How to change the oil in a Chevy Cobalt

Choosing The oil

Changing the motor oil in your engine is usually a pretty straight forward simple procedure. But as with anything in life changing the oil in some cars is more complicated than others.

If you’re a beginner at changing oil or are having trouble finding the oil filter on your Chevy Cobalt, this How To Guide should be helpful.

Use the viscosity recommended by the manufacturer in the owner’s manual. For example it might say 10W-30. In most manuals the viscosity and frequency you change the oil depends on how you use the vehicle, the climate you use it in and the mileage you put on it. The owner’s manual will also tell you how many quarts of oil you will need to put in after you’ve drained the old oil and replaced the filter. You will find the oil and oil filter you need at your local auto parts store.


Step 1

Working Under Your Vehicle

Safety is very important when working under a vehicle. You will need a solid level surface to work on. Set the emergency brake. Jack up the front end of the vehicle and place jack stands under the frame. DO NOT get under the vehicle with just the jack supporting it. You can use ramps instead of jack stands, but use wheel chocks in addition to setting the parking brake, so the vehicle won’t roll off the ramps.

Step 2

Draining The Oil

Place the drain pan under the oil drain plug. Most drain plugs are on the lowest part of the oil pan. Check your owner’s manual if you have trouble finding it. Be sure you use the correct size box wrench or socket to loosen and remove the drain plug, so you don’t strip the head. The oil flows out quickly when the plug is removed, so make sure no body parts are in the way. Make sure to completely drain the oil from the engine. Give it about 10 minutes to drain. Then replace the oil drain plug and tighten it so oil will not leak. DO NOT use an impact gun or long handled wrench to tighten the plug, I’ve actually seen people strip the threads out of oil pans this way.

Step 3

Removing & Replacing The Oil Filter

To get to the oil filter on a Chevy Cobalt, you have to remove the oil filler cap, then remove the large plastic cover on top of the engine, look down under the right side of the exhaust manifold and you will see the oil filter housing. Position the oil drain pan under the oil filter. Use your socket to loosen it and then unscrew the top of the housing and remove the oil filter. Make sure the rubber ring is not stuck inside the housing if you don’t see it on the filter.

Make sure there are no tools, rag particles or other debris in the oil filter housing and then place the new filter inside and screw the cap on. Carefully tighten the housing cap with the socket, being sure not to cross thread or over tighten it.

Step 4

Finishing Up

Insert the funnel into the oil fill hole after removing the cap. Then slowly pour in the oil recommended in the owner’s manual. Be sure to replace the oil cap when you are done. It usually makes a mess under the hood if you forget.

Lower your vehicle to the ground and start the engine. Check the dash board to make sure your oil light is not on. Turn off the engine, let the vehicle sit for a few minute on the level surface and then check the dip stick to make sure the oil level is where it should be. Take a look under the vehicle to make sure no oil is dripping from the plug or filter.

Pour the oil from the drain pan into your waste oil container and bring it to your local recycling center.

Things Needed
• Floor jack
• Jack stands
• Oil drain pan
• Container for waste oil
• Wrench or socket 15mm, 3/8” drive for drain plug
• Oil filter Socket 1 1/4″ (32mm), 3/8” drive
• Ratchet, 3/8” drive
• Extension, 10”, 3/8” drive
• Oil Absorbent Pads or Granule
• Rags
• Funnel
• Oil
• Oil filter

Tips & Warnings
• A major mistake beginners make. Double check to be sure you have replaced the oil plug before adding the new oil. Talk about a mess.
• The oil will drain better if the vehicle is a little warm. Be careful not to let the vehicle get too hot or you will have to wait for it to cool down. You don’t want to get burned.
• If oil is spilled, use the absorbent pads, granules or spread powdered laundry detergent and let sit a few days.
• Wipe down the engine of any excess oil that may have spilled while draining or filling the oil.


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