How to change oil Chevrolet Volt

The Chevrolet Volt was born out of a concept car, shown at the North American International Auto Show in 2007. General Motors announced production of the first-generation Volt in 2008, with sales beginning in 2010. The first-generation Volt featured a range-extending gas generator, making it unique among other electric cars. It had an electric-only range of about 35-40 miles, with the gas generator extending the total range to about 380 miles.

The second-generation Volt was introduced in 2015 for the 2016 model year, with an improved all-electric range of up to 53 miles and a total range of 420 miles. The electric motor was more efficient, and the design was sleeker. Key advantages of the Volt include its extended range capabilities and its efficiency.

Do I Need to Urgently Change the Oil Right Now?

This depends on several factors including the vehicle’s mileage since the last oil change, the condition of the oil, and any potential symptoms of oil problems, such as noise from the engine, oil leaks, or warning lights on the dashboard.

Frequency of Changing Engine Oil

Typically, it’s recommended to change your car’s engine oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. However, for modern cars, many manufacturers suggest every 7,500 to 10,000 miles. The exact frequency can depend on the type of oil used, the vehicle’s age, and how the vehicle is used.

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For the Chevrolet Volt, the engine oil change interval is typically longer due to its electric-gas hybrid nature. General Motors suggests changing the oil when the car’s oil life monitoring system indicates it’s time, which could be up to two years or more. The frequency can change if the vehicle is driven under more severe conditions, such as frequent short trips, very hot or cold weather, or heavy loads.

Checking the Engine Oil Level

To check the engine oil level in a Chevy Volt, park on level ground and turn off the engine. After waiting a few minutes for the oil to settle, remove the dipstick, wipe it clean, reinsert it, then pull it out again to read the level. If it’s between the minimum and maximum marks, the level is fine. If it’s low, you should add more oil of the recommended type.

Visual Assessment of the Condition of Engine Oil

You can assess the condition of your engine oil by removing the dipstick, wiping it on a clean, white piece of paper, and inspecting the color. Fresh oil should be amber, while old oil turns darker brown or black. If the oil leaves a dirty smear or has visible particles, it may be time for a change.


Based on the research conducted by Jinyoung Jang, Young-Jae Lee, Ohseok Kwon, Minseob Lee, and Jeonghwan Kim, published in 2014, the appearance of engine oil does indeed change after use, often darkening due to contamination. The study, conducted at the Korea Institute of Energy Research, Hanyang University, and KPETRO, used three types of engine oil in one gasoline and one diesel vehicle. They took periodic samples of the engine oil and compared the colors.

While the color changed, particularly rapidly for the diesel vehicle, the properties and components of the engine oil remained nearly the same comparing new and used samples. The type of engine oil did not significantly affect emissions or fuel economy in either type of vehicle.

In summary, while the appearance of engine oil can provide valuable information about its quality and condition, it is not the sole determining factor. Additional tests and assessments are often necessary to provide a comprehensive understanding of the oil’s performance and suitability for a specific application.

Preparing to Change Engine Oil

Before changing your engine oil, you should gather the necessary tools and supplies: the right type and amount of oil, an oil filter, an oil filter wrench, a drain pan, and protective gloves. The car should be parked on level ground and the engine should be cool.

Choosing the Right Oil

Different vehicles require different types of oil. Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to see what type of oil is recommended. The Chevy Volt, being a hybrid vehicle, requires a specific type of oil to ensure its engine operates optimally.

Choosing Oil Based on Season and Operating Conditions

The viscosity of engine oil, represented by numbers like 5W-30, relates to how thick it is and how well it flows at different temperatures. The first number represents the oil’s viscosity at cold temperatures, and the second represents its viscosity at hot temperatures. In colder climates, a lower first number may be better because the oil needs to stay fluid in cold weather. In hotter climates, a higher second number might be better because the oil needs to stay thick enough to protect the engine at high temperatures. Always check your vehicle’s manual for manufacturer recommendations.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Types of Oils for Chevrolet Volt

The Chevy Volt generally uses synthetic oil. Synthetic oils have several advantages: they provide better high and low temperature performance, they don’t break down as quickly under high engine temperatures, and they flow better in cold temperatures, which provides better engine protection. However, synthetic oil is usually more expensive than conventional oil.


The American Automobile Association (AAA) conducted research on the quality of engine oil and found that synthetic oil outperformed conventional oil by nearly 50% in their independent evaluation. This suggests that synthetic oil offers significantly better engine protection, particularly for vehicles that operate in extreme conditions. The study also found that synthetic oil is particularly beneficial for newer vehicles with turbo-charged engines and for vehicles that frequently drive in stop-and-go traffic, tow heavy loads, or operate in extreme hot or cold conditions​.

Conventional oil, while cheaper, doesn’t offer the same level of protection, particularly for high-performance engines like those in the Volt. It also needs to be changed more frequently.

Engine Oil Selection

Generation (Year)EngineSuitable Oil ViscosityPopular BrandsRequired Oil AmountPart Number
1st Gen (2011-2015)1.4L I45W-30Mobil 1 ($27), Valvoline, Pennzoil, Castrol ($29)4.7 quartsMOB-98KF98, VAL-98KG98, PEN-98KH98
2nd Gen (2016-2019)1.5L I40W-20Mobil 1 ($29), Valvoline, Pennzoil4.7 quartsMOB-98KF99, VAL-98KG99, PEN-98KH99

Which Oil Filter is Right for You?

Generation (Year)EnginePopular BrandsCatalog Number
1st Gen (2011-2015)1.4L I4FRAM, Mobil 1, ACDelcoXG3387A 
2nd Gen (2016-2019)1.5L I4FRAM, Mobil 1, ACDelcoXG12060 

Necessary Tools and Conditions

To change the oil in your Chevy Volt, you’ll need: a socket wrench, an oil filter wrench, an oil drain pan, a funnel, jack stands or ramps, and gloves. You’ll also need a flat, stable place to work, and the engine should be cool.

Warming up the Engine Before Changing the Oil

Before changing the oil, it’s a good idea to run the engine for a few minutes. This helps to warm up the oil, which makes it flow out of the engine more easily. Be careful not to get the engine too hot to avoid burns.

Step-by-step Instruction

  1. Park your car on a flat surface and engage the parking brake.
  2. Warm up the engine for a few minutes, then turn it off and let it cool slightly.
  3. Lift the front of the vehicle using a jack and secure it with jack stands or ramps.
  4. Place an oil drain pan under the oil drain plug.
  5. Use a socket wrench to remove the drain plug and let the oil drain into the pan.
  6. While the oil is draining, use an oil filter wrench to remove the old oil filter.
  7. Apply a bit of new oil to the gasket on the new filter, then screw it into place by hand.
  8. Once the oil has fully drained, replace the drain plug.
  9. Use a funnel to add the new oil into the engine via the oil filler cap on top of the engine.
  10. Start the engine and let it run for a few minutes, then check the oil level and add more if necessary.

Changing the oil should take about 30-45 minutes if it’s your first time. With experience, it could take as little as 15-30 minutes.

Replacing transmission fluid in automatic transmission

Frequency of Changing the Transmission Fluid in an Automatic Transmission

Transmission fluid in an automatic transmission typically needs to be changed every 60,000 to 100,000 miles. However, some newer models have transmission fluid designed to last the life of the vehicle. The frequency can change depending on the vehicle usage conditions. Heavy towing, a lot of stop-and-go driving, or other severe driving conditions can necessitate more frequent changes.

Transmission Fluid Selection

Generation (Year)EngineRequired Fluid AmountPopular Brands
1st Gen (2011-2015)1.4L I47.4 quartsValvoline ($26), Castrol, Mobil 1
2nd Gen (2016-2019)1.5L I47.4 quartsValvoline ($26), Castrol, Mobil 1

Required Tools

To replace the transmission fluid in a Chevy Volt automatic transmission, you’ll need: a socket wrench, a drain pan, a funnel, jack stands or ramps, and gloves. You’ll also need a flat, stable place to work, and the vehicle should be cool.

Step-by-Step Instruction

  1. Park your vehicle on a level surface and engage the parking brake.
  2. Lift the front of the vehicle with a jack and secure it with jack stands or ramps.
  3. Place a drain pan under the transmission drain plug.
  4. Use a socket wrench to remove the drain plug and allow the transmission fluid to drain.
  5. Once the fluid has drained, replace the drain plug.
  6. Remove the transmission dipstick and insert a funnel into the dipstick tube.
  7. Pour the new transmission fluid into the funnel, being careful not to overfill.
  8. Replace the dipstick and start the engine. Shift through all the gears and then back to park.
  9. Check the transmission fluid level with the dipstick and add more if necessary.

Changing the transmission fluid should take about an hour for a beginner.

Possible Problems After Incorrect Self-Changing Engine Oil

Incorrectly changing your engine oil can lead to several issues. If you overfill the engine with oil, it can cause excessive pressure and oil leaks. If you underfill it, your engine may not get proper lubrication, leading to friction and potentially severe engine damage. Using the wrong type of oil can also damage the engine.

Checking for Engine Oil Leaks After Changing it Yourself

After changing your oil, you can check for leaks by looking for oil spots under the vehicle after it has been parked for a while. Also, check the oil drain plug and oil filter for leaks, as these are common spots for leaks to occur.

Resetting the Oil Change Counter on Chevrolet Volt

In a Chevy Volt, you can reset the oil life system by following these steps:

  1. With the car turned on, use the Driver Information Center (DIC) controls on the right side of the steering wheel to display “Remaining Oil Life.”
  2. Press and hold the SEL button on the DIC control. The oil life will change to 100%.
  3. Turn off the ignition.

What to Do with Old Oil After Replacement

Never dump used motor oil down drains, in trash bins, or on the ground; this is illegal and harmful to the environment. Instead, collect it in a clean, leak-proof container like an empty oil bottle and take it to a local recycling center, auto parts store, or oil change shop. These facilities often accept used motor oil for recycling.

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