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Toyota MR2 Oil Change

MR2 Fill new oil filter

This is a brief account of how I change the oil on my 1994 Toyota MR2 Mk2 Rev 3. My car's the 2 litre non-turbo model (3S-GE). I change the oil in my MR2 every 6000 miles, but you might want to change yours more frequently than this. This process takes me about half an hour. I'm certainly no mechanic, but I thought it might be helpful for others to see the basic process of an oil change on a Toyota MR2, with a few pictures. This is a really easy DIY job to do, and your car will thank you for it. Whether you've done upgrades to your MR2 before or are trying your first DIY job, the oil change is a job that can be done by most owners.

By the way, whenever you have the car jacked up, please use axle stands if you need to get under the car!

Tools Needed

  • Socket set. (Preferably with six-sided sockets).
  • 4.5 litres of new oil. 10w40 is the recommended stuff. I use Castrol GTX Magnatec, but you can use something more expensive if you win the lottery.
  • Oil filter. I use Champion oil filters as they're only a little more expensive than the basic ones and Champion oil filters seem to be highly regarded. The Champion oil filter you'll need for this is a Champion C138.
  • Oil filter remover (maybe).
  • Oil catch pan or something similar, to catch about 4 litres of old oil.
  • Sump nut washer gasket. I have to confess to using Ford Mondeo ones for this, which are a perfect fit.
  • Funnel.
  • Rags.
  • Jack and axle stand.

Annoyingly, oil is often sold in 4 litre containers, such as Castrol GTX Magnatec. Because some oil is still left in the engine when changing the oil, you might be able to get away with a 4 litre container. I have just done this emptying the engine when it was showing on the maximum level on the dipstick, and a 4 litre change brought it back to the mid point. I will top it up later.

UPDATE: When I last changed the oil, I used a four litre container of Castrol Magnatec which took the level to half way between min and max. Now, nearly six months later, it's still half way between min and max. So four litres is enough for me!

New oil and oil filter

Basic Instructions

MR2 Sump Plug Location

Oil Change Preparation

Run the engine for a few minutes to get the oil warm. This is so the oil flows out easier. Place the car on level solid ground, and remove the oil-filler cap also to help the old oil flow out. Park the car on an old sheet or something to protect your lovely garage floor from black oil stains.

Loosen the off-side rear wheel nuts and jack up the rear of the car. Now remove the offside rear wheel.

MR2 Oil Change Container MR2 Oil Filter Location

Drain Old Oil

You'll find the sump just below the wheel arch (see pic). The nut is on the side nearest the centre of the car (see pic).

Remove Sump Nut

Place the oil catch pan or container under the sump nut, and carefully remove the sump nut, letting the old oil drain into the container. Now panic because the oil is squirting over the edge of the container, and slide the container over a bit. Be careful not to drop the sump nut into the oil container or you'll a fun time fishing around in the black oil like I've done. The nut was a 9/16" on my MR2, but I think yours might be a 14mm. Please use a six-sided socket for this, as it could be a nightmare if you round off the sump nut. I use a special plastic oil container specially for catching the oil. (See pic). You can simply take this straight to the tip and empty it.

I replace the wheel with a couple of wheel nuts and lower the car so it's level at this point, so as much oil as possible drains out. Be careful not to squash your washing up bowl or whatever else is underneath the car when you lower it. Also be careful of the hot oil, and hot exhausts!

MR2 Sump Plug Washer Gasket MR2 Sump Plug Washer Gasket

Replace Sump Nut

Raise the car again, and remove the wheel. Clean up the sump nut and the surface it contacts with on the sump. Use the new washer/gasket and tighten it to ensure it doesn't leak. [Drain Plug] [Sump Plug]

MR2 Oil Filter Removal

Change Oil Filter

This is easily visible through the wheel arch (see pic). Remove the black plastic cover underneath the oil filter. I normally just remove the two front screws and bend it under the car. Place the oil pan under the filter area, and unscrew the oil filter. Oil will start to run down the side of the oil filter as you unscrew it, so do this quickly to minimise the mess. If the oil filter's too tight, you might need an oil filter removal tool, or bash something like a screwdriver or bradawl through it, to help lever it off. When the oil filter's removed and the old oil has drained out, clean up the surface where the filter makes contact to make sure it's perfectly clean and smooth to ensure a good seal. Now half-fill the new filter with new oil, and smear some oil round the rubber gasket on the top with your finger. Only half-fill the filter because you have to tip it sideways to replace it on the car. Screw the new oil filter on, until the rubber gasket makes contact with the car. Now screw it 3/4 of a turn more, which should be possible by hand. Make sure the sump nut and oil filter are wiped clean with a rag so you'll easily be able to see if they're leaking later.

MR2 Fill New Oil Filter MR2 Oil Filter Mounting
MR2 New Oil Filter Champion C138

Refill Oil

Replace the wheel, lower the car again, and tighten the wheel nuts. Re-fill the engine with the new oil. The engine should take 4.5 litres, but 4 litres seems enough to get to the bottom of the dipstick at this stage. I then run the engine briefly to circulate 4 litres of new oil and let it settle for 10 minutes. Then check it again, and top it up as necessary.

That's it! Run the car for a bit, then check the sump-nut and oil filter for oil leaks.

Hopefully that went OK, and you can be smug in the knowledge that you've done the job properly, and your engine is running sweetly on its fresh oil. Oh, and you saved a few quid by doing the job yourself!

Page Updated 21/07/09