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Mustang Oil Change Guide: Oil Type & Capacity

October 14, 2021

Ford Mustang Oil Change Guide

Engine oil is the unsung hero of the automotive world; it sits inside your Mustang’s engine quietly doing its job of lubricating hundreds of parts without any cries for attention. So take a moment to think about what goes on inside the engine. From the first movement of a piston to a crankshaft rotating at thousands of RPMs, it’s a complex operation that wouldn’t be possible without engine oil.

Regardless if you’ve got the original pushrod 5.0, the latest OHC 5.0, or another powerplant under the hood, keeping the ponies running smoothly is essential. The good news is that an oil change is one of the most affordable yet important car maintenance tasks for your car. In addition, even if you're not an avid wrencher, an oil change is an easy DIY project. With this in mind, let’s explore what’s involved with a Mustang oil change. Also, be sure to check out the chart at the end for info about your Mustang.

What Does Oil Do? What Is Oil Viscosity? Why Change Your Oil? Synthetic vs Conventional How Often To Change Oil? How Much Does It Cost? Oil Change Guide

Silver Bullet Drag Racing

What Does Engine Oil Do?

Let’s expand on the importance of motor oil, the true lifeblood of your Mustang. No substance has a greater effect on an engine’s longevity than oil. High-quality oil combined with a proper maintenance schedule helps maintain the engine’s health, while improper lubrication can lead to a powerplant disaster.

The most important job for motor oil is maintaining lubrication among the internal metal engine parts that move against each other. The idea here is to reduce wear and tear on these components. Remove proper lubrication from these seemingly durable parts, and the engine will literally grind to a halt (and a costly halt at that).

Engine lubrication serves other functions as well. First, to help with cooling. During engine operation, particularly during top-end use, motor oil absorbs excess heat and cools down internal parts. Second, the more smoothly an engine can run, the more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly it is.

And, lastly, oil reduces the build-up of damaging substances formed inside the engine during the combustion process. This action reduces engine wear.

Engine Oil Viscocity

What Is Oil Viscosity?

Motor oil viscosity refers to how easily oil flows at a specific temperature. In simple terms, this means its thickness. For example, how water compares to pancake syrup. Thinner oil has a lower viscosity and flows more readily at colder temperatures than a thicker, higher viscosity oil.

Ideally, you want to use an oil that balances out cold weather needs with improved performance during extreme conditions. For example, a thin oil reduces engine friction and aids in engine startup during cold weather. On the other hand, thicker oil better maintains continuous lubrication during higher temperatures and top-end use.

The viscosity scale was created by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) to grade motor and transmission oils. Using the XW-XX label, the first number (before the W) grades how the oil flows at zero degrees Fahrenheit. The lower the number, the easier the oil flows in winter temperature. The number after the W specifies the oil’s viscosity at 100 degrees Celsius and its resistance to high-temperature thinning.

For example, at cold temperatures, a 5W-30 grade oil thickens less than a 10W-30 grade oil. While at hot temperatures, the 5W-30 grade oil becomes thinner before a 5W-40 grade oil.

Oil Dipstick

Why Does Mustang Engine Oil Need To Be Replaced?

As a result of engine use, oil type, and outside factors such as extreme temperatures, Mustang engine oil eventually breaks down. Unfortunately, this means that the oil can develop sludge deposits that reduce lubrication inside the engine and cause an increase in engine wear. At best, a delayed oil change makes the engine work a little harder. At worst, you’re looking at an engine teardown and a hefty repair bill.

Look at back the first few generations of Mustangs and their engines, simpler overhead valve designs and modest output (by today’s standards) meant less taxing requirements for motor oil. Fast forward a few decades to modern Mustangs with multi-valve overhead cam engines that couldn’t exist without advanced lubrication technology. From today’s EcoBoost Mustang and the Mustang Shelby GT500, these cars couldn’t function for very long without clean, sludge-free motor oil.

Finally, there’s another practical reason for replacing engine oil. This maintenance task is a requirement of new car and aftermarket warranties. Fail to follow the recommended maintenance schedule, and a warranty claim could be denied.

Mach 1 Mustang vs Grabber Yellow GT

Synthetic vs Conventional Oil For A Mustang?

As mentioned earlier, today’s motor oils developed in response to the advanced lubrication requirements of modern engines. There’s only so much chemical engineers could do with a conventional motor oil solely derived from petroleum. And while synthetic motor oil has a petroleum base, it uses man-made compounds that aren’t found in nature. These artificial ingredients can be engineered for maximum lubrication and longevity.

So, synthetic oils:

  • Reduce sludge and engine deposits
  • Limit wear and tear
  • Protect against extreme temperatures
  • Limit oil breakdown
  • Increase oil change intervals

In contrast, conventional oils are prone to:

  • Be less chemically stable
  • Easier oxidation and acidification
  • Quicker breakdown and loss of protection

When To Change Oil

How Often Should I Change The Oil In My Mustang?

As a general guideline, change your Mustang’s oil and oil filter every 5,000 miles. If you’re using conventional oil and do a lot of stop-and-go driving, then you might want to change the oil sooner. At the same time, if you use synthetic motor oil, then an oil change might not be necessary for 7,500 miles or more. Three factors affect the timetable for an oil and filter change.

  • Ford’s recommended service schedule
  • Type of oil used (conventional, synthetic, or a synthetic blend)
  • Driving conditions (city vs. highway, extreme temperatures, and abnormal use)

What Does It Cost

How Much Is A Mustang Oil Change?

The price for an oil and filter change will vary greatly depending on your Mustang, the type of oil used, and who does the work. At a repair shop or quick lube place, you’re likely to pay $40 or so for an older Mustang that only needs five quarts of conventional oil. For a newer Mustang GT that needs ten quarts of synthetic oil, expect to pay about $150. Of course, a dealer will charge more.

If you’re inclined to change the oil on your own, then five quarts of oil will run $20-$50 (depending on the oil type), and the filter will cost $10-$20. Of course, you’ll also need a way to safely jack up the car, an oil filter wrench, an oil drain pan, and a few other basic tools.

Oil Pouring Into Engine

Mustang Oil Change Guide: At A Glance

Use this chart to identify your Mustang and its engine oil requirements quickly. Also, it is always a good idea to verify this information by reviewing the owner’s manual.

Year / Engine -- Mustang Oil Change: Identify your Mustang’s model year and what’s under the hood.

Mustang Oil Type: Determine the required oil viscosity needed for your Mustang. Be sure to check the owner’s manual for additional requirements for abnormal use, like during track days or in extreme weather conditions.

Mustang Oil Capacity: Check the quantity of oil (in quarts) required for your Mustang.

Mustang Oil Filter: Identify the correct Ford (Motorcraft) oil filter to use for your Mustang. If choosing an aftermarket oil filter, ensure the component is compatible with your car’s year, engine, oil type, and operating conditions.

Mustang Oil Change Type & Capacity By Year/Engine
Year / Engine Mustang Oil Type Mustang Oil Capacity Mustang Oil Filter
1979-1993 Mustang
5.0L V8 / 3.8L V6 / 2.3L I4 (non-turbo) 10W-30^ / 5W-30* 5.0 Quarts FL300
2.3L I4 Turbo 10W-30^ / 5W-30* 5.5 Quarts FL300
1994-1998 Mustang
5.0L V8 5W-30 5.0 Quarts FL1A
3.8L V6 5W-30 5.0 Quarts FL400
4.6L V8 (2-valve) 5W-20 5.0 Quarts FL820
4.6L V8 (4-valve) 5W-20 6.0 Quarts FL820
1999-2004 Mustang
4.6L V8 (2V & 4V) 5W-20 6.0 Quarts FL820S
3.8L V6 5W-20 5.0 Quarts FL400
2005-2009 Mustang
4.6L V8 5W-20 6.0 Quarts FL820S
4.0L V6 5W-30 5.0 Quarts FL820S
5.4L V8 (GT500) 5W-50 6.4 Quarts FL820S
2010-2014 Mustang
4.0L V6 (2010) 5W-30 5.0 Quarts FL820
4.6L V8 (2010) 5W-20 6.0 Quarts FL820S
3.7L V6 (2011-2014) 5W-20 6.0 Quarts FL500S
5.0L V8 (2011-2014) 5W-20 8.0 Quarts FL500S
5.0L V8 (2012-13 Boss 302) 5W-50 8.5 Quarts FL500S
5.4L V8 (2010-12 GT500) 5W-50 6.4 Quarts FL820S
5.8L V8 (2013-14 GT500) 5W-50 8.5 Quarts FL500S
2015-2021 Mustang
3.7L V6 (2015-17) 5W-20 6.0 Quarts FL500S
2.3L EcoBoost (2015-17) 5W-30 5.7 Quarts FL910S
2.3L EcoBoost (2018) 5W-30 5.7 Quarts FL910S
2.3L EcoBoost (2019-2021) 5W-30 6.0 Quarts FL910S
5.0L V8 (2015-17) 5W-20 8.0 Quarts FL500S
5.0L V8 (2018-21) 5W-20 10.0 Quarts FL500S
5.2L V8 (2015-17 GT350) 5W-50 10.0 Quarts FL2069ST
5.2L V8 (2018-20 GT350) 5W-50 10.0 Quarts FL2062
5.2L V8 (2020+ GT500) 5W-50 10.0 Quarts FL2062

^above 32? / *below 32?
Be sure to check your owner's manual and confirm oil type and capacity.

Source: MustangSpecs, Ford, Mobil, TotalEnergies

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