An oil change is an important part of your car’s maintenance regimen. Because of the synthetic oil used on many modern Audis, the recommended interval is 5000 miles. Oil changes are very easy (albeit a bit messy if you’re not careful… like I was while doing this DIY), but may seem daunting to some because of how important they are. But fear not! Europa Parts Blog took advantage of a beautiful, warm March day to prepare a detailed DIY to help guide you through your first oil change. Before you know it, you’ll be a pro!
- 2002–2005 Audi A4 B6 1.8T
- Flat Head Screwdriver
- 19mm Socket and Ratchet
- Torque Wrench
- Oil Drain Pan and Funnel
- Paper Towels/Rags/Cardboard
Drive the car to warm up the engine oil. About 15 minutes of driving is sufficient to get the oil warm.
Drive the car onto ramps or put it on jack-stands. Make sure the car is secured properly before climbing underneath.
Remove the belly pan using the flat head screwdriver (if applicable…my car is currently pan-less).
Open the hood and remove the oil cap to let the pressure in the crankcase escape. This should go without saying, but make sure your car is off before removing the oil cap. Set the cap aside and carefully clean around the hole into the crankcase (if it’s dirty). Be careful not to let any dirty or debris fall in.
Climb under the car. If you’ve never done an oil change before, it’s a good idea to lay a piece of cardboard down under the oil pan. Grab your ratchet and 19mm socket. The drain plug is on the passenger side of the car. Make sure the socket is seated properly and steadily apply pressure until the initial bond breaks. For the most part, you should be able to unscrew the bolt by hand (be careful, the oil pan is probably still very warm).
Grab your drain pan and hold it up close to where the drain plug is. Continue to unscrew the plug. You’ll start to see oil drip out, and you’ll start to get a sense of where the end is. When the plug finally releases, let it drop into the drain pan. By holding it close to the plug, hopefully you’ve caught the initial jet of oil and it hasn’t sprayed all over your driveway. You can lower the pan to the ground; just gauge where the oil flow is going. As it slows, it will trickle out. Let the oil drain out for about 10 minutes or so.
Locate the engine oil filter. It’s on the driver’s side of the car, right above the motor mount. The filter is filled with oil, so when you unscrew it, some will inevitably leak out. A trick is to take a Ziplock bag and hold it over the filter…in theory it should catch any excess oil. Grab the oil filter (careful, it may be hot), and twist counter-clockwise. It may take a bit of force to overcome the initial suction, but then it should spin right off (if you can’t get it off, you may need an oil filter wrench, available at any auto parts store). (Note: I had to unscrew and unclip my coolant expansion tank to get better access, but I also have big hands and big arms.) Remove the filter and drain the oil into the drain pan with the rest of the old oil.
Take your new filter out of the box. Dab some old engine oil on the rubber seal around the top of the filter, and reinstall it. Screw it on hand tight, and then give a little extra twist to make sure its snug.
Screw your new oil drain plug into the oil pan. Screw it in by hand so you don’t cross-thread it. When it’s tight, use a torque wrench and tighten to 30 nm (neuton meters). If you don’t have access to a torque wrench, tighten it with a ratchet just to the point that you feel resistance, and then give about a quarter turn.
Add your engine oil. The 1.8T has a capacity of 4.3L of oil (which ends up being about 4.5 quarts for me). Add it slowly through the hole in the crankcase. If you’re unsure of exactly how much to add, err on the side of caution and add less (you can always add more, but it’s a pain to take oil out). Make sure the cap is on tight.
Start the car and check for leaks. If there are none, reinstall the belly pan and put the car back on the ground. After the car has run for ~10 minutes, check the oil level and adjust as necessary. Dispose of the old engine oil properly (I put it in the oil containers that are now empty, a funnel helps greatly here). Local laws differ, but most gas stations or places that sell oil will take your old oil from you.
Clean up and enjoy the money you saved by DIY’ing!