Changing the Oil Filter on your Aston Martin DB9

Aston Martin DB9 Oil FilterChanging the Oil Filter on your DB9 is an annual event, part of the 1 year and 2 year service requirements.   Changing this filter is a giant pain in the ass.  The position of the filter is very difficult to reach, and you’ll spend a considerable amount of time preparing.

On a LHD car the filter has to be accessed from above – there is no way to reach or remove the filter from beneath the car since the steering box is in the way.

On RHD cars you can change the filter from under the car.

Before you change the Oil Filter, you should drain the existing oil from the engine.  Please follow the preparation steps and procedure described in my post and video on how to do this.

Throttle body on Aston Martin DB9
You will need to remove the left hand throttle body

In addition to draining the oil, you’ll need to remove the left side Throttle Body to get enough access to reach the filter from above.  Check out my post and video on this.   With the throttle body removed there will be a twisted small route down to the filter you will need to jam your hand and arm into to reach it.

Tools you’ll need are:

  • Oil filter wrench (suitably sized)
  • Inspection light
  • Shop rags
  • Plastic bag

To try and prevent making a giant mess (when the oil starts to drool out when your start to remove the filter) I stuffed as many rags as I could under the filter (from below).  This wasn’t many, access is very limited, but I was able to wedge part of one rag into the space directly below the filter.   Check out my video below on the process.

Next I tried to follow Aston Martin’s suggestion to take a plastic bag and place it around the filter so it can drop into the bag, and then you can lift the bag up and out without any spillage.  Good luck.  I found this impossible, but the bag did at least catch some of the oil when the filter came off, so I would still suggest it, just don’t plan on pulling the filter up while inside the bag.

Oil Filter WrenchLoosen the filter first.  Before going to battle with the Oil Filter wrench, just try reaching in with one hand and trying to see if you can loosen it.  In my case I could.   These are only supposed to be hand tight, so odds are in your favor.  If you can’t break it loose, then resort to the wrench.  You should be just able to get it onto the filter, and it will just be able to turn 10-20 degrees at a time, but all you need to do is crack it loose.  Take the wrench off as soon as its cracked loose (else you’ll never get the wrench off again) and finish the process by hand.

Once its loose and your rags and bag are in place (and the wrench is removed) go ahead and spin the filter completely off.  The oil will start to drip out everywhere.   As it comes completely off the thread, make sure to maneuver it so the butt of the filter points down towards the ground, and the open face of the filter stays pointing up (this minimizes the amount of oil that drips out).

Now its time to lift the filter up and out.  With my normal sized man hands I couldn’t hold onto the outside of the filter and still get it up through the narrow passage.  I resorted to taking my index finger and jamming it tightly into the large threaded hole on the filter (that was still facing up).   I crooked my finger tip to keep it from dropping off.  I then carefully brought my hand up and out with the filter stuck to my finger.  Works like a charm.  Gotta love it.

Cleanup time.  I removed the drip catch rag and the plastic bag (each actually caught a fair bit of the oil, nothing got onto the chassis).   I also took a clean lint free shot rag and cleaned the gasket surface down on the engine block.

Aston Martin DB9 Oil Filter
DB9 Oil Filter

I prepared my new, ridiculously expensive Oil Filter (Aston Martin P/N 44-85099 which cost about $50 ) by unwrapping it, and then coating the gasket surface with a light coat of the engine oil.  I also put a little oil onto the threads.   Some might suggest it would be appropriate to prefill the filter with fresh engine oil, but in this case it’s such a PITA to refit the filter, it would spill all over.

I lowered the filter back down using the ‘stick it on my finger’ trick again, and then threaded it into position.

The final step is to hand tighten it.  Don’t kill it like Hercules would, just make it’s reasonably snug so the gasket seals tightly.

At the end I placed all the oily shop rags and the oily drained filter into the oily plastic bag and disposed of it all together.

Check out my video on how to tackle the entire process:

Next up is refilling the Oil properly.  Ya, this seems like a no brainer, but with an empty Oil Filter to start with it is a 2 step process.  Check out my post on this.

26 thoughts on “Changing the Oil Filter on your Aston Martin DB9


    Your recent videos are brilliant , a good insight on how to work on the car and save a few pounds.

    Are you going to be changing the air filters and spark plugs


    1. Hi Ian. Yes, I have posts for the entire 2 year service coming along. Air filters will be soon. Spark plugs I haven’t done, but since I have the classic low speed idle misfire issue (weak coil packs) I plan on doing a series of articles on replacing the coil packs, and this will include the plugs and a compression test while I am at it. Thanks for checking out the blog!


      1. Tony Millman

        Hi Steve,
        I am coming up for an oil change for my Right hand drive db9 2009. can the filter be removed via the underside on a rhd car or is it exactly the same process. Being that the steering rack / wheel is on the correct side.:)


      2. Indeed it can be accessed from below on a RHD. Once you have the undertray off, you should be able to get an arm up to it. The LHD cars have the steering box in the way.


    2. Gary F Knox

      Steve, et al,

      I recently changed the oil/filter in the ’09 Volante I bought last summer. I had a slight modification to the usual drain/remove oil filter/refill sequence that I think worked very well on the DB9 filter issue. I have a slight advantage in that I have a lift in my on site hobby garage. Thus, with the car on the lift, I let the oil drain into my catch container for about 24 hours. Then, I removed the oil filter. Two results of that procedure were – a lot of the oil had time to drain back into the crankcase from the filter, AND the viscosity of the oil increased significantly because it was at ambient temperature. Thus, when I removed the oil filter, there was only one or two drops of oil that came out of it onto the chassis area below it during the entire process.

      Just passing it on, as it made for a very clean extraction and replacement of the filter.


  2. Ben

    Steve, will you be posting a video on how to replace the PCV valves? The typically fail early on the DB9, so it would be of great interest to the DB9 community. Thanks!


    1. That’s a good idea. No plans to do the video yet (I’ve just made them as my car needs something), but I’d be interested if you can point me to some forums or other info on the history of the issues so I can learn if my car is suffering as well. Thanks for the idea!


      1. Ben

        Steve, thanks for response. Yes, the PCV valves are notorious in failing early on V12s, usually indicated with oil residue in air intake, or worse, in air filter. 6speedOnline website forum features the problem, but no good illustration for fix.

        BTW, looking at your video on jacking up car, can you just jack it up on the front end or does car have to be raised in rear also to be level for oil change and other front-end work? I only have two jack stands.


  3. Ben

    BTW, Steve, an excellent source on AM cars is the book by Neal Grant, “Definitive guide to Gaydon era AMs”. It also highlights the PCV valve issue.


  4. Herbie Mitchell

    I have fitted oil catch tanks on both sides but am still considering fitting new pcv valves. Has anybody got a list of valves and pipes needed to replace the pcv valves? The parts diagram and list is not very clear on what parts are required and the descriptions are somewhat ambiguous.


    1. Hi Herbie. I contacted my UK parts supplier a while back and they sent me a quote for the much of it. I agree, the parts diagram is as clear as mud. The parts guy suggestion was to replace most everything while I was in that deep. But, if its just the PCV valves (and not cracked hoses/pipes) it shouldn’t need all the bits.


  5. stuart carson

    Fantastic resource as always Steve. Thank you.

    Perhaps a very obvious tip, for when you have to use the wrench to loosen the filter – but it took me a few goes to get it right, so this may help someone…

    I used the band-type of wrench (as illustrated on this page) as I felt it would do less damage to the filter vs the “huge pliers” type. Sure I am replacing the filter but I didn’t fit this one and I’ve experienced filters before that were fitted so tight that the filter gets shredded by those pliers before it comes loose. If I got stuck I still wanted the option to drive to the dealer to do the job.

    Anyway I tried and failed several times to use this band-type wrench with one hand down the hole created by removing the throttle body: you just can’t get the band to grip the filter tight and still have any room left to rotate the handle. The band kept slipping / slipping right off the filter and the handle kept binding against 68 bits of engine all of which were in the way

    Finally I realised you can get the band onto the filter by holding the handle in your left hand and reaching down the throttle body hole. Then let go of the handle and hold the band against the filter with your left hand and let the handle rotate towards the rear of the engine bay until it is nearly horizontal. Hold the band from slipping round the filter with your left hand and squeeze your right hand down the gap behind the cross-brace, just in front of the coolant header tank and you can grab the handle with your fingertips and pull upwards. Presto. Very easy once you approach it correctly.


  6. Tom

    Excellent article.

    This job is real PITA due to lack of access. I went through this several times and here are my tips – hope that helps. No spills – I don’t even remove the engine undertray.

    1. Loose the filter slightly – not to much, just don’t let the oil to leak.
    2. Put the plastic bag over the filter. Bag has to have proper size – not to big, ideally long and narrow.
    3. Temporarily move the edge of the bag back and punch the filter from above in the grooved area to make a small hole in it. I use sharp screwdriver and I push by hand. The can is thin and will be punctured with little effort.
    4. Quickly cover the filter back with plastic and rotate the filter 180 deg. The hole will be facing down and allow the oil to drain from the filter to the bag. Wait few minutes, allow it to drain completely.
    5. Unscrew the filter and drop it into the bag.
    6. Pull the bag up with the filter and oil inside. Be careful not to tear the bag over sharp elements.


  7. Hi, all.
    I’ve just done another oil change on my ’06 DB9 Volante and – for the first time – couldn’t loosen the filter by hand. Obviously my own fault as I did the previous oil change!
    A few years ago when I did my first change I tried using strap filter wrenches and an end-cap wrench without any luck. Fortunately, I eventually shifted it by hand.
    Today I definitely couldn’t budge it by hand but I had bought a Channel Lock oil filter pliers just in case, and it worked BEAUTIFULLY! It is the #212 (12″ 2.5″-3.75″) and you set it on the widest-opening channel so the pliers handles can close as much as possible once you’ve gripped the filter. I was actually able to get a good grip on the filter and accomplish maybe 10-15 degrees rotation with each movement.
    This sounds weird, but I’m actually glad it was stuck because I always approach this job with trepidation and now I have confidence that the oil filter pliers can get me out of trouble in the future!


  8. kapium

    Has anyone decided to relocate the filter to be done with this nonsense? I just did my first oil change and I’m not going to keep dealing with this silly problem. Just curious if anyone has already installed a remote setup. I’m planning to move the filter about 18” onto the frame rail between the engine and the arch liner. The filter could then be removed through the arch. I might also install an access door in the arch for this task. Aston should have done this from the factory for RHD cars.


    1. Hi. Interesting idea, but not that I’ve heard of. After doing the filter change a few times, I find it only takes me a few extra minutes now that I have the ‘technique’ down pat. I can’t see why you couldn’t relocate it as long as there was a good adapter kit that spun on in the same location. Send a pic or two along if you tackle this. Good luck.


    1. Herbie Mitchell

      On what basis do these people claim that the Ford filter is superior to the OEM part? Has it been independently tested? Who are these “most people”? Why buy an expensive car and put a cheap filter into it?


    2. I have one installed on my DB9 at the moment actually. I fitted one during my service last fall. I have a few articles and videos coming up on it in the fall after I change it out again. What I know so far from my own research and dissecting both an AM original and Ford, the FL820 from Ford performance is absolutely NOT the same filter internally. Completely difference design for the anti flow back, pressure relief, etc. But, its is a very high quality filter, perhaps even higher than the AM OEM filter. It has substantial synthetic media and a much more robust sealing ring made of a better material.

      Ultimately the argument might boil down to particle size filtering, something I won’t be able to test/comment on myself. I could imagine that you could argue both ways for a Racing filter. Its for a very expensive race engine, so the filter will be higher quality and higher filtering performance, so better overall. Conversely, its for a RACE car engine, where power is more important than longevity, so the filter might be less restrictive, lower filtering ability, increasing filtered oil flow rate for the engine. Those specs aren’t really published for either.

      Honestly, my opinion is probably going to land with there is no special mojo magic in an Aston OEM filter, and its just a filter that we can use alternatives to. Any high quality brand/model filter that fits a Ford 4.7 V8 from 2005 (think Ford Mustang) will work like something from WiX, Mobil1, etc. I am actually including them in my review/test, including cutaways (as I seek to randomly discover who actually makes the Aston OEM filter for Aston).

      Hope this helps.


  9. John

    Steve, this is great. I am a bit scared and will stick to OEM for now. What are your experiences with the Ford Racing filter?

    Also, Steve, I cannot access “Parts you will need for a 2 Year Service”. Can you please let me know where to find the list?


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