Jul 272011
volkswagen passat oil change

Oil and Filter Change on Passat

Yesterday I decided to change the oil in my 2003 1.8 Turbo Passat (even though I’ve never changed the oil in a vehicle before), and went looking for pictures or videos about oil/filter changing in online VW forums, but found NOTHING with much detail. Very frustrating. Even my Passat manual didn’t have pictures of an oil or filter change! There were a few forum written posts about oil change, but I had no idea what an oil pan looked like, let alone a filter, etc, etc.
So. I resolved to take what little info I got from the forums and make a video so others could see how it’s done.
How I changed the oil and filter in my Wolkswagen Passat

1. Remove the skirt from under the front of the Passat.
2. The one helpful piece of information I got for changing oil on a 2003 Passat was that you have to use a 19mm socket wrench to loosen the oil pan plug. Since I didn’t know where said pan was (there was nothing under the car that looked like a frying pan), I just took a 19mm wrench down there to find a bolt that fit it. I figured if the wrench fit, it was probably the plug for the oil pan. I was right. I loosed the bolt, placed a catcher under the oil pan, and drained it. The video doesn’t show this because I only thought to make this helpful video after I drained the oil. :)
3. Another helpful hint from a Passat forum was to move the coolant reserve tank out of the way to get to the filter more easily. Did that.
4. And the best suggestion from the Passat forums was to use a ziplock bag to put around the oil filter as you remove it so the oil doesn’t spill all over the inner parts of your motor. Did that too. Unfortunately, the old oil filter was so tight, I had to use a plumber’s wrench to remove it, and in doing that I poked a couple holes in the plastic bag. For future reference, loosen the oil filter first, then put a plastic bag around it and unscrew it.
5. Replace the filter.
6. Put the plug back on the oil pan.
7. Refill your oil tank.
8. Replace the skirt (or whatever it’s called) under the front of the Passat. This was by far the most difficult part of the whole oil change! It would have been helpful if I’d written down where everything fit while I was taking it off!
By the way, I did get the letter from VW about the oil sludge problem in the 2003 Passat, so the oil I used was 5/30 synthetic as per directions. Hopefully I’ll avoid the sludge buildup! My total cost was $38 including 4 quarts and an oil filter.


  7 Responses to “Volkswagen Passat Oil Filter Change”

  1. Very good guy! I have a 99 that needs a bunch of stuff…oil cooler leaking… Cool how u got to it all with no jacking of the car. Good job…peeps like you keep the internet a great place for help!

  2. thanks for posting this video. it helped me out alot. its my first time changing the oil in my 03 passat. using ur video i had no problems. thanks again.

  3. Thank you! Very helpful. My underpanel practically fell off as I appear to be missing most of the screws. Very inconveniently placed filter — but moving coolant helped considerably.

    • You’re very welcome. Remember to pay it forward: whenever you do any work on your car, video tape it and upload to Youtube. : ) There are precious few visual instructions on car maintenance & repair!

  4. Oil price increase now. So that’s good to change oil by yourself. Thanks the sharing the information and instruction. Give it a try next time.

  5. Great job Marty!
    Two thumbs up for changing your own oil!!! For future parts/maintenance do what I do. I take a picture of the removal all in order so I can document it and remember where everything went. I just did this yesterday on my newest sewing machine and the process was a breeze.

    • You’d think I would have done that ever since my fourth grade teacher taught us to do just that with an iron! But sometimes my DIY brain gets stubborn. :)