DIY engine oil change, for mk3 VW TDI with 1Z or AHU engine, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999

Difficulty: 2/5
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This article discusses some tips on how to change your engine oil on VW Jetta TDI or VW Passat TDI, 1996-1999.

For types of VW approved oil and change intervals, refer to the article:  1000q: engine oil for non-pumpe duse cars.  Later generation TDI that use the pumpe duse engine should use pumpe duse specific engine oil, this generation of TDI can use pumpe duse oil or older VW 505 spec oil.   It's normal for new engine oil to be black since there will be a little bit left over which will make all the oil black.


Metric tool set
oil filter wrench
oil catch pan
torx bits and screwdriver to remove belly shield/plastic cover

engine oil - 4.5 Liters/4.7 quarts , should meet VW 505.00 standards or pumpe duse VW 505.01, 506.01, or 507.00 standards.

Oil change procedure

Torque specs:
engine oil drain plug - 22 ft lbs

Engage the parking brake, jack up the front of the car using the factory jack points, rest car securely on jack stands, chock the rear wheels, and make sure the car is safe and secure before doing anything else.

Remove the plastic engine splash shield.

Place a catch pan under oil plug, remove oil plug (19mm x 1 bolt w/yellow arrow in below pic).

Remove oil filter and replace.  Sometimes the oil filters can be really stuck.  If it is really bad you can stick a screwdriver through it and use it as a lever to turn the oil filter off.

Caution - always check to see that the old filter gasket is off.  Sometimes the rubber gasket will stick to the oil filter housing.  If it's left there, it will cause a sudden leak later on when the double gasket blows.  Below is a picture showing the bare metal of the oil filter housing, that is what it should look like with no gasket.  The 27mm nut in the middle should not be loose as it holds the oil cooler.  (see 1000q: cooler removal for details on that) Also inspect for oil leaks or coolant leaks. 

Double check the engine oil drain plug and engine oil filter are tightened.  Put in slightly less oil than needed.  Lower the car so that the car is on level ground.  Wipe the dipstick clean and recheck the level.  If you need oil, slowly add oil and recheck.  Too much oil is bad because excess oil can foam up.  The optimum level is right below the upper mark on the dipstick.

If you spilled some oil on the ground, first wipe it up with towels.  Then pour some driveway spill absorber or basic kitty litter on the spill.  Step and grind the litter into a dust and let it sit for a while.  It needs time to soak up the stain.  When it's saturated, sweep up the gravel/dust.  If you can't find a dump for used coolant/antifreeze, engine oil, gear oil, or other car fluids, can search for a local waste disposal.  Don't dump it onto the ground!

Please post a comment in the mk3 VW Passat TDI forum if you have more tips or would like to report a broken link or picture.

Above the car method using an oil extractor (shown on mk4 TDI, similar procedure applies to your car)

Insert the vacuum oil extractor into the dipstick and down into the oil pan.  Use the vacuum to suck the oil out. If you want detailed steps, refer to the later TDI engine oil change articles.

Want more DIY advice?  Go back to the mk3 Volkswagen TDI index or search the site below.