Oil Changes are Hard

Well I thought I knew how to do an oil change with no problem.

There was one caveat: Using super thin SAE 0W-20 oil on the oil filter gasket doesn’t work well.

I was changing the oil in my 2016 Mazda 3.

Tools Required: (Those last two messed me up)

  • 8mm socket
  • 8mm Allen/hex key
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Philips head screwdriver (optional)
  • Small extension (optional)
  • Ratchet
  • Lubricant for oil filter gasket!
  • Oil filter wrench!
The last two items on the list are missing from the photo.

First problem was that I took of the wrong plastic cover piece. There is one closer to the front of the car. I thought it was for the drain plug. I was wrong. One (slightly larger about 15″x15″) cover piece allows access to both the oil filter and drain plug.

When I was taking off the old oil filter, I could barely get it off. I spent about 15 minutes getting in just the right position and used all of my hand strength.

I was confused why it was so difficult, because I put the last one on myself, and I would have been careful not to over-tighten it.

When I put the new one on, the directions said to turn it 3/4 to 1 full turn after contact with the block.

  1. I lubricated the oil filter gasket with the brand-new SAE 0W-20 oil.
  2. I got it to 1/2 turn, then it wouldn’t budge. Totally stuck.
  3. I couldn’t even loosen it!

Now, I was discouraged and laying under a hot car, debating whether to leave an improperly tightened filter as-is and hope for the best, or actually fix it.

Thankfully, my neighbor had a large set of pliers and I was able to get the filter off!

I retried the installation using a 3-IN-ONE multipurpose oil. It’s the kind that is used for bike chains, casters, etc.

This time, everything felt normal. I was able to turn to about 3/4 turn perfectly. Hopefully, the oil is still on there when I got to take the filter off!

In addition to using better filter gasket lubricant, I would never risk doing the job without something to take off the oil filter with force. Oil filter wrench is probably ideal, but at least something like large enough pliers.