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Mazda MX-5 Miata Engine Oil Change Guide
How to change the motor oil and filter in a 4th generation 2016 to 2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata with the 2.0L I4 engine.

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Paul B. Michaels
Author & Photographer
Auto Mechanic Since 1989

2018 Miata 2.0L I4 Engine
Oil Filler Cap & Dipstick
Twist Off Oil Filler Cap

This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the 4th generation ND (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 & 2021) Mazda MX-5 Miata in changing the motor oil and replacing the canister style oil filter on the SkyActiv-G 2.0 PE-VPS 2.0 liter inline four cylinder engine.

Owners of other Mazda vehicles such as the Mazda2 (Demio), Mazda3 (Axela), Mazda5, Mazda6 (Atenza), CX-3, CX-5, CX-7, CX-9, RX-8 and MPV may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

A few compatible replacement oil filters with their part numbers are as follows: Purolator PL14612, FRAM XG6607, Royal Purple 10-2876, Mazda 1WPE-14-302, Mobil 1 M1-108, Pennzoil HPZ-37 and Premium Guard PG4612EX.

The tools and other items needed to complete this procedure include a floor jack, two jack stands, a 12mm socket, a 17mm socket, a short extension bar and a 3/8" drive ratchet, a used oil catch basin, 5 U.S. quarts of new SAE 0W-20 synthetic oil and an automotive funnel.

(The earlier model years of the Miata required an 8mm hex head socket or 8mm Allen key wrench to remove the oil drain bolt.)

The oil capacity specification for the SkyActiv-G 2.0L I4 engine for an oil change with a filter replacement is 4.5 U.S. quarts (4.3L or 3.8 Imp. qt.).


Lift Up Oil Dipstick
Raise Front of Vehicle
Under Engine Cover
The first steps are to warm up the engine for a few minutes, park the car on a level surface and turn off the ignition.

Warming up the engine will help suspend any contaminant within the old oil and also allow it to drain out more quickly.

Engage the emergency / parking brake and place wheel chocks on both sides of the rear tires to help prevent the car from moving.

Open the hood, twist off the oil filler cap in the counterclockwise direction and pull up the oil dipstick an inch or two.

Set the oil fill cap aside in a safe place.

Removing the oil filler cap and partially removing the dipstick will help prevent a vacuum from forming and allow the old oil to drain out more quickly.

Carefully raise the front of the car with the floor jack and securely support it with at least two jack stands.

Please do not solely rely on the floor jack to support the vehicle!

Slide under the engine bay of the car with a 12mm socket, a short extension bar and a 3/8" drive ratchet.

Loosen Counterclockwise
Remove Skid Plate Bolts
9 Bolts Removed
Locate the silver metal under engine cover (also known as the skid plate or splash guard).

There are nine bolts that secure the cover to the bottom of the engine bay.

Loosen the bolts by turning them in the counterclockwise direction with the 12mm socket and a 3/8" drive ratchet.

I found it necessary to use a short extension bar to keep from scraping my knuckles across the sharp metal lip on the edges of the skid plate.

Set the nine bolts aside in a safe place.

Skid Plate Removed
Oil Pan & Oil Filter
Black Metal Oil Drain Bolt
Carefully remove the under engine cover and set it aside in a safe place.

Once the cover is out of the way, you'll be able to see the black metal oil pan and the oil drain plug.

The oil drain bolt is located on the passenger side of the oil pan closer to the front of the car.

The oil filter is situated on the passenger side of the oil pan near the oil drain bolt.

Black Metal Oil Pan
Used Oil Catch Basin
Loosen Counterclockwise
Slide the used oil catch container to just below the oil drain bolt.

Loosen the oil drain bolt in the counterclockwise direction with the 17mm socket and a 3/8" drive ratchet.

(Previous model years of the Miata were equipped with an 8mm hex head oil drain bolt that required a 8mm hex head socket or an 8mm Allen key wrench to loosen it.)

Be careful when you remove the oil drain bolt. The old oil might still be hot enough to burn your fingers.

Spin Out Oil Drain Bolt
Drain Out Old Oil
Replace Oil Drain Plug
Spin out the old oil drain bolt by hand.

Allow the old oil to drain out for at least a few minutes or until the flow slows down to just an occasional drip.

If the oil drain bolt is equipped with a metal washer or "gasket", inspect it and replace the washer if necessary.

The compatible replacement oil drain plug washer size is 20mm outer diameter and 14mm inner diameter.

Spin in the oil drain bolt a few turns by hand in the clockwise direction to prevent it from becoming cross threaded.

Tighten the oil drain bolt in the clockwise direction with the 17mm socket and a 3/8" drive ratchet to just past hand tight or about 23 to 30 lb-ft of torque.

It would be best to use a torque wrench to tighten the oil drain bolt to the service manual specification of 23 to 30 lb-ft (30-41 Nm) of torque.


Slide Basin Under Filter
Twist Off Old Oil Filter
Oil Filter Wrench
Slide the used oil catch container to just below the old oil filter.

Twist off the old oil filter in the counterclockwise direction.

If you have trouble removing a stuck or stubborn old oil filter, I highly recommend using the Lisle 63600 oil filter wrench.

Attach the Lisle oil filter wrench to a short extension bar and a 3/8" drive ratchet.

Remove Old Oil Filter
Dip Finger In New Oil
Lubricate Rubber O-Ring
Loosen the old oil filter by turning it in the counterclockwise direction.

Allow the old oil to drain out of the filter receptacle for at least a few minutes.

Dip your pinky finger into some new oil and lubricate the rubber o-ring gasket on the new oil filter.

I recommend buying the Purolator PL14612 oil filter since it has excellent reviews on Amazon.

Lubricating the rubber o-ring on the new oil filter will help it form a better seal and also make it easier to remove during the next oil change.

Twist On New Oil Filter
Line Up Skid Plate
Spin In Bolts By Hand
Twist on the new oil filter in the clockwise direction to about 1/2 to 2/3 of a turn past finger tight.

Try to avoid over tightening the new oil filter to prevent from damaging the rubber o-ring gasket which could result in an oil leak.

Double check that the oil filter and drain bolt are tight before moving on to the next steps.

Update - A Miata owner sent me an email with a great tip to check the engine for oil leaks before replacing the oil service cover (or "skid plate"). The car should first be lowered from the jack stands and floor jack for safety. The emergency / parking brake should be engaged and the rear tires should be chocked (both sides) to prevent the vehicle from moving unexpectedly. Then start the engine and allow it to run for a few minutes. Check the drain bolt and filter for any oil leaks. If you notice any oil leaking, tighten the bolt or new oil filter a bit more. (Thank you for the tip!)

Line up the under engine cover and hold it in place with one hand.

Carefully spin in a few of the nine bolts a few turns in the clockwise direction by hand to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Tighten Clockwise
Metal Cover Secured
Lower Car From Stands
If you do any autocross or drag racing with your Miata, I recommend applying some Loctite Blue medium strength threadlocking fluid to the threads on the skid plate bolts to help prevent them from vibrating loose.

Tighten the nine bolts in the clockwise direction with the 12mm socket and a 3/8" drive ratchet to just past hand tight or the service manual specification of 24 to 28 lb-ft of torque.

Double check that the nine bolts are tight before moving on to the next steps.

Carefully lower the car from the jack stands by using the floor jack. (The vehicle should be on level ground before checking the dipstick.)

Insert Automotive Funnel
Pour In New Oil
Twist On Oil Fill Cap
Insert the automotive funnel into the oil filler hole.

It is much better to have slightly less oil than necessary in the engine than to overfill it.

I recommend only pouring in about 4 to 4.25 U.S. quarts of the SkyActiv-G 2.0 PE-VPS 2.0L engine's 4.5 U.S. quart total capacity for an oil change with a filter change.

(If you prefer the oil capacity specification in liters it is 4.3L.)

Slowly pour in the new SAE 0W-20 synthetic oil into the filler hole.

Temporarily replace the oil filler cap and push the dipstick down into place.

Push In Dipstick
Check Oil Level
Replace Oil Dipstick
Start the engine and allow it to warm up for at least a few minutes.

Then turn off the ignition and allow the new oil to drain down to the oil pan for at least five to ten minutes.

Pull out the dipstick, wipe it clean with a paper towel, fully re-insert it and pull it out again to check the oil level.

If necessary, slowly pour in more oil and repeatedly check the level on the dipstick until it reaches at or just below the upper hole in the tip of the dipstick.

The upper hole in the dipstick indicates the "FULL" or "MAX" (maximum) level line.

You may not need to pour in the entire 4.5 U.S. quarts of oil in order for the level to reach the full line on the dipstick depending on how long you allowed the old oil to drain out.

Once the oil level is correct, replace the filler cap by twisting it on in the clockwise direction and replace the dipstick.

To reset the oil life meter (maintenance monitor) to 100% follow these steps (for vehicles without the LCD screen): 1. Turn off the ignition. 2. Press and hold the "Selector" button at the top left of the gauge panel. 3. Turn on the ignition and keep on holding the button for at least 5 seconds. 4. The master warning light will flash on and off for a few seconds to indicate the that the reset procedure is complete.

To reset the oil life (in vehicles with the LCD display screen for the stereo system and vehicle controls): 1. Select the "A" icon on the home screen to display the "Applications" menu. 2. Choose the "Vehicle Status Monitor". 3. Select "Maintenance" option. 4. Switch the tab to the "Oil Change" menu. 5. Choose "Reset" in order to reset the oil life meter to 100%. (You can also change the oil life service interval if necessary.)

Be sure to record the oil change and filter replacement in your vehicle's service records.

For more, check out all of my 2016-2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.

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