Yet another resource about an oil change. Let’s get to it.

Firstly, some tools will be required. I used a socket set and a torque wrench. Select a 19mm socket and ratchet.


Place a waste oil pan under the engine sump. Position the pan to allow for the changing arc trajectory of the oil. Loosen the sump plug with the ratchet and socket, then unscrew the plug by hand. On the last few turns of the sump plug, be ready to get it out of the way quickly!

Once the engine has been drained of oil, screw the sump plug back in by hand. To tighten it to the correct torque, I use a torque wrench set to 35Nm, near the center of the torque range specified in the service manual.

The oil filter is located in an awkward spot. There is no avoiding the contortion here! I placed a rag under the filter to try and catch the worst of the oil. Reposition the waste oil pan to catch any oil dribbles from the subframe. Once off, I place the old oil filter on a spigot on my waste oil pan to let it drain.

Making sure the mating surface is clean and has no remnants of gasket stuck on, it’s time to prepare the new oil filter. I dip my finger into some new oil and run it around the gasket of the new filter. There is some debate as to if this has any advantages at all. My thoughts: there are no repercussions to doing it.

Now that the old oil filter has finished draining, I now empty the waste oil container into an old engine oil container (always keep a single container handy) so it can be safely handed to waste oil recyclers.

With the sump plug torqued and new filter installed, it’s now time to put some fresh engine oil in. I use a funnel with a coarse mesh filter. The oil capacity is rated for 3.2L, but pour oil in until the oil reaches the full mark on the dipstick.

The current dipstick indication is false. Oil is only sitting in the pan and not in the filter nor in all the oil galleries. Run the engine for a moment to get the oil flowing. Keep a close eye on the oil pressure gauge.


Switch the engine off and recheck the oil level on the dipstick. The level has dropped but within the low and full marks. My MX-5 burns a little oil in its age, so I add some more oil until it is near the full mark.

Oil change done! Oil changes a great if you are on a budget or enjoy DIY stuff. It’s also a good chance to spot any issues on the underside of the car. Fully synthetic oil has many advantages, however I am a firm believer that if the engine oil and filter are changed often enough, then any oil of the appropriate weight and grade will do.