How to Replace the Oil Pan Gasket on a Mazda Tributeby Paul VaughnUpdated November 07, 2017
Items you will need
3/8-inch drive ratchet
3/8-inch drive socket
Oil drain pan
Oil pan gasket
5 quarts of engine oil
Oil filter wrench
The Mazda Tribute has an internal lubricating system that is driven by an oil pump. The oil pump pressurizes the oil in the oil pan. The oil is moved through ports throughout the engine to lubricate all metal parts in the engine. The oil pump lasts for a long time--possibly the life of the vehicle. If the engine oil pump fails, the oil pan will have to be removed to access the pump. The oil pan has a gasket between the oil pan and the engine block that will have to be replaced when the gasket is removed. The engine oil and oil filter will also need to be replaced.
Allow the engine to cool down completely.
Position the oil drain pan under the oil pan. The oil pan is located under the vehicle directly under the engine block.
Remove the oil drain plug using the crescent wrench and turning counterclockwise. The drain plug is located on the left side of the oil pan when looking from underneath the vehicle.
Allow the engine oil to drain until there is just a slow drip into the drain pan.
Remove all the oil pan bolts using the ratchet socket combination and turning counterclockwise.
Remove the oil pan by hand. If the oil pan does not come loose, put pressure between the engine block and the oil pan with the gasket scraper. The oil pan will loosen when pressure is applied.
Clean all the sludge from the bottom of the oil pan so that the new oil is not contaminated.
Remove all the old gasket material from the oil pan and the engine block using the gasket scraper.
Remove the engine oil filter using the oil filter wrench and turning counterclockwise. The oil filter is located forward and above the oil pan.
Install the new oil filter by hand by turning clockwise. Turn the oil filter 1/2 to 3/4 more by hand turning clockwise.
Position the new gasket over the oil pan, lining up the holes in the gasket with the bolt holes in the oil pan.
Position the oil pan against the engine block so that the holes in the oil pan line up with the holes in the engine block with one hand. Start a bolt on each end of the oil pan with the other hand to hold the oil pan in place.
Reinstall all oil pan bolts by hand turning clockwise.
Tighten the oil pan bolts in an alternating pattern using the ratchet socket combination so that the gasket seats evenly.
Reinstall the oil drain plug using the crescent wrench and turning clockwise until tight.
Open the hood and locate the oil fill cap. The oil fill cap is located on the right valve cover. The cap has a yellow top with a picture of an oil can on it. Remove the cap by hand turning counterclockwise. Pour all 5 quarts of engine oil in the fill point and reinstall the cap turning clockwise.
Start the engine and allow it to come up to operating temperature. Check the oil pan for leaks. If there are leaks; the procedure will need to be repeated with a new gasket.
Locate the engine oil dipstick and pull the dipstick from the tube. Wipe oil from the dipstick and reinstall into the tube. Pull the dipstick again and make sure the oil level is at the full hot level. The dipstick is located to the rear of the right side of the engine near the firewall.
Make sure all the gasket material is removed. Any material left will cause leaks. Do not over-tighten the oil filter. Over-tightening the oil filter will damage the oil seal and cause leaks.
Do not attempt this procedure while the engine is hot. A hot engine will cause severe burns. Be careful when handling the oil pan. The edges are sharp and can cut you.
Paul Vaughn has worked in the auto and diesel mechanics field for 10 years and as public school automotive vocational teacher for five years. He currently teaches high school auto tech, covering year model vehicles as old as 1980 to as new as 2007.