one, so no under-car work required.

    NotFast, I’ve had PITA filter-cars before (Cough!-2.0L New Beetle!-Cough!) but as of this writing I’m blessed with cars that all have very accessible filters. (I also have a cheap HF scissor lift in my workshop, I may write a review of that too. Any interest?)

    rrhyne56 :
    I then thought about the whole filter removal boondoggle and then realized that if one were to drain the oil pan first, then subsequently remove the filter, one would avoid, by and large, the surge of oil effect that makes filter removal so nitty gritty nasty.

    Yes! In fact in the pictured first use of the product I swapped the filter as well. Unlike all previous changes the amount of oil that came out of the filter mount was very minimal. A pleasant surprise.

    ClutchCarGo, my town has a solid waste transfer station that accepts recyclables at no cost. I transfer my used oil into 5-gallon buckets and drop them of there when they are full. You might contact your local solid waste authority and inquire about recycling. On the rare days they are closed most auto parts stores in my area also collect used oil.

    –chuck

  • avatar

    I bought this same model Mityvac 7201 from Amazon two years back.

    Here, in descending order of importance, are my thoughts of having used it now for a number of jobs.

    1) I know it is in the article above, but let me repeat it here: Do not leave the extraction tube in place while using the discharge mode. Learning that lesson cost me a five pound bag of kitty litter, a bottle of Dawn, and a bunch of time with my pressure washer. You’d be surprise how much a quart of used motor oil spreads out, and fast it does so.

    2) I bought the 7205 Brake Bleeding Accessory Kit at the same time, wound up selling it on unused to a friend. I am convinced that a dedicated pressure bleeder is a better way to go than the Mityvac solution.

    3) I have found that on my Volvo C30 the extraction method, using every trick I have, leaves almost two quarts of oil in the engine. Extraction works well when it works, but some dip stick tubes just don’t work well with extractors.

    4) It takes a LONG time to pull 9 quarts out of MB 3.2 liter six.

    5) TIP: Don’t insert the expanding rubber stopper all the way down into its opening. The leading edge of the rubber portion gets pinched between the expansion plate and the opening and becomes VERY hard to remove.

    6) The quick change oil places near me are more than happy to take my used oil in for free. They sell it on as a commodity, or use it to heat their shops in the winter, so they welcome it. Also, most auto-section equipped Walmarts take back oil. To find a place near you that will take your used oil go to Earth911.com.

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    Sounds like a good product, but I quit doing my oil changes several years ago. Service departments all over are usually so desperate to get business that their oil changes are cheap. The place we bought my wife’s car at gave her free oil changes for a year, and I get mine done for about $25 and don’t have to get my hands dirty or dispose of the dirty oil.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    We have a car that is off warranty this week. DIY oil changes with this gizmo are appealing, but it would require two men and a very agile boy to replace the bottom mounted oil filter.

    On second throught, I prefer to take our cars to an independent mechanic for routine oil changes and tire rotations. He can give it a quick check while it is on the hoist and catch small problems before they morph into big, expensive, perhaps dangerous issues.

  • avatar
    kkleinwi

    Cool gizmo, but it doesn’t work on every car. Depending upon the engine design, you may not be able to reach all the way to the bottom of the sump. On my BMW E46 it works great. On my wife’s Odyssey I can only get about half the oil out.

  • avatar
    Airhen

    Thanks for the review… Very interesting.

  • avatar
    AandW

    This review was timed just right for me. Thanks. I would like to hear more about the scissor lift too.

  • avatar
    TR4

    Maybe I’m just old school, but I think removing the drain plug has to do a better job. Hot oil flowing out the drain plug quickly will help flush the gunk that might be accumulating on the bottom of the sump. Proof? The engine I am currently re-building after 16 years had zero sludge in the sump. Of course that did nothing to prevent an exhaust valve head separating from its stem…

  • avatar
    roadracer

    Several years back someone on one of the Mercedes boards sucked the oil out of their engine, then removed the drain plug to see how thorough a job it did. No oil came out. I believe it was a 112 or 113 Mercedes engine but I can’t remember for sure. These engines have the oil filter on top so accessing the filter is easy as can be.

    However on my wife’s Mercedes, to change the ATF you have to remove a plug in the torque converter or you’ll miss a couple quarts. This won’t be an issue in all cars, in fact later ML’s don’t have the plug in the converter anymore, but this would stop me from attempting an ATF change with the Mityvac.

  • avatar
    trlstanc

    Just a thought, but changing this sentance “every time I have any interaction with any part of a car dealership I walk away feeling like a rape victim.” to “…feeling like I was taken advantage of.” would not only be more accurate and less demeaning to actual rape victims, but also allow me to make it to the heart of the review without feeling like I have to shoot off an angry tirade.

  • avatar
    radimus

    I have to get under the car with a drain pan to change the oil filter anyway. Might as well take a wrench along with me and drain the oil via the drain plug while I’m down there.

    Another idea for waste oil disposal. Many independant auto mechanics heat their shops with furnaces that burn waste oil, and will happily accept yours. They might even give you an empty jug with a cap to put it in.

  • avatar
    Ralph SS

    Oh, for crying out loud. Get your candy ass under the vehicle and pull the plug.

    Well, somebody had to say it.

  • avatar
    thompson2

    I own the exact same product. I use it on my 9-5 Aero, and it works like a charm. I order filters from europarts.com. Luckily the filter is accessible without putting the car on ramps.

    I use an old 5 gallon paint bucket to store the old oil. When it gets full I’ll take to Autozone.

    The only main issue I have is cleaning it after use. That is not a problem if you are only going to use it for removing oil.

  • avatar

    I bought the $3000 super delux model.
    It’s call a car lift.
    I figure in what I save in DIY oil changes, my ROI should be around the year 2710.
    Luckily it comes in handy for other things, too…

  • avatar
    Yuppie

    My new A4 does not even have a dipstick. I check the oil level by pressing a few buttons on the NAV screen. So I guess this is not going to help me.

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    Deja vu.

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    You all should go check out Chuck’s own site.

    The thing is a great idea, but barely adequately designed. It is meant to hold a vacuum built up by a few strokes and then pull the oil till the vacuum is gone. It does not hold vacuum reliably.

    i store it in the box and coil up to do that and the lines take a permanent set. AHve to straighten them out, to use each time.

    MB did not mysteriously lose their drain plugs and then the vacuum machine was invented. Think reverse order.

    Danger is the tube might not go to true bottom, might leave large amount of used oil in place. This is worse danger for automatic.

    Having said all this I repeat its a great idea and I use mine 3/4 of time I change oil. My A4 has under trays that are a hassle to remove/replace. Its filter comes out from top.

    On automatics I drop tranny oil pan and scrape out crud which builds up as if it were a pre-detergent engine.

  • avatar
    RNader

    I use it attached to my vacuum penis enlarger with good results.

    The large reservoir eliminates the headache of frequent clean-ups.

    :^]

  • avatar
    Demetri

    I’m buying one of these if I ever have a car that has a top mounted filter. Until then, I’ll have the dealership do it. I wait 9000 miles between intervals though, so I only have to do it about once per year.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    the problems are manifold… so to speak

    1stly, the oil filter is often in an awkward place

    2ndly, you have to jack the car up and crawl underneath and get the drain plug – this is nasty dirty hard work

    3rdly, you have to get rid of the old oil (EPA says it can’t go out with the garbage)

    4thly, oil changes are are low as $69 where I am if you supply the oil and filter (the local shops sell 6 litres of synth + free filter for $30)

    how much do you earn an hour? $30? $40? pay someone if you don’t wanna get your hands dirty

    this device does look nifty i admit

  • avatar
    pgcooldad

    Yes, all that said AutoZone, Pepboys … etc. all take your old oil are correct. The one thing most don’t know is that they do not “properly dispose” it. They SELL the oil to a recycler and make money on it. The oil gets “cleaned”, then tested and the proper additives replaced. The recycler than sells it to …… a 10 minute oil change chain in those drums you see to the side of the fill hoses.

    Also, I don’t understand all the ramps and jacking up. I have a 2006 Durango, 2001 Eclipse Spyder and 2001 Focus … all of which I can change the oil without lifting. Has anyone tried doing it without lifting? On the Eclipse I turn my steering wheel all the way to the right, slide large cardboard with oil drain container under plug, reach drain plug from wheel well, replace plug after drain, move cardboard and container towards the filter, loosen it and let it drain, remove and replace, fill, done! 10 minutes!

    I guess I just don’t trust that all the old oil has been removed with a pump, and any particulate which are on the lowest part of an oil pan (drain plug) go with it.

  • avatar
    pgcooldad

    Make that a 2005 Focus.

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    Use a dedicated gasoline can for oil. Buy a 7 gallon one. It will attract enough dirt and carbon that it will always be obvious which one has oil. You could of course label it, maybe stenciled spray paint.

    I would be shocked if there was a single municipality in the USA or Canada that did not have an easy and available drop off point for used oil. Just find it.

    Think of it as entertainment. Who that loves cars does not enjoy occasional wrenching?

    If that does not help, think of how much less time it takes to do it yourself than mess with a shop. And how much more fun it is to be in your own shop than deal with clerks and service advisors at the local for profit shop.

    For apartment dwellers, then maybe things don’t work out this way, use Jiffy Lube.

  • avatar
    Scotes

    @tsofting – No problem doing this on my e39. In fact with the filter up top and in front it’s a real easy job.

    I’ve been using a Mityvac 7400 for the last five years or so and while it’s a drop small versus the oil capacity in my e39 it works great. The only issue I’ve had with it was the hoses that came with it were a little inflexible so I replaced them with something of better quality from the hardware store.

  • avatar
    Scott

    @pgcooldad – Try as I might, I cannot reach either my drain plug or filter without crawling underneath my car. I cannot crawl underneath my car without raising it up a few inches on ramps. Which only adds about 1 min. to the 10 mins. you talked about. Not a big deal.

    I don’t understand why anyone would pay someone to change their oil. It’s easy, it’s cheaper, and you have the satisfaction of properly maintaining a machine you probably enjoy every day. I’ve worked on just about every aspect of all the cars I’ve owned, and it’s saved me untold money and hassle, and is quite therapeutic in its own way.

    That said, though I usually jump at products that make car maintenance easier, the Mityvac wouldn’t really help me. Maybe when I get a car that doesn’t have any drain plugs…

  • avatar
    Pahaska

    I ordered the extractor mentioned in this post, but what came via UPS was a different and more expensive model that hooks to an air compressor. No pumping, but the oil has to be poured out as there is no purge option.

    I have a 40 gallon bed tank in my truck that was filled with gasoline mixed with a little diesel (don’t ask!) with no good way to drain or siphon. The extractor did a fine job of emptying the tank 2 gallons at a time. My mower and my wife’s Mazda run just fine on the mixture.

    My Genesis has a cartridge filter on the bottom of the engine and a belly pan that has to be removed to access the filter. No way to do it easily without a lift. I figure I’ll just take the Gennie to the dealer for each change.


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