How do you change the oil in a Volkswagen?


Quick Answer

Changing the oil in an older air-cooled Volkswagen requires draining the oil, removing the filter screen, replacing the screen and refilling the car with oil. Unlike other cars, the VW uses a screen oil filter instead of a paper one.

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Full Answer

Locate a large round plate on the bottom of the engine. On VWs built prior to 1973, there is likely a large bolt in the center of the plate that is the drain plug. Beginning in 1973, VW eliminated the plug to encourage removal and cleaning or replacement of the oil screen with each oil change.

Remove the plug or loosen the small bolts around the plate to drain the oil. Once the engine is empty, remove the plate. If the screen is in good condition, it is reusable after cleaning; however, replacement screens are readily available, inexpensive and the kit contains the gaskets to prevent oil leaks. Once the screen is in place, replace the oil drain plug, if the car has one.

Add 2 1/2 quarts of oil to the engine. Remove all tools from under the car and start the engine to check for leaks. After it runs a few minutes, turn off the engine and allow the oil to drain to the oil pan. Check the oil level with the dipstick and add enough oil so it reads full.

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