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Fluid level checks Buick LaCrosse 2005 - 2013 Petrol 3.6 V6

OnDemand step-by-step maintenance & repair BETA

Buick LaCrosse 2005 - 2009  | 3.6 V6 Fluid level checks

  • time 5 to 30 minutes
  • difficulty 1
Note: The following are fluid level checks to be done on a 250 mile or weekly basis. Additional fluid level checks can be found in specific maintenance procedures that follow. Regardless of intervals, be alert to fluid leaks under the vehicle, which would indicate a fault to be corrected immediately
Fluids are an essential part of the lubrication, cooling, brake and windshield washer systems. Because the fluids gradually become depleted and/or contaminated during normal operation of the vehicle, they must be periodically replenished. See Recommended lubricants and fluids below before adding fluid to any of the following components
Note: The vehicle must be on level ground when fluid levels are checked

Engine oil

1 The engine oil dipstick is located on the front side of the engine on all models - 2.4L model shown
2 The oil level should be checked before the vehicle has been driven, or about 5 minutes after the engine has been shut off. If the oil is checked immediately after driving the vehicle, some of the oil will remain in the upper engine components, resulting in an inaccurate reading on the dipstick
3 Pull the dipstick out of the tube and wipe all the oil from the end with a clean rag or paper towel. Insert the clean dipstick all the way back into the tube, then pull it out again. Note the oil at the end of the dipstick
4 The oil level should be in the safe range - if it’s below the MIN or ADD mark (A), add enough oil to bring it up to or near the MAX or FULL mark (B)
5 Do not overfill the engine by adding too much oil since this may result in oil-fouled spark plugs, oil leaks or oil seal failures
6 Oil is added to the engine after unscrewing a cap from the valve cover (see below). A funnel will help to reduce spills
7 To prevent dirt from contaminating the engine, always make sure the area around the cap is clean before removing it
8 Checking the oil level is an important preventive maintenance step. A consistently low oil level indicates oil leakage through damaged seals, defective gaskets or past worn rings or valve guides. If the oil looks milky or has water droplets in it, the cylinder head gasket(s) may be blown or the head(s) or block may be cracked. The engine should be checked immediately. The condition of the oil should also be checked. Whenever you check the oil level, slide your thumb and index finger up the dipstick before wiping off the oil. If you see small dirt or metal particles clinging to the dipstick, the oil should be changed

Engine coolant

Warning: Do not allow antifreeze to come into contact with your skin or painted surfaces of the vehicle. Rinse off spills immediately with plenty of water. Antifreeze is highly toxic if ingested. Never leave antifreeze lying around in an open container or in puddles on the floor; children and pets are attracted by its sweet smell and may drink it. Check with local authorities on disposing of used antifreeze. Many communities have collection centers that will dispose of it safely
Caution: Never mix green-colored ethylene glycol antifreeze and orange-colored DEX-COOL silicate-free coolant because doing so will destroy the efficiency of the DEX-COOL coolant, which is designed to last for 100,000 miles or five years
Note: Non-toxic antifreeze is now manufactured and available at auto parts stores, but even this type should be disposed of properly
1 All LaCrosses are equipped with a pressurized coolant expansion tank: on 2009 and earlier V6 models, the tank is located in the engine compartment on the right side strut tower; on V8 models, it is located in the left front corner of the engine compartment; and on all 2010 and later models, the tank is located in the left rear corner of the engine compartment (see below)
2 The coolant reservoir is located on the rear, left side of the engine compartment on 2010 and later models
3 The coolant level in the expansion tank should be checked regularly. When the engine is cold, the coolant level should be at or slightly above the COLD FILL mark. If it isn't, add coolant to the tank
Warning: Never unscrew the expansion tank cap when the engine is warm. Only remove the cap when the engine and cooling system is cool
4 To add coolant, open the cap and add a 50/50 mixture of DEX-COOL coolant and water until the level is up to the COLD FILL mark (see the Caution above)
5 Drive the vehicle and recheck the coolant level. If only a small amount of coolant is required to bring the system up to the proper level, water can be used. However, repeated additions of water will dilute the antifreeze and water solution. In order to maintain the proper ratio of antifreeze and water, always top up the coolant level with the correct mixture. An empty plastic milk jug or bleach bottle makes an excellent container for mixing coolant. Do not use rust inhibitors or additives
6 If the coolant level drops consistently, there may be a leak in the system. Inspect the radiator, hoses, filler cap, drain plugs and water pump. If no leaks are noted, have the radiator cap tested by a service station
7 Check the condition of the coolant as well. It should be relatively clear. If it is brown or rust-colored, the system should be drained, flushed and refilled. Even if the coolant appears to be normal, the corrosion inhibitors wear out, so it must be replaced at the specified intervals. If the system is filled with standard green coolant/water, it must be flushed and replaced more frequently than if the original DEX-COOL coolant is retained

Windshield washer fluid

1a Fluid for the windshield washer system is located in a plastic reservoir in the right side of the engine compartment (2009 and earlier models)...
1b ...or the left front corner of the engine compartment on 2010 and later models
2 In milder climates, plain water can be used in the reservoir, but it should be kept no more than 2/3 full to allow for expansion if the water freezes. In colder climates, use windshield washer system antifreeze, available at any auto parts store, to lower the freezing point of the fluid. Mix the antifreeze with water in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions on the container
Caution: Don’t use cooling system antifreeze - it will damage the vehicle's paint
3 To help prevent icing in cold weather, warm the windshield with the defroster before using the washer

Battery electrolyte

These vehicles are equipped with a battery which is permanently sealed (except for vent holes) and has no filler caps. Water doesn’t have to be added to these batteries at any time. If a maintenance-type battery is installed, the caps on the top of the battery should be removed periodically to check for a low electrolyte level. If the level is low, add only distilled water until the level is above the plates

Brake fluid

1 The brake master cylinder is mounted on the upper left of the engine compartment firewall
2 The translucent plastic reservoir allows the fluid inside to be checked without removing the cap (see below)
3 Wipe the top of the reservoir cap with a clean rag to prevent contamination of the brake system before removing it
4 When adding fluid, pour it carefully into the reservoir to avoid spilling it on surrounding painted surfaces. Be sure the specified fluid is used, since mixing different types of brake fluid can cause damage to the system. See Recommended lubricants and fluids, below, or your owner’s manual
Warning: Brake fluid can harm your eyes and damage painted surfaces, so use extreme caution when handling or pouring it. Do not use brake fluid that has been standing open or is more than one year old. Brake fluid absorbs moisture from the air. Moisture in the system can cause a dangerous loss of brake performance
5 At this time, the fluid and master cylinder can be inspected for contamination. The system should be drained and refilled if deposits, dirt particles or water droplets are seen in the fluid
6 After filling the reservoir to the proper level, make sure the cap is installed securely to prevent fluid leakage
7 The brake fluid level in the master cylinder will drop slightly as the pads at the front wheels wear down during normal operation. If the master cylinder requires repeated additions to keep it at the proper level, it’s an indication of leakage in the brake system, which should be corrected immediately. Check all brake lines and connections
8 If, upon checking the master cylinder fluid level, you discover the reservoir empty or nearly empty, the brake system should be bled and thoroughly inspected

Recommended lubricants and fluids

Note: Listed here are manufacturer recommendations. Manufacturers occasionally upgrade their fluid and lubricant specifications, so refer to your vehicle owner’s manual or check with your local auto parts store for current recommendations
Engine oil type API “certified for gasoline engines”
Engine oil viscosity 5W-30
Fuel Unleaded fuel, 87-octane minimum
Automatic transaxle fluid DEXRON-VI automatic transmission fluid
Transfer case (AWD models) SAE 75W-90 synthetic gear oil
Differential fluid (rear, AWD models) SAE 75W-90 synthetic gear oil
Power steering fluid GM power steering fluid, or equivalent
Brake fluid DOT 3 brake fluid
Engine coolant 50/50 mixture of DEX-COOL coolant and demineralized water
Parking brake mechanism grease White lithium-based grease NLGI no. 2
Chassis lubrication grease NLGI no. 2 GC or GC-LB chassis grease
Hood, door and trunk hinge lubricant Lubriplate lubricant aerosol spray
Door check spring grease NLGI no. 2 multi-purpose grease
Key lock cylinder lubricant Graphite spray
Hood latch assembly lubricant Lubriplate lubricant aerosol spray
Door latch lubricant NLGI no. 2 multi-purpose grease or equivalent


Engine oil (including filter)
  2.4L engines 5.0 quarts 4.7 liters
  3.0L engines 6.0 quarts 5.7 liters
  3.6L engines
    2011 and earlier models 5.5 quarts 5.2 liters
    2012 and later models 6.0 quarts 5.7 liters
  3.8L engines 4.5 quarts 4.3 liters
  5.3L engines 6.0 quarts 5.7 liters
Cooling system
  2.4L engines
    2011 and earlier models 7.5 quarts 7.1 liters
    2012 and later models 10.1 quarts 9.6 liters
  3.0L engines 9.9 quarts 9.4 liters
  3.6L engines
    2009 and earlier models 11.2 quarts 10.6 liters
    2010 through 2011 models 9.9 quarts 9.4 liters
    2012 and later models 7.5 quarts 7.1 liters
  3.8L engines 11.2 quarts 10.6 liters
  5.3L engines 13.3 quarts 12.6 liters
Automatic transaxle (drain and refill)**
  4-speed 4T65-E (2009 and earlier models) 7.4 quarts 7.0 liters
  6-speed, 6T30/40/45/50 or 6T70/75 (2010 and later models) 4.2 to 6.3 quarts 4 to 6 liters
Differential (rear, AWD models)
  Differential housing 0.74 quarts 0.70 liters
  Differential clutch (with Electronic Limited Slip Differential)
    Limited slip differential fluid 0.69 quart 0.65 liter
Limited slip additive 1.69 ounces 0.05 liter
Transfer case ( 2010 and later AWD models) 0.69 quart 0.65 liter
Note: * All capacities are approximate. Add as necessary to bring to appropriate level
Note: **This is an initial-fill specification. Check the fluid level
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