Decided to spend time w/my newly-met dad and do an oil change together on my 2014 Impreza Sport. I told him i want to do the work, myself, with his support. I'm fairly confident and have watched some youtube videos, but the manual does not specify steps (only to take to an authorized service center, which I did before and didn't like doing).

Here's what I've gathered - did I miss anything?

Also, do I need to "prime" the new filter, in any way (fill w/oil, smear oil on rim, something about a filter gasket...)? One video said yes (WRX); another didn't mention it ('15 impreza). EDIT: the filter instructs to wipe film of oil on filter gasket, says nothing of filling w/oil.


  • loosen oil filter (under hood, at top), keep in place
    • remove oil fill spout cap
    • jack up (or low-profile ramps), and safety jack
    • underneath: 17mm wrench, remove pan plug & washer, have low-profile oil catchment ready, drain oil, wipe plug, change washer
    • release jacks, drains further, clean dipstick
    • remove filter, carefully wipe filter landing pad (so nothing drops in), (EDIT: wipe film of oil onto new filter gasket), replace filter (etc?)
    • jack up, safety jack, replace oil pan plug & washer (not too tight!)
    • fill w/ 0w-20 synth oil, exact am't (5.1qts)
    • wait 10 mins, check level w/dipstick
    • if ok, replace oil fill plug
    • run engine a few mins before driving

I'm a frequent web user and have worked on past (very old) cars; however, new to asking on stackexchange and working on this car. Pls excuse noob missteps. (Like how the first LI is not aligned properly - was either that or no "listing format" at all)

TIA :)


  • Noob or not, great question and write-up. Shows you've done some research and are willing to learn. Thanks for being here. I hope you stick around and ask a bunch of questions in the future! Commented May 22, 2016 at 17:15
  • 1
    @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 - thanks so much for the encouragement!! I've gotten some great answers on this site over the years, and am happy to now be a member so I can ask questions and offer solutions! Oh! I just thought of another question! Ah! And another one!! This is so exciting!!! 😊
    – maria
    Commented May 23, 2016 at 16:47
  • @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 - I hate to post this here, since it's not about MV's, but you're an expert user and supportive to noobies ☺️.... how do I change my user name?? (&/or image) I've looked all over the app and the desktop site and can't find anything to let me do that. I can't find a "SE Community", or even a "how to" use the site, or an understandable, simple contact / feedback form. SE is seemingly unique, with "membership" to the individual sites within, and a different profile for each (kinda like meetup.com?) But, much harder for me to navigate (&, I'm usually pretty good at this stuff!)
    – maria
    Commented May 23, 2016 at 22:48
  • I think this link will take you there ... if it doesn't, come ask at The Pitstop for directions. That's our chat room which is a lot more free wheelin'. Commented May 23, 2016 at 23:23
  • Thanks, @Paulster2! The first link was dead (to me), and I signed up for The Pitstop. Looked around more, for user name change info and found nothing. Will ask there. Agh!
    – maria
    Commented May 24, 2016 at 0:45

2 Answers 2


Here are the instructions per your owners manual. If all else fails, go back to the manual ... you can almost never go wrong by doing so, especially if you still have warranty left on your vehicle.

NOTE: I'll throw some descriptive stuff in along the way to clarify things a little. What @rviertel has written is fairly good, but I have some contention with a few finer points.

  1. Warm up the engine by letting the engine idle for approximately 10 minutes to ease draining the engine oil.
  2. Park the vehicle on a level surface and turn the ignition switch to the "LOCK" (off) position.
  3. Remove the oil filler cap.
  4. Drain out the engine oil by removing the drain plug while the engine is still warm. The used oil should be drained into an appropriate container and disposed of properly.

When you are ready to drain the oil, jack the vehicle up and support it, using a jack stand if you have it. For safety reasons, it's not prudent to go under the car with just a hydraulic jack holding it up as it can fail at any time. If you don't have your car slammed to the ground, there may be enough ground clearance to drain the oil without jacking it up. If so, this would be far easier than any other method I can mention (I can do this with my truck).

  1. Wipe the seating surface of the drain plug with a clean cloth and tighten it securely with a new sealing washer after the oil has completely drained out.
  2. Remove the oil filter with an oil filter wrench.
  3. Before installing a new oil filter, apply a thin coat of engine oil to the seal.

When applying a thin film of oil on the filter seal, ensure you use clean oil.

  1. Clean the rubber seal seating area of the engine and install the oil filter by hand turning. Be careful not to twist or damage the seal.

While it doesn't happen very often, make sure the old seal came away with the old filter. If the old seal stays in place, there will be a huge oil spill and it will not seal.

  1. Tighten the oil filter by the amount indicated in the following table after the seal makes contact with the seating surface (The table states 1 rotation).

IIRC, the Subaru oil filter sticks out sideways from the engine (at least in the ones I've seen), which means there's no logical way to put oil into the filter during the oil change. Just one of those things.

Do not over tighten your filter. The reasons are plentiful, but mainly so the next time you pull the filter off, you can actually get it off without destroying the filter. Secondly, if you over tighten the filter, you can crush the washer and cause it to leak.

  1. Pour engine oil through the filler neck.

Your choice of oil is correct. I was surprised to find Subaru specifically states "0W-20 synthetic oil is the required oil for optimum engine performance and protection. Convention oil may be used if synthetic oil is unavailable." If the engine is completely drained, use 5.1 quarts of oil to refill.

  1. Start the engine and make sure that no oil leaks appear around the filter's rubber seal and drain plug.
  2. Run the engine until it reaches the normal operating temperature. Then turn the ignition switch to the "LOCK" (off) position and wait a few minutes to allow the oil drain back. Check the oil level again and if necessary, add more engine oil.
  • @Paulster2 - thanks so much for these details and for clarifying the info that's in my manual! Until you directed me there, I didn't see those pages specifying the procedure. I had found the line that said: "NOTE The procedure for changing the engine oil and oil filter should be performed by a properly-trained expert. It is recommended that you have this service performed by your SUBARU dealer" and since that was what was in bold, I completely overlooked the page reference above it! Very unlike me (I hope!) So, thank you!! Excellent, published-info-based, & self-clarified answer!! 😊 👍🏻
    – maria
    Commented May 23, 2016 at 17:55
  • Also, @Paulster2 - (& others who may be interested) - the oil filter in my 2014 Impreza is upright, alongside the top of the engine area, accessible by popping the hood. Yay! Unfortunately, my ground clearance is 5.9" (stock), so no chance of really getting under there and being productive. One video said to drive one side up onto a curb if no jack / stand was available.
    – maria
    Commented May 23, 2016 at 18:09
  • 1
    @user17506 you can lay on the ground and get to most oil drain plugs without jacking a vehicle but it's a PITA.
    – Ben
    Commented May 23, 2016 at 21:51
  • @Ben - really? Even as low as 5.9"? It seemed tight even up on the ramps! Do I fit my head under, or just an arm (how would I see?)? Plus, being female, well, there's certain parts of me that I wouldn't want shimmying up against the bottom of my car (actually, that's true for most parts of me). Haha! Thanks for the tip, tho! 🙂
    – maria
    Commented May 23, 2016 at 22:35
  • @user17506 yah you're pretty much just shoving your arm under the car feeling for the plug and getting a wrench on it. it's not recommended in any way unless theres some need.
    – Ben
    Commented May 23, 2016 at 22:38

It looks like you got most of the steps there but not all in the right order.

  1. Allow car to cool sufficiently so that the oil is not hot. This will make the rest of the job easier.

  2. Drive car onto low profile ramps and then block the rear tires so that it does not roll back. Put the car in park or in gear and apply the parking brake. Turn the car off. If you choose to jack up the car instead, first block the rear wheels, put the car in park, and apply the parking brake. Then jack up the front of the car from a safe location, Then use jack stands to secure the car.

  3. Remove drain plug and washer and allow oil to drain into a catch pan.

  4. Allow the oil to drain until it slows to a trickle.

  5. Place the oil catch pan below the filter and remove the filter. Allow the oil from the filter to fall into the catch pan.

  6. When most of the oil has stopped draining, replace the drain plug. Use a new crush washer. Torque the drain plug to specification.

  7. Put oil on the rim of the gasket on the new filter. This will help to keep it from leaking. Tighten the filter as tight as you can get it with your hand, but don't use the oil filter wrench to tighten it.

  8. Remove the fill cap and use a funnel to pour in the new oil. Use the oil weight that is recommended in your owners manual. Your car should take 5 quarts of oil.

  9. Replace the cap and check for any leaks under the car. Use the dipstick to check the oil level. Wipe off the oil the first time you remove it, then insert it back in and pull it out again. Check that the oil level is close to the fill level.

  10. If the car is on jack stands, then raise the car slightly with the jack again, remove the stands, then lower the car.

  11. Go into the car and start it up. Watch the oil light (it typically looks like an old fashioned oil can) If the oil light doesn't turn off within the first 5 seconds after you start the car then turn the car off, go check for leaks and check the oil level again.

  12. After starting the car, allow it to run for several minutes, check for leaks and check the oil level using the dipstick.

  13. Clean up. Put the oil in a container that you can seal up, and take it to a local parts store to recycle it.

In addition, I would recommend this video on how to properly jack up a vehicle


and this video on how to properly do an oil change


  • 2
    I sure like seeing that last step, take it to a local parts store to recycle it.
    – zipzit
    Commented May 22, 2016 at 17:01
  • @zipzit - yes!!!
    – maria
    Commented May 23, 2016 at 17:22
  • 1
    @rviertel - Thanks so much for a quick response and for clarifying my steps and adding very helpful info!! My dad had ramps so, after I pulled it up onto the ramps, I asked him for blocks to put behind the tires & told him I was gonna engage the brake. At first, he was like "really?", but I was like "Yes!" & pointed at my screen - haha! He was impressed!! Also, thanks for the two video links; they were extremely helpful (especially the one about jacking the car up). I subscribed to both channels. 👍🏻 I feel even more confident about working on my car, on my own if need be. Thank you! 🌟😊
    – maria
    Commented May 23, 2016 at 18:38
  • @user17506 awesome! both of those channels are very helpful. You'll be surprised at how much you can do on your own and how much money it will save you
    – rviertel
    Commented May 24, 2016 at 0:27

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