DIY engine oil change: VW Jetta TDI, Golf, and New Beetle 98-06

Difficulty: 2/5
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This article shows how to change your engine oil on a mk4 VW Jetta TDI, VW Golf TDI, or VW New beetle TDI

The procedure for the 1998-2003 engines and 2004-2006 engines are pretty much the same.  Although the engine might look a little different, the engine oil filter and housing are the same. If you have a 2005.5-2006 VW Jetta, please refer to the mk5 article here, 1000q: mk5 engine oil change.

For types of VW approved oil and change intervals, refer to the article: 1000q: engine oil for pumpe duse cars or 1000q: engine oil for non-pumpe duse cars.  You can use a "from the top" oil extractor but it doesn't give you a chance to inspect the bottom of the engine when you are underneath the car draining the oil.  The advantage is that it's faster and you get out all of the engine oil, even the bit that is in oil filter housing.  The disadvantage is that you have to make sure the extractor tube is at the very bottom of the oil pan.  If it's not then you're not extracting all the oil.  If you push it too far the tip will curl up and not suck the bottom of the oil pan.  A video of this procedure is at the bottom.


19 mm wrench
oil filter wrench or VW tool 3417 or an equivalent is shown below
oil catch pan 
T-20 torx bit to remove belly shield/plastic cover (if you have a metal skid plate, use the instructions that came with it, see 1000q: skid plate for more details).

new engine oil filter for diesel VW# 074-115-562 - caution - some oil filters were manufactured with the "top" label on the bottom!  When you remove the old filter, note how it fits.  The new filter should fit the same way and will not fit correctly upside down.

4.5L of engine oil
For 1998-2003 engines only: please see 1000q: engine oil for non-pumpe duse cars
For 2004-2006 engines only: please see 1000q: engine oil for pumpe duse cars for a longer list of VW approved oils.

Here is TDI Hoo's review of the Assenmacher oil funnel (click to enlarge gallery)
tdi oil funneljetta tdi oil funneljsw tdi oil funnelvw tdi oil funnelVW JSW oil change


Torque specs:
engine oil drain plug - 22 ft lbs
oil filter cap - 18 ft lbs

If you spill 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.  Do not dump old engine oil onto the ground or into the water!  If you can't find a dump for used coolant/antifreeze, engine oil, gear oil, or other car fluids, the website can search for a local waste disposal.

Under the car method

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.  I use wood blocks that I made to help support the car but always place jack stands at the factory hack points before getting under the car.  See the TOS Agreement for the full legal disclaimer.  See 1000q: jack stand points to see where the points were on my car.

Remove the oil filter (circled in green), pull out the old filter, and replace.  The filter is marked "top", place that side against the oil cap.  The reason why you have to remove the oil filter first is because there's a button that is opened when you remove the filter.  This drains a handful of oil out of the oil filter housing that would otherwise mix with the new engine oil.  The button is normally closed so that the filter housing is full of oil and not air on cold starts.

There are also 2 o-rings on the cap shaft, replace them as well.

Remove the torx screws holding the plastic engine lower shield.

Place the catch pan under the oil plug and remove the oil plug (19mm x 1 bolt circled in yellow).  Make sure that you are not removing the transmission oil drain plug!  The oil plug is on the oil pan, which is at the bottom of the engine.  If you open the plug before removing the engine filter housing, you'll find that some additional oil will come out.  Again, this is why the factory service manual recommends that you remove the filter first.

Double check the engine oil drain plug and engine oil filter are tightened.  Do not overtighten the drain plug because the oil pan is aluminum.  Do not overtighten the oil filter cap - let the o-ring do its job!  After you put in the new filter, you can fill the filter housing with engine oil.  This will ensure maximum lubrication upon engine start.  

Lower the car so that the car is on level ground.  Fill slightly less oil than specified and check the level.

Wipe the dipstick clean and add oil until the level is between the upper and lower marks on the dipstick.  Too much oil is as bad as too little oil.  An oil level more towards the upper mark is better since the engine will burn off a little oil over time.  Check for any oil leaks and recheck the level after a test drive and as needed.

Above the car method using an oil extractor

The oil filter removal is the same.

Insert the oil extractor through the dipstick and suck the oil out.  The engine must be fully warmed or else the oil will flow very slowly.  When you're almost done, move the tube around to suck up the corners.  Also insert the extractor through the oil filter housing down into the oil cooler to get it all out.  The rest of the procedure is the same.  Here is a video showing extraction on a new VW Jetta TDI (ignore the tips but it shows the basic procedure).

TDILow3 made an oil extractor storage sleeve using some PVC piping to keep the tubing clean. Here is a .pdf showing the project:


If you have any more questions on how to change the engine oil on your VW Jetta, Golf, or New Beetle TDI or would like to review an engine oil product or suction device, please post your comment in the VW TDI discussion forums, thank you!