Esprit Models
Esprit History
For Sale
Other Stuff
Buying & Running
Parts & Specialists
Other Esprit Stuff

Oil & Filter Change

The Esprit engine is a highly stress piece of equipment. So as your oil is designed to protect your engine, it's worth changing it regularly. Lotus recommend changing your oil & filter every 6,000 miles. We would advise every 3 six months or 3,000, but then we want every Esprit to be looked after.

It's important to use the correct grade of oil. Esprit Engines won't run well on 0W oil, as it's too thin and will burn off. You'll need a 10 grade oil. Lotus recommond a few oils from major manufacturers, these oil has been tested by Lotus and will protect your engine. We advise to stick with what Lotus recommend. See more about lubicants and what Lotus advise here.

As for oil filters, there's a bit of a myth that the filter must have a no-return valve and you should only us Lotus Oil Filters. This isn't true, but we'd still advise to use a Lotus filter or one very similar from our approved independent specialists.

Oil is changed at every service, for every model. But there's no reason why you can't change it more regularly and do-it-yourself. We'll show you how we changed our Esprit SE's oil. There's not much difference between the models, so this should be useful to G and V8 owners as well. Go on! Change your Oil.


You will need the following parts:

Lotus Oil Filter (£11)
6 Litres of Approved Oil (see here)
Club members can get a discount on Oil at
See the club page for more details

You will need the following tools:

Container for Oil
Jack and Axel Stands
19mm Spanner (12mm for GT3)
Oil Filter Remover (optional) or screwdriver


Changing the Oil & Filter is simple if you know what you're doing. First thing to do is to take your Esprit on a short drive to warm the engine oil up. This will make it easier to remove from the engine and also holds all the waste in the oil, so you remove it with the oil. Once the engines warm, you'll need to jack up the Esprit to get at the sump drain plug.

Lotus advise against the use of any flushing oil, so don't use any!


This is how we Jacked -up our Esprit. You can do it your own way if you want. But make sure you use some form of Axle stand, as you don't want the Esprit coming down on you while you're under it. We've used two axle stands, although only one is shown. Remember safety first while working on your Esprit.


Once you can get under the car, you'll need to remove the sump drain plug. This is a 19mm bolt with a plastic washer. Undo it slowly, as if you just pull it out, you find a wave of oil heading in your direction. Have a container under the plug to catch the oil. We used a reusable can from a local motor parts shop. To help drain the oil, we lowered the Esprit and jacked up the front. This helps to get more of the oil out of your sump. Once the oil stops draining, replace the sump drain plug and washer and lower the Esprit if you don't want to remove the oil filter from underneath.


Left: Filter from underneath the car. Centre: Filter from above right. Right: with the filter removed.

Now all you need to do is to remove the old filter. This is positioned, deep to the right side of the engine and isn't easily accessible. We've already replaced our filter, so this time it was easy to remove. we could just turn it with our hand (with gritted teeth!). Your filter maybe more attached to your Esprit. You can either use a device to remove filters (there's a few on the market) or do what we did last time. Push a screwdriver through it and turn it, until it's lose enough to take off by hand. Turn it anti-clockwise to remove. You'll find some oil will come out with the removal of the filter, so have a cloth ready to reduce the mess.


Once the filters removed (left), clean up the mounting with a cloth, then rub some new oil on the face of both the mounting and the new filter. This will stop it from seizing on and make it easier to remove next time. Once this is done, screw the new filter back onto your Esprit. Clockwise and only hand-tighten.


You can now fill your Esprit with new fresh oil. We only use Lotus Approved oil with a 10W60 grade. Use a funnel to put the oil in, as you don't want engine oil all over your engine. Add around 4 litres and then check the dipstick and add more oil, until you reach the maximum on the dipstick. Be careful not to over fill. Give the oil time to spread before checking the dipstick

Now you can start your engine and check for leaks. Then take a short drive and again check for leaks. Remember to check your oil regularly afterwards. On a flat surface and once the engine is cool.

LEW's Verdict

Changing the oil & filter is easy and should be done regularly to maintain your Esprit. It should only take you around 1-2 hours depending on your ability and isn't overly expensive.

This is one of the job's you can do-yourself and doing it more regularly than the service can only benefit your Esprit's health, so don't put it off. CHANGE YOUR OIL.

If you do this maintenance. Feel free to e-mail LEW with your opinion on it and we can add it to this page. admin@lotusespritworld.com

It is a good clear guide which encouraged me to it, however in the tools needed part you specify a 19mm spanner but my GT3 requires a 12mm Allen (hexagon) socket. Only a minor difference, but you could perhaps add this alternative to save anybody else having to rush to Halfords part way through the job to get the correct socket!.

Paul Griffin.

I found that the plier type oil filler tool was best and can be done from inside the boot as well as being able to undo and drain the oil by not having to jack the car up just having the back end near a dropped kerb

Mr Oogieboogie

return to top
home email news esprit models road tests buying an esprit running an esprit esprit owners maintenance pictures for sale history Lotus models links