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Nissan Altima 2.5S L31 Engine Oil Change Guide
Step by step instructions with pictures for changing the motor oil in a 2002 to 2006 Nissan Altima 2.5S L31 sedan.

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2002 Nissan Altima 2.5S

 
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Pro Line 5W-30 Oil

 
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4 Ton Trolley Floor Jack

 

This guide is to assist owners of the Nissan Altima in the L31 generation which includes years 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006, to change the engine oil in the 2.5L or 3.5 Liter engines.

The manual recommends using 5W-30 motor oil for most climates or a thicker 10W-30 if you live in a tropical area. I bought the most inexpensive oil that I could find at Pep Boys since the precision engineered Japanese engines in this car and our Toyota Corolla don't require more expensive synthetic lubricants.

First I started the engine and pulled the front of the car into the garage to warm up the oil and suspend any pollutant particles.

Then I gathered up the 4.5 quarts of oil, a Purolator L14610 oil filter, a catch basin, a Craftsman 4 ton floor jack, a jack stand, a funnel, an oil filter wrench, and a 14mm socket or wrench.

Once the engine has reached operating temperature, switch it off, pop the hood, and jack up the passenger side of the car.

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Socket & Ratchet Set
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Engine Oil Capacity Chart
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Craftsman Jack Stands
Once I have raised the front passenger side of the car with the floor jack, I like to also place a jack stand there for added safety in case the floor jack fails. Now you can place the catch basin below the oil pan and remove the drain bolt with a 14mm socket and ratcheting wrench. I bought a box of 100 latex examination gloves on eBay for about $10 to use while changing the oil in our vehicles since used engine oil can be carcinogenic and they also make clean up a lot easier.
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Mother & Ducklings
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Ducklings Pose For Picture
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14mm Socket For Oil Plug
While I was waiting for all the old oil to drain into the catch basin, I heard a mother duck and her ducklings come waddling behind the car.
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Mobil 1 Oil Filter
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Nissan Altima Oil Pan
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After that amusing distraction, I took off the oil filler cap on top of the engine to allow the old oil to drain faster. Then I got below the car again and twisted off the old Mobil 1 oil filter by hand since I forgot I had bought the oil filter wrench. I lubed up the rubber seal on the new Purolator L14610 filter and hand tightened it in place.
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Oil Drain Bolt
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Old Oil In Catch Container
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Oil Filter Location
Once the flow of old oil slowed to an occasional drip, I screwed back in the 14mm drain bolt, checked the oil filter tightness, and wiped down the area with a rag.
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Twisting off old Filter
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Oil Filter Receptacle
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Purolator Filter L14610


 
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Lube New Filter O-Ring
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Hand Tighten New Filter
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Lower Car From Jack
Since the Nissan Altima 2.5S owner's manual calls for 4 1/2 quarts of oil with a filter change, I poured in four quarts of the PROLine oil with a funnel. Then I replaced the filler cap, started the engine, switched it off, and checked the dipstick level. The dipstick confirmed that the oil level was about a half quart low so I added the extra oil and checked the dipstick again.
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2.5 Liter Nissan I4 Engine
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Altima CVTC Motor
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Pouring Oil In Funnel
I wiped down the engine to remove any stray drips of oil and closed the hood. That's it, you're done. Just be sure to make a note of the mileage on the odometer in the car's service records. Also keep an eye out for oil leaks on the driveway that may be caused by a loose oil filter or drain bolt.
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Speedometer & Trip Meter
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80777 Miles Odometer
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Dipstick Oil Level
For more helpful vehicle maintenance guides check out the Nissan Altima Headlight Bulb Replacement Instructions, the K&N Air Filter Cleaning page, and the Car Interior Carpet Replacement page.
 
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