How to Change the Oil on a 1998 Honda Civic

by Jhonna MoyeUpdated November 07, 2017
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Items you will need

  • Adjustable wrench

  • Oil drip pan

  • Oil drain plug gasket

  • Oil filter wrench

  • Oil filter

  • 5 qts. 5W-30 SAE engine oil

Honda Civic engines use standard engine oil to lubricate their moving parts and help dissipate heat. Since the oil is constantly exposed to high temperatures, it degrades over time and begins to lose it lubricating properties. In addition, the oil can become saturated with engine buildup and any dirt that has made it into the system. This buildup of debris and loss of the lubricating properties means that it no longer fully protects your engine and must be changed to prevent damage.

Locate the oil pan. On Honda Civics, it is located underneath the car behind the radiator and is almost dead center. It is a roughly rectangular metal box and is at the lowest part of the front of the car.

Place the oil drip pan under the oil pan.

Use the adjustable wrench to remove the oil drain plug. This is located on the driver's side of the oil pan towards the rear. It looks like a bolt head with six sides. Rotate the plug counterclockwise until it comes loose. The oil will start to drain from the pan. Allow oil to drain until no more comes from the oil pan.

Remove the drip pan from underneath the car and set aside.

Wipe off the oil drain plug and the hole in the oil pan into which it screws. Place the new gasket onto the drain plug and screw the plug into the oil pan. Finish tightening it with the adjustable wrench.

Locate the oil filter. It will be located directly above the oil pan. The filter is a stubby cylinder that is situated in the same direction as the oil drain plug. Place the oil filter wrench around the end of the filter and rotate counterclockwise until it breaks loose. Due to the confined space, it must be removed the rest of the way by hand.

Remove the gasket ring from the inside lip of the old filter. Ensure that it is free of debris and lubricate it with a small amount of clean oil. Place the gasket in the new filter; it should simply lie inside the open end of the filter.

Place the new filter where you removed the old one. There is a short bit of metal pipe in the middle of this area, so make sure that it goes into the center of the filter. Tighten the filter by turning clockwise as far as you can by hand, then tighten the rest of the way with the filter wrench.

Remove the oil filler cap located on the back, right-hand side of the engine block near the "A" in Honda. Place a funnel in the exposed tube and add 5 qts. of 5W-30 SAE engine oil. Remove the funnel and screw the filler cap back on tightly.

Pull the engine oil dipstick out. It is in front of the engine block, slightly left of center. Wipe the oil from the dipstick and insert it back in the tube. Pull it out again and ensure that the oil level is between the two dots drilled into the hole. Replace the dipstick into the tube.


Sometimes after filling the system with new oil, the oil level will be just slightly over the higher of the two dots on the dipstick. This should go down when the engine is started and oil is pulled into the new filter.


Do not change the oil when the engine is hot. You could receive serious burns from both engine parts and oil. Only change the oil when the car is completely level. If the car is not level, all the oil will not drain out. This will contaminate the new oil with dirty oil, as well as create a too-high level of oil in the system when the new oil is added.

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