How to Drop the Oil Pan in a Nissan Altima

by ContributorUpdated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • Jack and jack stands

  • Oil drip pan

  • Wrench

  • Seal cutter

How to Drop the Oil Pan in a Nissan Altima. The Nissan Altima is a midsized or compact car. Vehicles made prior to 2001 were smaller, compact versions of the midsized vehicles available today. Nissan as produced the Altima since 1993. Current models dating after 2001 are commonly in need of replacing the oil pan when it is damaged. The common engine type here is the 2.5L engine.

Use a jack and jack stands to raise and support the vehicle following the manufacturer's requirements for using the jack and stands. Place an oil drip pan under the oil pan under the engine. The oil pan is located between the two front tires, about in the center of the engine.

Use a wrench to unscrew the engine oil pan plug at the back of the oil pan, and allow the engine oil to drain into the oil drip pan until no more is coming out. Replace the plug.

Go under the hood and locate the negative battery cable on the battery located at the front of the vehicle, on the left-hand side. Use a wrench to unscrew and remove the negative battery cable.

Remove the engine undercover, the front exhaust pipe and the power steering hose bracket that runs from the collector. Use a wrench to disconnect and remove the bolts holding them in place. Place the engine on an engine hoist, following the directions provided with the hoist. The engine should have support from above and below by the hoist and the jack stands.

Disconnect and remove the power steering pump and reservoir, auxiliary drive belts, air conditioner compressor, and the upper sway bar links by using a wrench to unscrew each of the bolts then gently pulling the item off. Follow this by removing the front and rear engine mount through bolts, lower ball joints and the two steering gear housing mounting bolts. The front suspension member bolts and front suspension member will need removal. All are removed in the same fashion, using a wrench.

Use a wrench to disconnect and remove each of the oil pan bolts located around the edge of the oil pan. Remove one bolt from the short end of the oil pan, facing the back of the vehicle and follow this with the removal of a bolt from the front of the oil pan. Crisscross back and forth first from back to front of the vehicle then from side to side until the removal of all 10 bolts.

Install a seal cutter between the aluminum oil pan and the steel oil pan. Use a hammer to tap the cutter while sliding it around the edge of the oil pan. Be very cautious not to damage the aluminum oil pan.


To remove the upper oil pan, dislodge and remove the steel oil pan, the oil pickup screen, the rear plate cover and the four bolts that run from the engine to the transmission. Finally, remove each of the oil bolts for the upper oil pan.

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