Drew is an authorized Amsoil dealer and a proud owner of a Nissan Titan 4X4 who wants to show others they can do their own car work at home.
Changing Engine Oil
Performing an oil change is a must-know for any home mechanic or DIYer and one of the first maintenance services you should learn. The process is similar for most automobiles today, save a few nuances depending on make, model, and year.
Here is an overview of the steps for a 2004-2010 Nissan Titan—for a more detailed guide, continue reading below.
8 Easy Steps for an Effective Oil Change
- Remove the access panel.*
- Remove the drain plug.
- Drain the oil.
- Remove the oil filter.
- Replace the access panel.*
- Remove the oil cap.
- Fill with oil.
- Replace the fill cap.
- Clean up.
- 3/8" ratchet wrench*
- 3/8" 14mm socket*
- 3/8" extension*
- 6.5 quarts of motor oil
- Proper oil filter
- Allen wrench
- Oil drain pan
- Filter wrench
- Paper towels or shop rags
- Gloves (if desired)
- Mechanic's Creeper, if handy
- 3-ton Hydraulic jack**
- Jack stands**
*A 14mm box end wrench can easily be substituted for the socket wrench and extension.
**You may not need a jack and jack stands. My 4x4 Titan can easily be slid under without jacking up the truck, but the 2x4 models may not have enough clearance.
Step 1: Remove the Access Panel
Take your Allen wrench and remove the four bolts holding the access panel to the skid plate. Place the panel, the four bolts, and your Allen wrench to the side and out of the way until later.
NOTE: Not all trucks will require this step. The Titan used for this example has the off-road package which includes the skid plate. If your Titan is not equipped with a skid plate, skip ahead to the next step.
Step 2: Remove the Drain Plug
On Titans with the off-road package, the plug is about six inches behind the back of the skid plate and towards the passenger side of the truck. The plug faces the front end, tilted slightly to the passenger side.
- Position your drain pan directly underneath the plug.
- With either your 14mm wrench or 14mm socket and extension, begin loosening the drain plug, but NOT all the way.
Step 3: Drain the Oil
- Finish removing the plug by hand. Be sure to keep your hand out of the way of the plug hole as you remove the plug. Hot engine oil can burn skin.
- I always examine the plug to ensure there are no metal filings on it (metal filings can be a sign of engine damage) and clean the old oil off.
- Allow the oil to completely drain (shouldn't take more than a few minutes).
- After all the oil has been drained, replace the plug. Tighten the bolt down with your 14mm socket, but DO NOT over tighten!
Step 4: Change the Oil Filter
- Return to the skid plate access panel. The oil filter is located towards the rear of the access port.
- Position your oil drain pan underneath the access port.
- Begin removing the oil filter (counter-clockwise). This can sometimes be done by hand, but if you are not able, a filter wrench or strap wrench can be used. The Titan is equipped with a drain 'trough' underneath the filter that allows any excess oil to flow down and out to the drain pan without making a mess (a feature I really like).
- Place the old oil filter down on your oil pan and allow it to drain out.
- Grab your new oil filter. Run a fingertip through some of your old oil, then run that oil around the rubber seal of your new filter. This helps ensure a proper seal when replaced. Now you are ready to install your new filter.
- Tighten the oil filter (clockwise) in the same location you removed the old filter. Get the filter hand tight, then go 1/4 a turn. Again, DO NOT over tighten.
Step 5: Replace the Access Panel
Now that you have replaced the drain plug and oil filter, you are now ready to replace the access panel to the skid plate.
- Position the panel at its original location
- Replace the four bolts back into their original locations and tighten down with your Allen wrench.
- You are now finished with all the work that needs to be done under your truck. Time to stand back up and work on your feet.
Step 6: Remove the Oil Cap on the Fill Neck
Step 7: Begin Filling With 6.5 Quarts of Oil
Step 8: Replace the Oil Cap
Step 8: Clean Up
- Now that you have changed your oil, dispose of your used oil and filter in an environmentally friendly manner. AutoZone, O'Reilly Auto Parts, and some other auto parts stores will recycle your old oil free of charge.
- Wipe off any of your tools that may have gotten oil on them during the oil change, and place them back in your toolbox.
- Take note of the day and current mileage. Be sure to replace your oil again within Nissan's recommended time interval (7,500 miles for a Nissan Titan).
Generally, I will start my truck and let it idle for a few minutes after changing the oil to ensure nothing leaks and everything is running smoothly.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: What weight of oil is needed for a Nissan Titan?
Answer: The Nissan Titan owner’s manual calls for 5w-30.
© 2010 Drew Bobbitt
pete on November 17, 2011:
I'd do 7 Quarts, most important of all- none of those FRAM stuff.
Elena from London, UK on October 25, 2010:
Very handy to know. Thanks.