Mazda Mazda3 (2004-2009) 2.3L Oil Change DIY

Change the Oil on a First Generation (2004-2009) 2.3L Mazda Mazda3

Works For:
2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 Mazda Mazda3 2.7L Models

Video Tutorial
Source: mana619

Text/ Picture Tutorial


The owners manual for the 2004 North American Mazda3 recommends that you take your Mazda3 to your local Mazda dealer for oil & filter change due to “special tools required”. I’m not known to trust anyone to do anything if I’m able to do it myself so I decided to tackle this project and find out exactly what is needed to change the oil in my Mazda3. As the old saying goes, there’s only one way to find out.

This guide was developed using a 2004 U.S. model Mazda3 hatchback/wagon, it has been reported to work on all Mazda3 models with the 2.3l and 2.5l engine through the 2009 model year. This guide is also reported to work with Mazdaspeed3 vehicles through the 2009 model year though the Mazdaspeed3 has a higher oil capacity so it requires more oil (check your owners manual). There are several reports that for the 2010 model year Mazda has changed to the old style “spin on” type oik filter, if this is the case much of this guide would not apply to those vehicles.

Disclaimer: Use this guide at your own risk, I’m not a Mazda trained mechanic and am not responsible for any damage or injury caused by using or mis-using this guide.

Materials Required:

    • 4.25 quarts of API Service grade SL or SM motor oil.

The owners manual for U.S. model Mazda3’s strongly implies that you must use only 5w20 weight motor oil, but the only requirement is that you use oil that matches the API Service Grade your owners manual calls for. For my 2004 that is SL but for newer models this may be SM, you can use an SM rated oil in a vehicle that requires SL.

    • Oil Filter Cartridge and two O-Rings
      • Mazda OEM L321-14-302-9U
      • Purolator L15505
      • PureOne PL15505
      • WIX 57203
      • Napa 7203
      • Fram CH9641

Originally the filter cartridge and each O-Ring were sold separately, now any of the filter cartridges you will buy should include both required O-Rings in the package.
Part numbers for Mazda and aftermarket oil filters:

Tools Required:

  • 10mm socket
  • 17mm socket
  • Small slotted screwdriver
  • Torque wrench with a range of 10 n-m (88.5 lb-in / 7.4 lb-ft) to 30 n-m (265.5 lb-in / 22.1 lb-ft)
  • 6mm hex head socket
  • 76mm cap type oil filter wrench (14 flute)
  • Oil drain pan
  • Ramps, lift or jack stands to raise the car for safe access (I used these ramps)
    1. The first obvious step is to raise the car so you can access the underside. Be sure to use proper safety equipment & precautions.
    2. Open the hood to access the top of the engine.
    3. Remove the engine’s plastic cover by pulling up gently on the 2 back corners & middle center.
    1. Crawl under the car, locate and remove the 7 10mm bolts that hold the plastic cowling in place. These are located 3 in the front and 2 on each side in the back of the cowling.
    1. Using the flat head screwdriver, carefully remove the 2 plastic pins that help hold the cowling, there is one on each side on the front. The pins a 2 piece, you will need to gently pry the inner section out with the screwdriver then you should be able to remove the outer section with your fingers.
    1. Carefully remove the cowling, it is now being held in place with 2 tabs in the front (where the plastic pins you just removed were) and 2 interlocking sections in the rear where the cowling meets the wheel well lining. Place the cowling in a safe place.
    2. Place your oil drain pan under the drain plug, remove the plug using a 17mm socket

***Be aware, the oil shot about 18 inches from the oil drain was first removed, you will need to place your oil drain plan accordingly and be prepared to move the pan closer to the drain as pressure decreases***

    1. Once the oil has fully drained (down to a drip) clean the drain plug and the area of the oil pan around the drain hole and replace the plug. I’m not aware of the torque recommendations for the drain plug but I will try to find them and update the guide.
    2. Move the oil drain pan underneath the oil filter, use a 6mm hex head socket to remove the drain plug from the filter housing.

    1. Once the oil filter has drained use the 76mm filter cap wrench to remove the filter cartridge housing. Admall amount of oil will come out as you remove the housing and there is a little bit of oil left in the housing itself.
    2. Replace the O-Rings for the filter housing and filter housing oil drain plug, you may need to use the screwdriver to remove the old O-Rings.
    3. Clean all pieces thoroughly as any dirt can cause leakage and engine damage. Use some oil to lubricate both O-Rings.
    4. Replace oil filter cartridge, I don’t believe there is an up or down.
    5. Hand tighten the oil filter housing to the engine, you need to press up slightly against spring tension, be careful to not cross thread as the housing is plastic and can be easily damaged.
    6. Install the filter housing drain plug, using a torque wrench and the 6mm hex bit socket, torque to 10 n-m (88.5 lb-in / 7.4 lb-ft), as you tighten the plug the filter housing itself will probably tighten some.
    7. Tighten the filter housing, using a torque wrench and the 76mm cap type oil filter wrench, torque to 30 n-m (265.5 lb-in / 22.1 lb-ft)

***Torque settings obtained from stampings in oil filter housing, be sure to double check that yours are the same***

  1. Re-install the cowling (you are finished under the car)
  2. Add 4 quarts of oil to the car, make sure the oil is visible in the normal range on the dipstick.
  3. Lower the car to level, check oil again and add more oil as necessary to bring oil to optimum level (for me typically an extra 1/4 quart to bring to high side of “normal” range on the dipstick).
  4. Verify you have no leaks under the car

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