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Pelican Technical Article:

Engine Oil Change

Jared Fenton


1 hour1 hr






19mm wrench, oil filter wrench, drain pan of at least 7-quart capacity, floor jack, jack stands, wheel chocks, safety glasses, torque wrench

Applicable Models:

A6 2.7T (1997-04)
A6 2.8 (1997-02)
A6 3.0L (2002-04)
S6 4.2 (1997-04)

Parts Required:

Oil, Oil Filter

Hot Tip:

Let the engine warm up before draining oil

Performance Gain:

Cleaner running engine

Complementary Modification:

Change transmission fluid

One of the most common automotive maintenance tasks is changing your engine oil. Frequent oil changes are perhaps the most important procedure you can do to maintain and prolong the life of your engine. However, with the better oils that are available today, the requirement for frequent changes is diminishing. I usually recommend that you keep the changes under the 5,000-mile limit. If you don't drive your car too often, you should change the oil at least once a year to keep things fresh.

You'll want to drive the car around beforehand, and let it heat up to operating temperature. It is a good idea to drain your oil when it's hot, because the heat makes the oil flow a lot easier, and more particles of metal and dirt will come out when the oil is drained.

Jack up the front of the car, secure it on jack stands and remove the front undertray to gain access to the oil drain bolt at the side edge of the oil pan. See our articles on Jacking Up Your A6 and Front Undertray Removal for more information. Wear safety glasses any time you work under your car. Now use a 19 mm wrench to loosen and remove the oil drain bolt. Remove this plug carefully and make sure you have a large oil pan with at least 7-quart capacity under it, with a drip pan underneath the bucket in case you underestimate. The oil will be very hot and will empty out extremely quickly, so be careful not to burn yourself (wear rubber gloves). There will be no time to grab any more buckets or oil pans if you underestimate, so make sure that the one you choose is big enough.

While the oil is draining, it is a good time to remove the oil filter. The Audi A6 uses a spin on type filter on the front of the engine. You may need to use an oil filter wrench to get it loose. When installing the new filter, wet the sealing ring with some fresh oil to help it seal better. Spin the filter on and tighten it by hand an additional 3/4 of a turn. Do not use a wrench.

Now take the drain plug from the engine, and carefully clean it with a paper towel. When the plug is clean, replace the metal sealing ring. Install the drain plug. Tighten the plug until you feel it seat.

Now it's time to fill up your Audi with motor oil. A lot of people aren't really sure what motor oil to use in their car. Traditionally, the characteristics of motor oil were linked closely to its viscosity ("weight"). Heavier-weight oils protect well against heat. Lighter-weight oils flow better in cold. In general, if you live in a cold climate, you should use a 0W-40 or similar oil. This oil is a 0-weight (low-viscosity) oil that behaves and protects against heat like a 40-weight oil. Synthetic oil has been the default oil in most engines since the early 2000s.

Fill your engine using the oil filler hole located on the left side valve cover. Note that left and right are from the driver's perspective. In North America driver's side is always the left side. Add about four quarts to the engine, Let the oil drain into the engine for about five minutes and check the dipstick. Continue to add about a half a quart at a time and keep checking the level. Total capacity is about 4.7 quarts. Fill it up until it reaches the top mark of the dipstick or gauge - the engine oil level will automatically drop slightly when the oil filter fills up with oil. Make sure that you put the oil filler cap back on the top of the filler hole. While you're at it, also check the seal in the oil filler cap. A vacuum leak in this cap will cause rough running at idle.

If you had the car up on jack stands, lower it to the ground. Now, start up the engine. The oil pressure light should stay on for about a second or two and then go out. Hop out of the car and look underneath the engine underneath, verifing that there are no oil drips. Take the car out for a drive and bring the engine up to operating temperature. Shut the engine off and recheck the oil level; careful, the engine will be hot. At this point, I like to top the oil off at the top point on the dipstick.

Make sure that you dispose of your old oil at a recycling station. Most chain auto parts stores will also accept used oil.

The oil drain bolt (green arrow) is located on the bottom edge of the oil pan on the side (green arrow).
Figure 1

The oil drain bolt (green arrow) is located on the bottom edge of the oil pan on the side (green arrow). Use a 19 mm wrench to loosen and remove the bolt. Wear gloves as the oil will be hot. You'll also want a drain pan with at least seven quarts capacity to collect the oil.

Shown here is the oil filter for the Audi A6 2.
Figure 2

Shown here is the oil filter for the Audi A6 2.7T (green arrow). You may need to use an oil filter wrench to loosen the filter. When installing the new filter, wet the sealing ring with fresh oil. This helps to seal the filter. When tightening the filer, make sure you hand tighten it plus about three quarters of a turn with the oil filter wrench.

Now use a funnel to fill the engine with new oil.
Figure 3

Now use a funnel to fill the engine with new oil. I prefer to fill one quart at a time and let it sit for a minute or two. This allows you to get the level just right. In all, 4.7 quarts are needed. As for brands of oil to use and for the grade, consult your owner's manual. Once filled, check the dipstick to confirm the oil level in the engine. It should reach to the top of the marks as shown here (green arrow).

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Page last updated: Thu 3/22/2018 03:23:01 AM