DIY Oil Change on a Honda Pilot

by Jody L. Campbell

The Honda Pilot, a mid-size SUV, was introduced in 2003, replacing the old Honda Passport. It features a 3.5-liter V6 engine and uses 5W20 motor oil. Performing your own oil changes in your Honda Pilot is a rewarding chore for the motivated do-it-yourself person. Referring to the maintenance schedule for your Honda Pilot will teach you about mileage intervals and other easy repairs and checks that should be performed as well.


Find a flat, level surface to park your Pilot on so you can safely lift it. A paved driveway is highly recommended if you're lifting the Pilot with a jack and then placing it on jack stands. Car ramps are even better when performing an oil change and are relatively inexpensive. Run the engine for a couple of minutes to warm up the engine oil, lift it on the car ramps or jack stands and open the hood. Locate the oil fill cap on the valve cover and remove it. It will have an orange "5W20" stamped on it. This will create an air pocket that will allow the oil to drain from the pan quicker.

Draining the Oil

Crawl under the Pilot. Under no circumstances should you do so unless it is secured by jack stands or preferably in ramps. Do not use jacks as supports. Put on a pair of safety glasses so you don't get anything in your eyes. A pair of latex gloves is handy, too. Grab a metric wrench set--usually a 14-mm will work, an oil catch bucket, oil filter wrench, the new oil filter and a few shop rags. Locate the oil pan and remove the oil plug with the catch pan positioned strategically beneath it. While the oil is draining, locate the oil filter. Once the oil has drained to a slight trickle to drip, replace and tighten the oil pan plug. Remove the oil filter using the oil filter wrench and again placing the oil catch bucket beneath the filter. Make sure the rubber gasket is on the old filter, if not, it's still on the oil filter housing and needs to be removed. Rub a small amount of spent oil on the gasket of the new filter and hand tighten the filter only. Do not tighten it with the wrench. Wipe down any areas where oil has dripped using the shop rags, and crawl back out from underneath.

Refilling the Oil

Using a funnel in the oil fill neck will help prevent any spillage. Pour 4 quarts of 5W20 engine oil into the oil fill neck. Replace the oil fill cap and then start the Pilot up for 10-15 seconds. This runs oil through the oil pump, but also fills up the oil filter. Locate the orange handled dipstick near the oil fill cap. You'll be about a half quart low since the 3.5-liter engine takes four and half quarts. Add the 1/2 quart and recheck the dipstick. Once the oil level is correct, remove any tools from underneath and from inside the engine compartment, and lower the Pilot.

Resetting the Maintenance Required Light

Place the key in the ignition once the Pilot is back on the ground safely. Press the odometer trip button and hold it. Turn the key two clicks to the accessory position, or the key on-engine off position. Continuing holding the odometer trip button in until the "Maintenance Required" light flashes and then resets.

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