How To Change Your Oil In A Ford Focus

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Things for the oil change CC Image courtesy of cronewynd on Flickr

Things for the oil change CC Image courtesy of cronewynd on Flickr

The Ford Focus is one of the most popular vehicles on the road today, and it’s no surprise why: it’s economical, gets great mileage, and it still has that sporty flair.

One common issue we see with the Ford Focus owners and enthusiasts is that they like to save money and do basic repairs and maintenance themselves. Changing the oil in a Ford Focus is one of the most common maintenance questions we see.

To start, you’ll need to get your tools in order:

  • Socket Wrench
  • Oil Filter Cap Wrench or a small strap-type filter wrench
  • A funnel
  • Disposable rubber or latex gloves
  • Good quality floor jack and jackstands, or
  • Good quality drive-on ramps
  • A torque wrench
  • Oil Drain Pan
  • New Oil Filter
  • 4 1/2 qt. 5W-20 Oil
  • Paper Towels

Now, first things first. Run the engine until it’s warm. Draining warm oil removes more contaminants than draining cold oil.

If you’re using ramps, make sure that, once the car is securely on the ramps, place the transmission in Park, or for a manual transmission, in 1st gear. Firmly set the parking brake.

If you’re jacking up your car, make sure the car is off, the keys are out of the ignition, and the parking brake is on. Place the jack under the jack point, which should be indicated by little arrow or triangle shapes along the lateral edge near your front wheel.

Once sufficiently lifted, place the car on the jackstands to ensure it doesn’t accidentally fall on you.

Open the hood and remove the dipstick (with the yellow handle) and oil cap.

Underneath your car, find the oil pan drain plug which will be on a low point of the oil pan. Place your oil drain pan underneath the oil pan drain plug.

View more information on the Ford Repair Manual.

13 responses to “How To Change Your Oil In A Ford Focus”

  1. sal says:

    i have a 2012 ford focus se.
    when do i have to change my oil and filter.
    i have only 700 miles

    • ChiltonDIY says:

      Hi Sal.
      Follow the instructions in your owner’s manual. If you’ve lost yours, owner’s manuals are also available online free at the website.

  2. wj babineau says:

    There is a cover under the entire powertrain. Hint as to what I might need to deal with removal & replacement.

    • ChiltonDIY says:

      Hi there.
      The cover retainers are usually plastic push clips, sometimes they break. Needle nose pliers and a screwdriver should be what you need.

  3. Charlie says:

    The underneath of this car has a cardboard like material screwed on to the under carriage hiding the oil pan and drain plug. Does all of this have to be removed to do a simple oil change

  4. Charlie says:

    Is this cardboard material for milage to cut wind resistance under the car?

    • ChiltonDIY says:

      Hi Charlie.
      Yes. Your car is equipped with a under-body insulator, this helps insulate the engine from road debris.
      It is probably more of a function of engine cooling, to direct air up into the engine than it would be for aerodynamics; although that is a small function of it as well. The smoother the bottom of a car, the more aerodynamic it is.

  5. Pepe says:

    what type of torque wrench will I need for the sump plug and at what torque should it be tightened to.

    • ChiltonDIY says:

      Hi Pepe.
      What is the year, make and model of the vehicle?
      Was the vehicle built for the US market?

      • ChiltonDIY says:

        Pepe, there are two types of torque wrenches: the “clicker” and the “deflection beam.” Professionals use the clicker type, but it may make sense to start out with a deflection beam type as they’re cheaper and they don’t have to be recalibrated. The major drawback to deflection beam wrenches is that you have to be able to look at the scale while you work, which can be a difficult at times and is the reason why professionals use clicker-types. You use clickers just like a regular ratchet, but they click, or sometimes sort of shudder, when the proper torque is achieved.
        Also, be aware while you’re shopping that the first and last 10% of the range isn’t accurate on a wrench, so buy one that fits the majority of your work. For instance, a 10-100 ft-lbs wrench has a range of 90, so it is only accurate from about 19 to 91, by the time you take 10% off each end. And remember, a torque wrench is only used to check the tension on nuts and bolts. Don’t use it to loosen bolts. That’s what a ratchet or breaker bar is for. I would purchase a 5 to 75 lb-ft 3/8″ drive clicker torque wrench.
        You can find the correct torque specification in your ChiltonDIY subscription. Chilton covers US-spec makes and models.

  6. legna says:

    Do you know what wrench size I would need to change the oil to my ford focus see 2008

      • ChiltonDIY says:

        You can look up your 2008 Ford Focus at There you can browse a table of contents before purchasing the online manual, where you can view, print, and save from online repair procedures, specifications, technical service bulletins, maintenance intervals and more.
        Check out the quantity of oil specified for the 2008 Focus SES, as well as information about the type of oil in the section: “Engine Oil and Filter Change” in your ChiltonDIY subscription. The 2008 Focus is equipped with an oil filter adapter, you’ll find the adapter removal and installation procedure in this section, along with torque specifications.
        The oil pan drain bolt usually requires a wrench in the 14-16 mm range, but it can vary, as sometimes a different bolt is installed. A quality universal oil change wrench can work. Alternatively, a parts store professional may be able to assist you in fitting the correct wrench or allowing you to purchase a few and bring back the ones that don’t fit.

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