How to Change the Oil in Your Ford Mustang

01
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Overview

Photo by Glen Coburn

If you plan to keep your Mustang in tip-top shape, you’re going to need to change the oil on a regular basis. One of the best ways to get to know your Mustang is to change the oil yourself. Sure, you could take your Mustang to one of those quick stop lube shops. However, changing the oil on your own will save you money. It will also remove any doubt as to the quality of workmanship. Better yet, you won’t have to wait in line behind other customers. So, where do you begin?

02
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Before You Begin

Man pouring car oil from plastic bottle
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First, you’ll need to make sure you have all the proper tools on hand. For starters, you’re going to need a large oil-drain pan to catch your used oil. You can find these at almost any automotive parts retailer. NEVER, ever, dump oil down a drain or throw it away in the garbage! Doing so is both a Federal and State crime in the United States. Not only is it illegal, it can do serious damage to the environment. Always take your used oil to an approved collection facility.

Next you’re going to need to purchase a replacement oil filter in addition to oil. Remember, changing your oil and your oil filter go hand-in-hand. If you change the oil, but not the filter, it’s a waste of time. Check your owner’s manual for the exact filter and oil requirements. There are many different brands of oil filters and oils on the market. It’s no secret, there are many schools of thought regarding which is best. I’ll save that debate for another article.

As for tools, you’ll need ramps or jack stands to elevate your Mustang so you can access the oil filter and drain plug beneath the vehicle. You’ll also need something to securely block off the rear tires if you use ramps. In addition, having an oil filter wrench on hand can assist in the process.

Before you begin your work, you’ll need to drive your Mustang onto ramps or elevate it onto jack stands. Use caution with ramps as many standard size ramps are angled too steep for Mustangs, which are already low to the ground. Rhino Ramps are a good alternative for most Mustangs. Put blocks behind the tires to prevent the wheels from rolling back.

You Need

  • Replacement Oil Filter
  • New Oil
  • Large-Diameter Oil-Drain Pan (6-7 Quart Capacity)
  • Approved Oil Transport Container
  • Ramps or Jack Stands

Recommended

Time Required

1 Hour

03
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Loosen the Oil Cap

Photo by Glen Coburn

Open the hood and loosen the oil cap on the engine compartment.

Tip: Lay down newspaper in your work area beneath the vehicle. This will help to catch any accidental spills.

04
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Loosen Oil-Drain Plug

Photo by Glen Coburn

Locate the oil-drain plug and position your oil-drain pan beneath it. Then loosen the plug. Dirty oil will drain into the pan.

CAUTION: The oil may be hot if the engine was recently running! Use extreme caution. Try to avoid coming into direct contact with the oil.

05
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Drain Oil & Clean Frame

Photo by Glen Coburn

When the oil has completely finished draining, remove any excess oil on the body of the vehicle using a shop towel.

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Loosen Oil Filter

Photo by Glen Coburn

Locate the engine-oil filter. Position your oil-drain pan beneath it and use your oil-filter wrench to loosen the filter. Once loosened, you can spin the filter off by hand.

Tip: Examine the old filter. Make sure the old oil gasket came off when you removed the filter. If it didn’t, be sure to remove it. Then get your new oil filter, apply the new gasket to it, and lube the gasket up a bit using some new oil.

07
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Install New Oil Filter

Photo by Glen Coburn

Put the new filter into position. Using hand strength only, slowly twist the filter into place, making sure not to cross thread the filter. Make sure the filter is tight, but don’t over tighten it, as this can cause problems.

08
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Replace Oil-Drain Plug

Photo by Glen Coburn

Replace the oil-drain plug and once again check to make sure there is no oil on the body. Wipe away any oil you might see on the frame, etc.

09
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Add New Oil

Photo by Glen Coburn

Now, in your Mustang's engine compartment, put a funnel in the hole with the cap marked "oil". Make sure it's snug. Then pour in the proper amount of new oil. This will vary depending on your model of Mustang. Replace the oil cap.

10
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Check Your Oil Levels

Photo by Glen Coburn

Using your vehicle's oil dipstick, check the oil fluid level. Make sure it is within the recommended range. If it is, you can safely start the vehicle up. If not, first check to make sure the vehicle is on a level surface. Do not put extra oil in your vehicle immediately. First investigate to make certain the vehicle is truly low on oil. Overfilling your Mustang with oil can cause serious problems.

Tip: When you’ve completed your oil change, note the mileage and the date in your owner’s manual. These maintenance records will come in handy if you ever plan to sell your ride. They can also serve as a reminder of when it’s time to change your oil again.

You've finished changing the oil in your Mustang. Congratulations!

Note: This oil change was conducted on a 2002 3.8L Mustang. The location of both the oil filter and the oil-drain plug will vary depending on the model of Mustang.