How to change oil Nissan Pathfinder

Changing engine oil for a Nissan Pathfinder car can be an overwhelming task for an unprepared person, and stretch out for a whole day. Although the work can be done in just 30 minutes. I’m here to share my experience and secrets with you! Let’s start with a few words about the car.

The Nissan Pathfinder has a rich history with several generations:

  1. First Generation (1985-1995): Two-door SUV with a rugged, off-road design.
  2. Second Generation (1996-2004): Four-door SUV with improved comfort and handling.
  3. Third Generation (2005-2012): Redesigned with a modern look and added convenience features.
  4. Fourth Generation (2013-2022): More spacious, fuel-efficient, and technologically advanced.

Key advantages of the Nissan Pathfinder include:

  • Spacious and comfortable interior.
  • Advanced safety features.
  • Towing capabilities.
  • Off-road performance (especially in earlier generations).

How to Change Engine Oil on Nissan

Steps to Follow

Changing the oil is critical because it keeps the engine running smoothly. It removes dirt and debris that can damage the engine and helps improve fuel economy. Regular oil changes prolong the life of your engine, saving you money on repairs in the long run.
So, let’s define the basic steps for performing a car engine oil change.

Warm up the engine to operating temperature

Drain the used engine oil and remove the old oil filter

Install a new filter and fill with fresh oil

Check the oil level with a dipstick

By following these simple steps, you can service your car. Now let’s take a closer look at each of the steps, select the recommended oil and filter. At the end of this page I will answer possible questions.

Checking the quality of oil in Nissan

If your oil is dark and dirty, or if your car’s telling you it’s time for a service, you should change your oil as soon as you can. Driving with old oil can damage your engine.

Frequency (Interval) for Changing Engine Oil

Most cars need an oil change every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, but the Nissan Pathfinder can go up to 7,500 miles. But always check your manual. If you’re driving a lot of short trips, or in rough conditions, you may need to change it more often.

Poll: how often do you change your engine oil?

Vote how often you try to change your oil

Check the Engine Oil Level in Nissan Pathfinder

Checking the engine oil level involves verifying the amount of oil present in the engine to ensure it is at an appropriate level. It is important to check the oil level periodically as part of regular vehicle maintenance. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Park your vehicle on a level surface and ensure the engine is turned off.
  2. Open the hood of your car and locate the dipstick, which is usually marked with a bright-colored handle and labeled “Engine Oil.”
  3. Remove the dipstick from its tube by pulling it out.
  4. Wipe the dipstick clean using a cloth or paper towel to remove any existing oil.
  5. Reinsert the dipstick fully back into its tube.
  6. Pull out the dipstick again and observe the oil level on the end of the dipstick.
  7. The dipstick will have markings indicating the minimum and maximum oil levels. The oil level should ideally be between these two marks.
  8. If the oil level is below the minimum mark or significantly low, you may need to add oil to bring it up to the proper level. Consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for the recommended oil type and the correct procedure for adding oil.

A study conducted by General Motors (GM) in 1974 showed that lengthening the engine oil-change interval could reduce the frequency of automotive maintenance, the amount of oil required to service the car population, and the potential pollution problem resulting from the disposal of used oil.

Checking the engine oil level periodically is important for several reasons:

  1. Lubrication: Engine oil lubricates various components within the engine, preventing excessive friction and wear. Maintaining the proper oil level ensures effective lubrication and helps extend the life of engine parts.
  2. Cooling: Oil helps dissipate heat generated by the engine. Insufficient oil can lead to overheating and potential damage to engine components.
  3. Monitoring Oil Consumption: By checking the oil level regularly, you can monitor the rate at which your engine consumes oil. If you notice a significant decrease in oil level between checks, it may indicate an underlying issue that requires attention.
  4. Early Detection of Problems: Visual inspection of the oil level can reveal signs of oil leaks or excessive oil consumption, which may indicate mechanical issues or malfunctioning components. Detecting problems early can prevent more extensive damage and costly repairs.

Visual (Express) Assessment of the Condition of Engine Oil in Nissan Pathfinder

A visual assessment of engine oil involves examining its appearance to determine its condition. You can perform a simple visual inspection to get an idea of the Nissan oil’s health. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Park your vehicle on a level surface and ensure the engine is off.
  2. Open the hood and locate the dipstick for checking the engine oil level.
  3. Remove the dipstick and wipe it clean with a cloth or paper towel.
  4. Reinsert the dipstick fully and then remove it again.
  5. Observe the color and consistency of the oil on the dipstick.
The result of a visual examination of used and new engine oil on a sheet of paper.

During the visual assessment, you should look for the following indicators:

  1. Color: Fresh engine oil is typically amber or light brown in color. As it ages and accumulates contaminants, it becomes darker.
  2. Consistency: The oil should have a smooth and uniform texture. If it appears gritty or contains metal particles, it may indicate potential engine problems.
  3. Clarity: Clean engine oil is transparent or slightly translucent. If the oil appears cloudy or murky, it may suggest the presence of contaminants or water contamination.
  4. Odor: Fresh engine oil usually has a mild petroleum smell. If you detect a burnt or strong odor, it could signify issues with the engine or oil breakdown.

Preparing to Change Engine Oil in Nissan Pathfinder

Necessary Steps

Before changing the engine oil, make the following preparations:

  1. Gather tools and materials such as a drain pan, new oil filter, fresh oil, and wrench/socket set.
  2. Ensure you have the correct oil type and amount specified for your Nissan Pathfinder.
  3. Park the vehicle on a level surface and engage the parking brake.
  4. Allow the engine to cool down completely.
  5. Raise the vehicle safely using a jack and secure it with jack stands.
  6. Locate the oil drain plug and oil filter for easy access during the oil change.
  7. Create a clean and organized workspace.

Components to Change with Oil

When changing the Nissan’s engine oil, it’s essential to replace the following components:

  1. Oil Filter: Install a new oil filter to maintain optimal filtration.
  2. Oil Drain Plug Washer: Replace the washer to prevent leaks and ensure a proper seal.
  3. O-Rings or Gaskets: If present, replace worn or damaged O-rings or gaskets associated with the oil filter or drain plug.

Recommended Oil Type for Nissan Pathfinder

To determine the correct oil type for your car, refer to the owner’s manual or consult an auto parts store. The recommended oil type varies depending on the vehicle’s specifications.

Choosing Oil for Season and Conditions

When choosing oil for your Nissan based on season and operating conditions:

  • Consult the owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Consider factors like temperature range, viscosity, and oil performance ratings.
  • Opt for multi-viscosity oils or specific formulations designed for extreme temperatures or severe conditions.
  • Take into account your typical driving environment, such as city, highway, or off-road.

Note: The information provided is general guidance. Always refer to the owner’s manual and follow manufacturer recommendations for your specific vehicle.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Types of Oils for Nissan Pathfinder

When it comes to different types of oils for the Nissan Pathfinder, there are a few options available. Here are the advantages and disadvantages:

  1. Conventional Oil:
    • Advantages: Widely available, affordable.
    • Disadvantages: Less heat resistance, shorter lifespan.
  2. Synthetic Oil:
    • Advantages: Offers better heat resistance, longer lifespan, and improved engine protection.
    • Disadvantages: Higher cost compared to conventional oil.
  3. Synthetic Blend Oil:
    • Advantages: Combines some benefits of both conventional and synthetic oils, such as improved heat resistance and affordability.
    • Disadvantages: May not offer the same level of performance as full synthetic oil.
  4. High-Mileage Oil:
    • Advantages: Designed for older vehicles with high mileage, contains additives to condition seals and reduce oil consumption.
    • Disadvantages: Can be more expensive than conventional oil.

It’s important to consider your vehicle’s specific requirements, manufacturer recommendations, and your driving habits when choosing the right oil for your Nissan Pathfinder.

Engine Oil

Generation (Year)EngineSuitable ViscosityPopular American BrandsRequired Oil Amount
1st Gen (1985-1995)V6, V810W-30Castrol ($23/5quart)
Quaker State ($29/5 quart)
5 quarts
2nd Gen (1996-2004)V65W-30Castrol ($29/5 quarts)
Valvoline ($29/5 quarts)
Mobil 1 ($27/5 qarts)
4.5 quarts
3rd Gen (2005-2012)V6, V85W-30, 5W-20Mobil 1 ($33/6 quart)
Castrol ($28/5 quart)
5.5 quarts
4th Gen (2013-2022)V60W-20Mobil 1 ($29/5 quart)
Royal Purple ($38/5 quart)
5 quarts
Table with recommended engine oil for Nissan Pathfinder

Note: The information provided is a general guideline. Always refer to the owner’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for your specific vehicle.

Oil Filter

Generation (Year)EnginePopular Brands of Oil Filters (USA)Catalog Number
1st Gen (1985-1995)V6, V8Fram, Bosch, K&N
2nd Gen (1996-2004)V6FRAM ($5), Purolator ($10), Mobil 1 ($12)PH6607, PL14612, M1-108A 
3rd Gen (2005-2012)V6, V8FRAM ($9), WIX ($10)XG7317, 57356XP 
4th Gen (2013-2022)V6Mobil 1 ($12), FRAM ($9)M1-108A, XG6607 
Table with suitable oil filters for different engines and year of manufacture Pathfinder

Note: Ensure to check the specifications and compatibility of the oil filter with your Nissan Pathfinder’s engine.

Necessary Tools and Conditions

Tools and conditions needed for an independent engine oil change for the Nissan Pathfinder:

  1. Tools:
    • Socket set or wrenches
    • Oil filter wrench
    • Drain pan
    • Funnel
    • Oil filter
    • New oil
    • Rag or paper towels
    • Jack and jack stands (for lifting the vehicle, if necessary)
  2. Conditions:
    • Adequate space to work safely and comfortably
    • Safety glasses and gloves for protection
    • Proper disposal methods for used oil and oil filters

How to Warm Up the Engine Pathfinder before Changing the Oil

To properly warm up the Nissan engine before changing the oil:

  1. Start the vehicle and let it idle for about 5-10 minutes.
  2. This allows the engine oil to reach its operating temperature, making it easier to drain and ensuring better flow.

Note: Be cautious of hot engine components and avoid touching them directly to prevent burns.

Step-by-Step Instruction

Here is a step-by-step instruction for beginners to change the Nissan Pathfinder’s engine oil:

  1. Park the vehicle on a level surface and engage the parking brake.
  2. Warm up the engine as mentioned previously.
  3. Open the hood and locate the oil filler cap and oil drain plug.
  4. Place the drain pan beneath the oil drain plug.
  5. Unscrew the oil drain plug using the appropriate tool and let the old oil drain completely.
  6. While the oil is draining, locate the oil filter and use an oil filter wrench to remove the old filter.
  7. Apply a thin layer of new oil to the gasket of the new oil filter.
  8. Install the new oil filter by hand, tightening it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  9. Clean the oil drain plug and reinstall it, ensuring it’s tightened properly.
  10. Use a funnel to pour the recommended amount and type of new oil into the engine through the oil filler opening.
  11. Replace the oil filler cap.
  12. Start the engine and let it run for a few minutes, checking for any leaks.
  13. Turn off the engine and wait a couple of minutes for the oil to settle.
  14. Check the oil level using the dipstick, adding more oil if necessary to reach the recommended level.
  15. Dispose of the used oil and oil filter responsibly.
  16. Reset the oil change reminder or maintenance light, if applicable.

The entire process may take around 30-60 minutes, depending on your experience and familiarity with the task.

Replacing Transmission Fluid in Automatic Transmission

Frequency of Changing Transmission Fluid

The frequency of changing the transmission fluid in an automatic transmission can vary. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Regular Service: Typically, it’s recommended to replace the transmission fluid every 30,000 to 60,000 miles or every 2 to 4 years for regular service. However, it’s best to consult the owner’s manual or manufacturer’s recommendations for the specific interval for your Nissan Pathfinder.
  • Severe Conditions: If you frequently drive in severe conditions such as towing heavy loads, driving in hot climates, or stop-and-go traffic, you may need to change the transmission fluid more frequently. Severe conditions can cause the fluid to degrade faster, so it’s important to monitor the fluid’s condition and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Various factors can affect the frequency of transmission fluid changes, including driving conditions, vehicle usage, and the type of fluid used. Always refer to the owner’s manual or consult with a professional mechanic for specific recommendations.

Choosing Transmission Fluid for Nissan Pathfinder

When selecting transmission fluid for your Nissan Pathfinder, it’s crucial to use the appropriate type recommended by the manufacturer. Here is a table outlining the transmission fluid selection for different generations of the Nissan Pathfinder:

Generation (Years)EngineFluid AmountPopular US Brands
1st Gen (1985-1995)V6, V89 quartsValvoline ($26/Gallon), Castrol, Mobil 1, ACDelco ($34/Gallon)
2nd Gen (1996-2004)V68 quartsACDelco ($34/Gallon), Pennzoil, Mobil 1, Castrol
3rd Gen (2005-2012)V6, V810 quartsValvoline ($26/Gallon), Royal Purple, AMSOIL
4th Gen (2013-2022)V69 quartsValvoline ($26/Gallon), Castrol, Mobil 1, ACDelco ($34/Gallon)
Table of recommended transmission fluid for different engines and years of manufacture

Note: Ensure to check the owner’s manual or consult with a professional mechanic for the exact fluid type and specifications for your Nissan Pathfinder.

Required Tools

Here are the tools and conditions you’ll need to replace the transmission fluid in a Nissan Pathfinder automatic transmission:

  • Transmission fluid suitable for your specific Pathfinder model
  • Funnel
  • Fluid catch pan
  • Socket set or wrenches
  • Jack and jack stands (if necessary)
  • Safety glasses and gloves
  • Properly ventilated workspace
  • Rags or paper towels for cleaning spills

It’s important to ensure you have the correct transmission fluid and the necessary tools before starting the transmission fluid replacement process.

Step-by-Step Instruction

Here is a step-by-step instruction guide for beginners on changing the transmission fluid in a Nissan Pathfinder automatic transmission:

  1. Park the vehicle on a level surface and engage the parking brake.
  2. Place the fluid catch pan beneath the transmission fluid pan to catch the old fluid.
  3. Use a socket set or wrenches to remove the bolts securing the transmission fluid pan.
  4. Gradually loosen the bolts, allowing the fluid to drain into the catch pan.
  5. Once the fluid has drained, remove the remaining bolts and carefully lower the pan.
  6. Clean the pan thoroughly with a rag or paper towels, removing any old gasket material.
  7. Locate the transmission fluid filter and replace it with a new one.
  8. Install the new filter securely.
  9. Clean the transmission pan mating surface, ensuring it is free of debris.
  10. Install a new gasket onto the pan, ensuring proper alignment.
  11. Carefully raise the pan back into position and hand-tighten the bolts.
  12. Use a socket set or wrenches to tighten the bolts in a crisscross pattern to the manufacturer’s specifications.
  13. Locate the transmission fluid dipstick and remove it.
  14. Insert a funnel into the dipstick tube and pour the appropriate amount of new transmission fluid into the transmission.
  15. Check the fluid level using the dipstick and add more fluid as necessary.
  16. Replace the dipstick and start the engine.
  17. Allow the engine to idle and the transmission to warm up.
  18. While the engine is running, shift through each gear, pausing briefly in each gear before returning to Park.
  19. Check the fluid level once more and adjust if needed.
  20. Clean up any spills and properly dispose of the old fluid.
  21. Ensure all bolts are tightened securely and the fluid catch pan is removed from under the vehicle.

The entire process may take approximately 1-2 hours, depending on your experience and familiarity with the task.

Possible Questions after Nissan’s Self-Service

What Problems Can Arise after an Incorrect Self-Changing Engine Oil?

After an incorrect self-changing engine oil, several problems can occur:

  1. Insufficient Lubrication: Using the wrong type or amount of oil can lead to inadequate lubrication, causing increased friction and potential engine damage.
  2. Oil Contamination: If the oil is not properly drained or if contaminants are introduced during the oil change, it can lead to oil contamination. Contaminated oil can result in reduced engine performance and potential engine damage.
  3. Leaks: Improperly installed oil filters or drain plugs can cause oil leaks, leading to a loss of oil and potential engine damage if not addressed.
  4. Overfilling or Underfilling: Incorrectly measuring or adding the oil can result in overfilling or underfilling the engine. Overfilling can cause excess pressure and foaming, while underfilling can lead to insufficient lubrication.

It’s crucial to follow the correct procedures and use the recommended oil type and quantity to avoid these problems.

How Can I Check for Engine Oil Leaks after Changing It Myself?

To check for engine oil leaks after changing it yourself, follow these steps:

  1. Park the vehicle on a clean and level surface.
  2. Allow the engine to run for a few minutes to warm up.
  3. Inspect the areas around the oil filter, drain plug, and oil pan for any signs of oil drips or wetness.
  4. Use a clean rag or paper towel to wipe around these areas, checking for any fresh oil residue.
  5. Pay attention to the underside of the vehicle, particularly around the oil pan and engine components.
  6. Observe the oil level on the dipstick to ensure it remains stable and within the recommended range.
  7. If you notice any leaks or abnormalities, it’s important to address them promptly. Double-check the installation of the oil filter and drain plug and consider seeking professional assistance if needed.

How to Reset the Oil Change Counter on Nissan Pathfinder after Service?

To reset the oil change counter on a Nissan Pathfinder after service, follow these steps:

  1. Turn the ignition switch to the “ON” position without starting the engine.
  2. Press the trip odometer reset button until “Maintenance” or “Reset” is displayed on the instrument cluster.
  3. Press and hold the trip odometer reset button for about 10 seconds until the display starts flashing or the counter resets to zero.
  4. Release the button and turn off the ignition.
  5. The oil change counter should now be reset, indicating that the maintenance reminder has been cleared.

Note: The specific procedure may vary slightly depending on the model year and trim level of your Nissan Pathfinder. Refer to the owner’s manual for detailed instructions.

What to Do with Old Oil after Replacement?

After self-replacement of engine oil, it’s important to properly dispose of the old used oil. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Collect the used oil in a clean, leak-proof container. Many auto parts stores or service stations accept used oil for recycling. Check with your local recycling centers or automotive retailers for drop-off locations.
  2. Avoid mixing the used oil with other fluids or contaminants. Keep it separate to maintain its recyclability.
  3. Do not pour the used oil down drains, into the ground, or dispose of it with regular household waste. Improper disposal can harm the environment and is illegal in most jurisdictions.

Remember to follow local regulations and guidelines for disposing of used oil in an environmentally responsible manner.

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