Oil filter change, some questions

  1. My model of MX-5 is: __mk3
  2. I’m based near: __North Essex
  3. I’m looking for technical help or recommendations on: __

I’m gonna take the plunge over the Xmas / New year period to change the engine oil and filter , I have 2 trolley jacks and a pair of axle stands and will get a filter wrench and Torque wrench.
I’m not just doing it to save a few Bob ,but it would be nice to know I could do it myself whenever I want, assuming after this ,I actually want to do it again :grimacing:
First question is: I’ve seen people jack up the front of the car in order to put the axle stands under the cills, the jack looks like it’s under the middle of the car below the engine area, where is the right place to put the jack?
I have protective goggles and gloves etc, but what other problems might I encounter when doing this ? any advice or tips welcome .

Hi B,
Have a look here https://mx5oc.co.uk/member-downloads/ there is a jacking and an oil change download.

My method (others will have theirs) jack on the drivers side sill front and support the weight with an axle stand. Loosen but do not remove the oil drain plug. Lower car and then do exactly the same on the passenger side. There up under by the cross member you will see the oil filter pointing down, stupid place really. You may have to remove a plastic cover plate behind the cross member to get up to the filter. With luck it will be hand tight only and a pair (or one rubber glove) as you’ll only get one hand up their to twist it off. Bet you’ll need a filter removal tool though. See other thread on that about oil filters.
Once you’ve got it loose enough to twist off have plenty of cloths available to catch the drips, there will be lots. Before all this place plenty of cloths to catch the drips by the filter and drain plug areas on the floor.
Before removing the filter with drips you can return to the drivers side of the car and remove the drain plug by hand, catch can/bowl in place of course. No need to re jack that side you’ll be able to get to it as the other side is now jack. Get to it from the front of the car. Remove oil filler cap and dipstick to help the drain. Whilst that’s draining go back under and remove the loosened filter.
Cuppa time, return clean up the drain plug, new washer and replace it in the drain pan. Tighten it up with a wrench, you should be able to, enough room. Go back under and replace the new filter, wipe some fresh oil around the rubber seal first. Fill the filter with oil, maybe not quite to the top and insert (upright) under the car and up, careful not to spill any. Job done tighten as much as you can hand tight, I usually nip it up half a turn with my filter tool. Clean up get the car on the ground and fill with oil. You can fill with 4 litres straight off then start the car, let it run then stop and check the level. Top up as needed job done.
Then swear you’ll never do it again, too old for this caper now. That was me BTW.:smile:

1 Like

Ok, thanks for the helpful info and pointers, I’ll take that on board , I’ll probably regret it , in fact I know I will, but I’m keen to give it a go, although the last time my 62 year old bod was rolling around on the ground was at a motorcycle rally many years ago after drinking 6 pints of old Blodwins Sudden Impact.
I’m getting a Halfords voucher from No 1 son at Xmas apparently, so that’s the oil sorted to start with :+1:.

It’s not the getting down there and under that’s the problem, it’s the getting out from under and standing upright again.:thinking::smile:
Then when you are sitting consuming your ale in the evening, rubbing the bits that hurt and not getting any sympathy from her in doors that told you so.:smile:


Hi Boz;

The first time I did an oil change on my Mk3 I jacked the car up on the front cross beam and put axle stands under the sills. However the second time I bought a pair of ramps with lead in extensions and it made the job a lot easier and safer.

You need to remove the rear half of the engine undertray to get access to the filter. The space around the filter is tight and I can recommend a 3 legged type filter removal tool, just watch out for the pipe that passes close to the filter. Also once the filter is loose put a plastic food bag around it to catch the oil spill as you remove it. Otherwise it is a straightforward job.


Everyone says to remove the rear engine tray to allow access. I say remove both. The front one has 5 12mm bolts, the rear one has 4 10mm bolts. The rear one allows easy access to the drain plug. The front one gives better access to the filter.

As for jacking up. There is a cross beam just behind the very front under tray [no need to remove this one, it’s a faff and comes off with the front bumper] with a lumpy bit in the middle that points down. Many jacks are not long enough to reach it though.

jacking points

Thanks Guys
All very helpful :+1:

I know what you mean, :grin: ,and I’m a terrible mechanic , but want to give it a go , but it might well be a one off .

If you are picky like me after you finish the oil and filter change you can turn the engine over with the accelerator fully depressed which will finish priming the system without starting the car.

1 Like

A pair of ramps every time for me I’m afraid.
I’d never crawl under a car on stands.
In fact, I’d rather use bricks and wood before axle stands.


Fair comment , but the thing is, I already have axle stands and 2 trolley jacks, I’m going to buy a torque wrench ,filter clamp ,a suitable socket with extension, then the oil and filter, if I then buy 2 ramps ,it would then work out cheaper to take it to the local garage and let them do it, unless I intend to continue doing it myself, then that would justify buying ramps, but I do know what you mean so maybe I’ll have a looksee on eBay :+1:
PS . With the car on ramps at an angle, does that allow all the oil to drain out ok ?

any residual oil will be minimal, to be honest.
I have axle stands also, I’ll use them if changing brake pads etc, or rotating wheels, but I don’t have the courage to crawl fully under the car.

1 Like

I don’t like getting under a car at the best of times, which is why I have 2 trolley jacks and axle stands and that’s just to take a wheel off to replace dip beam bulbs!
I was just looking on eBay at ramps, don’t fancy a pair of rust used ones but a new pair are about £30 upwards which isn’t too bad .
Never used them before, is it just a case of going up gently in first gear and the missus telling me when I’m level on the flat bit? as I would be worried about overshooting the ramp😬

I hear what your saying about axle stands but with the car on ramps and the oil filter change the ramp on the near side gets in the way of getting under the car at that point.
I do have my trolley jack placed under the car too whenever I venture under the car.
I do have ramps too, something in my brain tells me the stands seem safer, just me personally.

1 Like

Do not fear! If I can do it, anyone can.
Granted I am younger than you and quite athletic, but I had never carried out an oil and filter change before.
I only removed the front undertray, and I don’t have trolley jacks.
I used the snall jack from the boot to put the front axle on 2 stands, removed the front tray and emptied the oil, then I lowered the driver’s side only, to get the last bit of oil out, before raising the driver’s side back up on a stand.
I then accessed the filter by sliding under the driver’s side from the front of the car, and I used my right hand to remove the filter with the filter wrench. This was easier than trying to get to the filter from the passenger’s side, or through the wheel arch as some had suggested.
Do watch out for tight nuts when removing the front tray, I chopped the end of my index finger when undoing the central one and it took weeks to heal.

1 Like

And I used chocks on the rear wheels.

1 Like

Ramps can be awkward to drive on to as they tend to skid off in different directions if things aren’t quite right. Approach angle can be an issue on lowered cars. They can be used under the wheels after jacking the car up though as an axle stand alternative.


I use axle stands on the sills with a piece of wood to protect the weld and spread the load. Once I have them under the car and settled I give the car a good shake before I get under there too. Good solid wide based axle stands are safe enough in my eyes. To get the stands to topple you have to push it hard enough to lift the car up before it can move sideways (wider the base, the higher it needs to go) . Narrow bottomed stands are another thing altogether though.

If you have removed the wheels then putting them under the car just in case is a good idea


I use a suction pump that fits down the dip stick hole. This is what most garages use . Clean ,quick and easy.