Saturday, August 20, 2016

2014/2015/2016 SkyActiv Mazda3 Oil Capacity & Change Procedures

Things needed for a 2014/2015/2016 SkyActiv Mazda 3 oil change: 5 quarts 0W-20, 6 quarts if you've got the 2.5L motor and are a "top of dipstick" kind of person.  A Wix 57002 filter.  An 8mm wrench or socket, an 8mm hex driver (or Allen wrench), and a medium flathead screwdriver.

Read on for what the oil change process involves.  But that's probably what you wanted to know, isn't it?

Why am I doing a writeup on a 2015 Mazda 3 oil and filter change on a blog focused on electric bikes, solar, and small electronics?  Because I hate Tap-A-Talk full screen annoyances and car forum mobile themes, that's why!  It's rather off in the weeds for my blog, but it took a bunch of searching and a phone call to the dealership (including waiting on hold) to find this information when I went to pick up oil for my car without the actual car.  Hopefully this remains helpful for people going forward.

Fluid Capacities and Specifications

It's a new Mazda.  These quantities get you about halfway up the dipstick - 5qt on the 2.5 with oil filter replacement isn't top of the dipstick, so buy accordingly.

A quick summary of oil capacities:
SkyActiv-G 2.0, with oil filter: 4.2L, 4.4 US qt, 3.7 Imp qt.
SkyActiv-G 2.0, without oil filter: 4.0L, 4.2 US qt, 3.5 Imp qt.
SkyActiv-G 2.5, with oil filter: 4.5L, 4.8 US qt, 4.0 Imp qt.
SkyActiv-G 2.5, without oil filter: 4.2L, 4.5 US qt, 3.8 Imp qt.

And, as far as oil, 0W-20.  Period.  For all temperatures.

Unless you live somewhere that isn't the United States, Canada, or Puerto Rico.  Then use 5W-30.

Tools Needed

In addition to a jack and two jackstands, you'll need an 8mm wrench, an 8mm hex driver (an Allen wrench probably isn't long enough for the torque needed), and a small flathead screwdriver.

Removing the Aero Cover

The first step in changing the oil is to drain the oil - which, for the Mazda 3, requires getting to the oil drain.

You'll need to jack the front of the car up.  You might be able to get away with just lifting the passenger side, but I lifted both sides and put them on jackstands.

The oil drain cover is on the right side of the car, towards the rear of the engine aero shield.  It looks like this.  The right cover has two 8mm bolts in the front, and a single Mazda Push Clip (no idea what they're actually called, but it's the same thing Mazda has been using for decades) towards the rear.

Ignore the other access ports closer to the front of the car.  They're not for oil.

The Mazda Push Clip

It's worth going into a bit of detail about what this Mazda Push Clip is, how to get it out, and how to avoid shattering it into a million pieces.

This is the clip, installed, from the bottom.

And this is the clip, removed from the car and open.

To remove the clip, you have to pull the stem out.  This is most easily done with a flat head screwdriver, a warm clip, and patience.  It's not bad now - but in 20 years, these clips will shatter if you look at them wrong.

There's no good way to deal with them in the winter either, other than to let them warm up.  I'd avoid working with them below about 40F, if at all possible.

The Drain Plug

With the access panel out of the way, it's time for the drain plug.  Which is an 8mm hex head.  Not a standard bolt.  Why?  No clue!

You may be able to use an Allen wrench, but it's unlikely - someone probably used a 1/2" impact driver to put the thing on, in violation of all the torque specs on the planet.

In any case, this is what it looks like if you need a reference.

Double check that the crush washer came off with the drain plug!  If not, go find it.

It's likely to be stuck against the head rather tightly, and look like it's part of the bolt.  Make sure it's there, otherwise you'll have an oil leak on your hands, and won't notice it until you've filled your aero cover and made a huge mess.

I'm obligated to inform you that you should replace the crush washer every time you replace the drain plug.  I don't know anyone who actually does that, myself included, but you should.

One nice perk of the drain plug is that it's likely to stay on the hex driver when it comes free - so, if you do it right, less fishing around in the drain pan for a drain plug in a bath of hot oil.

Interestingly, what looks like a magnet on the end of the plug doesn't appear to be magnetic at all.

Now is a good time to eliminate your problems with crush washers and hex wrenches for the rest of the life of your car.

If you install a Fumoto F-106 (easily found on eBay) valve, you never need to mess with a drain plug again!  They're a neat little valve that pops open to drain the oil - install once, tighten, and you're set for life.  They're all sorts of awesome, and if you do your own oil changes, they're totally worth the cost.

Oil Filter

The filter is not my favorite configuration (sideways with nothing under it), but it's close - vertical with nothing under it.  Loosen it with your hand or a filter wrench, wait for it to drain a bunch, then take it off.  It's a cute little thing.

You can do the filter and the main oil drain at the same time.  A normal size drain pan will catch both.

The replacement oil filter is, sadly, small and cute.  This is a good reason to buy a high end filter - there's simply not that much space for filter media in there.  I'm a fan of Wix (or, identically, NAPA Gold).

Before you put the new filter on, make sure the old filter has the O-ring gasket around the outside.  If it doesn't, go pull it off the engine, or you'll have a serious oil leak.

Then lubricate the new rubber o-ring with some fresh oil, and while you're at it, fill the filter most of the way up.

It's... still tiny.  I like big oil filters, ok?

Refilling with Oil

I strongly suggest putting a few quarts of oil in, and possibly all of it, and probably starting the engine and letting it circulate, before you put the aero shield back on.  You won't see a small leak until it's made a huge mess otherwise.

The oil fill looks like it's no fun, right?  Deep, recessed, dusty...

Nothing like those old 1980s oil fill caps where it was just there, sticking out, above the engine, easy to fill without making a mess, right?

Have I got a deal for you!

Grab the engine cover, pull up (it's held on by 4 friction-fit things), and you get rewarded with an 80s style oil fill cap!  Cram a few paper towels around it, and, boom.  Easy!

Reinstalling the Aero Shield

Did I mention that you should start the engine and check for leaks before you put this back on?  If not, I'm mentioning it again.  You won't find a small leak on top of this shield until it's made an amazing mess.

The front of the shield goes in first.

Then lift the rear and put the Mazda Push Clip in place.

Press the center firmly into position - it should be flush with the surrounding ring.

Then replace the two 8mm bolts and you're done!

Total time should be around an hour.  Less if you've done a bunch of oil changes.

Let me know in the comments if this has been helpful to you!


  1. The Mazda3 is such a beautiful car to look and drive, i hope we get EV version soon!

  2. This was very helpful Russell. Thanks for taking the time to write it up.

  3. I am curious what you're waiting on to get a plug-in car, either EV or PHEV. Long range needs?

    1. When we bought the Mazda 3, we had no way to charge an EV, and our relationship with our landlord had calmed down from "adversarial" to "we leave each other alone and send rent checks." I didn't feel like either charging with a 110v extension cord in the rain or having to talk to the landlord again to try and get a charging circuit installed.

      At this point, it's mostly that we have a perfectly good paid-off car. The power from my panels is down by my office, which is a good distance from the house, and the path down to my office requires 4WD to get out on occasion (I walk, and my truck has 4WD, so not a problem).

      I'll probably pick up a beater Leaf at some point, but 60+ mile days are a regular thing out here, and moving a car seat between cars multiple times a day would get old in a hurry. If it's just me, I mostly take an ebike anyway.

    2. Big fan of your website. My only suggestion to the above guys who are suggesting an EV and you is to look at the ford C-max energi. I am looking for one to get. Ridiculously cheap used. 20k miles and 2 years old can go for like 14-15k, or new for about 25k after rebates. The kicker is that you can get about 20-25miles on ev mode alone (speed does not cause the vehicle to go into gaser mode, range does) and still gets a respectable 40+mpg combined as a gaser. I am basically in your shoes, I have to get something like a family car to haul my kid and still be conscious of cost and environment. The C-max uses lithium packs not nicad like to toyota. 8 year warranty on them as well. Also for the oil, Ford and Mazda had years worth of partnership. Accross the entire line of these two vehicles 5-20 is recommended due to tolerances, the only down side is that 0-20 is harder to find. 5-20 will work just fine in that engine as well. Wonderful engines the skyactive engines.

  4. I am curious what you're waiting on to get a plug-in car, either EV or PHEV. Long range needs?

  5. Hi, there. Came across your blog upon searching the oil change process for my 2016 s Touring I just bought at the end of August. I hadn't changed the oil in this one yet and I've never owned a Mazda so this was very helpful for me. On my 2016, I found 3 push clips needed to come out, but everything else was the same, of course. I had a hard time getting my wrench on the filter because of the rest of the aero cover. It definitely would have been easier if it were sideways, I'm with you there. The push clips were way more annoying going back in than coming out, at least in the cold. Anyway, thanks for the info. The specs and the info about the aero cover made this process much easier.

    1. P.S. I did just fine lifting just the passenger side. Not my preference, but my floor jack wouldn't reach the jack point on the front crossmember without more effort than I was willing to put forth.

  6. Just changed the oil in my Mazda 3 for the first time and this writeup was helpful, thanks! I found it was not necessary to remove the push clip and instead used it as a hinge to rotate the cover out of the way. It took just a bit of wiggling to align the overlapping edges of the cover to the edges of the aero shield to be able to rotate it out of the way and then back over once the job was done.
    Hopefully this tip can save some struggle to pull out that push clip since it turns out not to be necessary. Pulling it out also risks damage to the clip.

  7. I changed the oil in my girlfriend's 2016 mazda 3 for the first time today. This post saved me pulling off random aero covers looking for the drain and filter. Thanks.

  8. Where did you place the jack stands? Im planning to do this in the summer but I'm stumped on where to place the stands. If you had any pics that would be great. Thanks!

    1. I generally jack and put jackstands under suspension members. Just look around behind the aero shield and there are plenty of places to lift and support from.

  9. Do I need to replace the whole drain plug bolt along with the gasget every time I do an oil change?

    1. Nope! The drain plug bolt should last the life of the car. You should replace the crush washer every time, though nobody does - perhaps every few years, you might consider replacing it.

    2. Thank you Russell! Do you happen to know the size of it?

  10. I recommend upgrading the drain bolt to a regular hex head, think I got mine at autozone, it has a 13mm head. Fumoto is a good idea but one negative I have heard of is that the end that threads into the pan can leave some oil behind which can lead to sludge at the bottom of the oil pan. I doubt its a common issue but I rather not risk it personally.

  11. I changed the oil and filter on my 2016 Mazda 3 Sport. I took the plastic cover off to expose the filter and drain plug. I went to Pep Boys and bought a 66/67 mm wrench to fit a recommended oil filter 6607 and 5 gallons of 0-20 synthetic. I found that the wrench that I bought was s bit too small and wouldn't fit the filter on the car. I went back to get a larger wrench but they were all too large so I bought a strap one that fits all but it kept slipping.
    I went on line and found that I needed a 68 mm wrench but a couple of other auto stores didn't have one- non popular and a special order. So I went to a Mazda dealer to buy one only to find out that they don't sell them. I asked to see the factory filter and it was 1 mm larger in diameter. Some poster said that they want you to get your oil and filter changed by the dealer and is why they have 68 mm filter and no wrench - not nice.
    I went back to Pep Boys and found two 3 finger wrenches that fit all but they didn't grab the 14 indentations on any filter. There was a wide 2 finger wrench that grabs by cutting into the metal canister/filter but it didn't slip - so what if I ruin the old filter if I can get it off?

    I put that 2 finger one (OEM cam action) on the stock filter and with a mallet I hit the end of the 3/8 ratchet to break the filter loose. I replaced it with the more available PH-6607 Fram filter changed the oil and finished in about 20 minutes not counting the hours spent looking for the 68 mm wrench that I didn't find. I am set and skinny enough that I only had to jack up the passenger side.

    Have fun.

  12. Great write up - thanks! Great tip on popping off the engine cover. I found some nesting materials under there, so it was good to get a look and clean that up.

    Other comments - on my 2015 Mazda 3 2.0L GT, there were two push nuts and two 8mm nuts holding the access panel in place. I think the 8mm nuts can also be turned with a Philips head screw driver. Jacking up just the passenger side of the car is acceptable.

    Also, as one could expect, the dealer-applied filter was ridiculously tight, so I had to get some filter tools from Harbor Freight. They sell a filter driver set and the smallest one will work with a 65mm filter (which is what the Mazda filters need). It's a combo, so I had to bang the socket onto the filter to get it to grab on the smaller sized filter faces. Once I had the socket firmly on the filter, I was able to crank it off with a breaker bar. Of course, the filter says right on it "Do Not Overtighten" (just like they all do).

    Lastly, the tip on filling the new filter with oil prior to installing is excellent - and perhaps that's why they orient the filter they way they do. It seems like it would be harder to fill it and install if it was oriented on a side-face (horizontally).