HowTune

Change The Oil on a Honda S2000

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The oil change is the classic example of how you can save a lot of money by doing the work yourself. A little extra care is needed to manage the low-profile nature of the S2k, but otherwise this routine maintenance procedure is relatively simple to do. In addition, once you've done it yourself you can rest easy that it's been done correctly - no stripped threads, wrong oil or leaking filters!

Note that this article was written for my 2003 AP1 S2000. There may be some minor differences for an AP2 model.

When to change your oil

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According to the AP1 owner's manual Honda recommends changing your oil every 7,500 miles or 3,750 miles under "Severe Conditions". Severe conditions apply if you drive your vehicle mainly under one or more of the following conditions: Driving less than 5 miles per trip (or less than 10 miles in freezing temperatures), Driving in extremely hot conditions (over 90 degrees F), extensive idling or long periods of stop-and-go driving, driving in mountainous conditions or driving on muddy, dusty or de-iced roads.

Collect your tools and parts

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Gather up everything you'll need (not pictured: Oil filter removal wrench, oil disposal container)

Jacking the car up

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For oil changes I like to use the center front jack point. The jack point is black steel with two protruding spots, as shown in the picture. My jack is not low-profile enough to fit underneath the car so I drive up on some low-profile ramps before I jack up the car. Your mileage may vary.

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Now that the car is raised you can rest the car on jack stands.

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Place the jack stands at the two side jack points at the front of the car, and carefully lower the car onto the jack stands. Always use jack stands! Your jack is built to raise and lower your car, not to keep it raised while you monkey around underneath.

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Add wheel chocks to the back wheels.

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Now give the car a good push and make sure it's nice and sturdy.

Draining the old oil

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Locate the oil drain plug bolt. It'll be pointing towards the passenger's side on a large piece of metal with ridges. Slide your cardboard and oil drain pan underneath the bolt.

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Get your 17mm socket or wrench on the bolt and break it free. In my experience it takes quite a lot of force but with enough elbow grease you'll do it. Be careful not to smack the underside of your car once the bolt is free. (If you run into too much trouble a breaker bar might be necessary although I've managed without resorting to one.)

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Now that the bolt is free carefully turn it by hand, making sure to hold on to tight so you don't drop it into your oil pan (although you wouldn't be the first home mechanic to do that). Once the bolt is removed the oil will start pouring out.

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Eventually the oil will turn from a flowing stream to a small trickle. At this point I always run a little bit (perhaps about a 1/4 of a quart) of new oil through to flush out the old stuff. Remove the oil cap, put in your funnel and pour in some of the new stuff.

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Removing the old filter

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While the oil finishes trickling out you can begin to remove the old filter. I use an oil filter removal wrench like this.

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Locate the oil filter - it's on the passenger side.

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Either from above or below grab on to the oil filter and turn it loose. You shouldn't need much force to break it free. Unfortunately when coming from above there's a wire in the way, so be careful not to damage it.

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Now that the filter is loose go ahead and add in some tin foil underneath the filter to catch any oil that might be released when you remove it.

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Carefully twist the filter off the engine by hand and remove it. It will be partially filled with oil so you'll want to avoid from tilting it. You'll also want to avoid dropping into your oil drain pan, which I can say from experience is not a good idea.

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Excellent - now we're ready to add in the new stuff.

Plugging up the oil drain plug

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Take your oil drain bolt and clean the threads with paper towels. Dirt in the threads could damage the oil drain plug on your car, which could lead to eventual leaks.

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Prepare the bolt by adding the new crush washer. The washer should have a smoothed off side and a sharp edged side. You want the sharp edge to meet flush with the car itself.

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Hand-tighten the oil drain bolt...

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...then use your torque wrench with the 17mm socket to apply 39 N m (29 lb ft) of torque. Be careful not to over-tighten the bolt!

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Installing the new oil filter

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First, you'll want to prepare the new filter. Get some of your new oil on your finger and run it alongside the rubber ring to lubricate it. Additionally add a small amount of new oil into the filter.

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Get the filter back on the car. The filter should be torqued to 22 N m (16 lb ft), however if you don't have the filter wrench you can go by the eight markings on the OEM filter. Once the filter is seated you should turn the filter 7/8ths of the way, using the eight markings on the filter itself. If you don't have an OEM filter you might want to make these marks ahead of time.

Adding the new oil

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Now you can begin to add in your new oil. First, locate the oil cap and dipstick

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The S2000 takes 5.6 quarts of oil total, but for an oil change you'll probably be replacing around 4.5 quarts. I start off by adding 4 quarts and then checking the progress. It's better to under-fill it and take a little extra time than to go overboard.

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Check the dip-stick level. For best results pull out the dip-stick, wipe it down with a paper towel, re-insert the stick and then pull it out again to check the level. You want the level to sit near the middle of the high and low lines. (You might need to check it a few times at first if the new oil is hard to see).

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At this point I add in a little bit of oil at a time and re-check the level until it lands near the sweet spot.

Finishing up

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Remove the oil drain pan and anything else underneath the car.

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Raise the car up on the front center jack point to remove the jack stands and wheel chocks, then lower the car.

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Now with the car level, check the oil one final time to make sure you're golden. Check underneath the car and make sure the oil drain plug isn't leaking - if so then it may not have been tightened enough.

Cleaning up

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Dispose of your used oil in a used oil receptacle. Most auto parts stores have recycling that will accept used motor oil.

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I recommend that you give your oil one final check the next morning and top it off if necessary.

  • Engine oil capacity total: 5.6 quarts
  • Oil drain plug bolt size: 17mm
  • Oil drain plug bolt torque setting: 39 N m (29 lb ft)
  • Oil filter torque setting: 22 N m (16 lb ft)

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