Frequent oil and filter changes are the most important maintenance procedures, which can be undertaken by the DIY owner. As engine oil ages, it becomes diluted and contaminated, which leads to premature engine wear.
Before starting this procedure, gather all the necessary tools and materials. Also make sure that you have plenty of clean rags and newspapers handy, to mop-up any spills. Ideally, the engine oil should be warm, as it will drain better, and more built-up sludge will be removed with it. Take care, however, not to touch the exhaust or any other hot parts of the engine when working under the car. To avoid any possibility of scalding, and to protect yourself from possible skin irritants and other harmful contaminants in used engine oils, it is advisable to wear gloves when carrying out this work. Access to the underside of the car will be greatly improved if it can be raised on a lift, driven onto ramps, or jacked up and supported on axle stands. Whichever method is chosen, make sure that the car remains level, or if it is at an angle, that the drain plug is at the lowest point. Where necessary, undo the retaining screws and remove the engine undershield(s), then also remove the engine top cover where applicable.
Using a socket and wrench or a ring spanner, slacken the drain plug about half a turn
. Position the draining container under the drain plug, and then remove the plug completely
(see Haynes Hint)
. Recover the sealing washer from the drain plug (the sealing ring may be part of the drain plug, and cannot be renewed separately).
The engine oil drain plug location on the sump
The seal is integral with the plug
Keep the drain plug pressed into the sump while unscrewing it by hand the last couple of turns. As the plug releases, move it away sharply so the stream of oil issuing from the sump runs into the container, not up your sleeve.
Allow some time for the old oil to drain, noting that it may be necessary to reposition the container as the oil flow slows to a trickle.
After all the oil has drained, wipe off the drain plug with a clean rag, and fit a new sealing washer (or fit a complete new drain plug with sealing washer). Clean the area around the drain plug opening, and refit the plug. Tighten the plug to 30 Nm (22 Ibf ft).
If the filter is also to be renewed, move the container into position under the oil filter. On 1.2 litre engines, the filter is located beneath a cap on the front right-hand end of the engine. On 1.4 litre engines, the filter is a canister-type, which is located on the front of the cylinder block.
On 1.2 litre engines, unscrew the cap several turns from the oil filter housing until its sealing face is level with the side peg. Leave the cap in this position for at least one minute, to allow the oil to drain from the filter and housing. Cover the alternator with cloth rags, to prevent entry of oil. Completely unscrew the cap and withdraw it together with the filter. If the filter is stuck to the cap, tap the cap bottom extension lightly on a wooden base to release the filter. Using a screwdriver, remove the O-ring seal from the cap and discard it – a new one must be used when refitting
Unscrew the cap and remove the oil filter
Tap the bottom extension of the cap to release the filter
On 1.4 litre engines, using an oil filter removal tool if necessary, slacken the filter initially, then unscrew it by hand the rest of the way
. Hold the oil filter in an upright position as it is being removed, then empty the remaining oil from inside the filter into the container. Check the old filter to make sure that its rubber sealing ring has not stuck to the engine. If it has, carefully remove it.
Oil filter location – 1.4 litre engines
Use a clean rag to remove all oil, dirt and sludge from the filter housing and cap, or filter sealing area on the cylinder block (as applicable).
On 1.2 litre engines, fit a new O-ring seal to the cap, and then insert the new filter in the housing and screw on the cap. Tighten the cap to 25 Nm (18 Ibf ft). Wipe away any excess oil.
On 1.4 litre engines, apply a light coating of clean engine oil to the sealing ring on the new filter, and then screw it into position on the engine. Tighten the filter firmly by hand only –
use any tools. Wipe away any excess oil.
Remove the old oil and all tools from under the car. Refit the engine undershield(s), tighten the retaining screws securely, and then lower the car to the ground. Also refit the engine top cover where applicable.
Remove the dipstick, and then unscrew the oil filler cap from the cylinder head cover. Fill the engine, using the correct grade and type of oil. An oil can spout or funnel may help to reduce spillage
. Pour in half the specified quantity of oil first, and then wait a few minutes for the oil to run to the sump. Continue adding oil a small quantity at a time until the level is up to the maximum mark on the dipstick. Refit the filler cap.
Use a funnel to reduce spillage when adding engine oil
|Engine oil quantity
| 1.2 Litre engines
| 1.4 Litre engines
|Grade (all engines):
| Longlife (variable) service interval
||VW Longlife engine oil VW 503 00 or VW 504 00
| Standard (distance/time) service interval
||Multigrade engine oil, viscosity SAE 5W/40 to 20W/50 - VW 502 00
Start the engine and run it for a few minutes; check for leaks around the oil filter seal and the sump drain plug. Note that there may be a few seconds delay before the oil pressure warning light goes out when the engine is started, as the oil circulates through the engine oil galleries and the new oil filter (where fitted) before the pressure builds up.
Switch off the engine, and wait a few minutes for the oil to settle in the sump once more. With the new oil circulated and the filter completely full, recheck the level on the dipstick, and add more oil as necessary.
Dispose of the used engine oil safely.