Last post on Sep 12, 2010 at 3:59 PM
You are in the Chevrolet Cobalt
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Chevrolet Cobalt, Oil, Paint, Coupe, Sedan
#6 of 138 Re: Cooling fan?? [airmn65]
Mar 20, 2006 (8:33 pm)
I could be talkin' through my hat, but I believe the oil filter is in a canister on the front right side of the engine as you are facing it. I have a 2004 Cavalier, and since the Cobalt shares the same engine, a good guess would be the same location. One of the easiest oil changes you will ever do!! Just remove the top cover, and be sure to install the new filter in the same manner as removing the old.
#7 of 138 Re: Cooling fan?? [johnnymurph]
Mar 21, 2006 (6:33 am)
Thank you Johnny for the advise...Yes I think you are right about the oil filter, as others have told me the same thing. Now I just gotta figure out why the coolant fan comes on at low temps or at startup. The dealer says thats normal???!!!! Hmmmm! Well take care.
#8 of 138 How to change your Cobalts oil...
Apr 08, 2006 (3:51 am)
How To Change The Oil In Your Chevrolet Cobalt
When your ready to change the oil in your Chevy Cobalt you'll discover that the Cobalt uses an oil filter cartridge instead of the normal oil filter canister that you screw on.
1. When Do I Change My Oil? While many times the manufacturer recommends changing your oil every 3,000 miles or so, the Cobalt actually has a computer that uses a working algorithm to calculate the use of your oil based on how much you drive, how fast you drive, and how quickly you accelerate. With the computer you only need to change your oil when the "Change Oil Soon" messages appears on your message board. I myself change my oil every 3,000 miles or 4 months reguardless of what the oil life is.
2. What materials do I need? You will need 5 Quarts of 5W/30, an oil filter (cartridge) for your car, a #15 metric wrench, a tool to take loose the oil filter plug, old rags, an oil pan, and a funnel.
3. Make sure the engine is warm Get all of your tools together, purchase the oil and filter, and then drive your car around awhile to get your engine warm. If your heater is blowing out hot air then you are good. This gets your engine oil thinned out which will make it easier to drain.
4. Drain your oil Put your drain pan under the car's oil pan and loosen the bolt using the metric wrench. Just loosen the bolt first, unless you wish to have your hand drenched in burning hot oil (remember, you just drove it around to get it hot). Once you loosen the bolt with the wrench, you can continue to turn the bolt with your fingers, holding it tight until your ready to pull the plug out and let it drain. Make sure your aim is correct and you pull it quick or you could get oil all over the floor, your hand, your face, or anything else that is in the way. Remember you just drained the oil out of your car, so good luck getting to the emergency room if you burn your face off.
5. Change your filter While you let your oil drain, go ahead and get under the hood of the car. Once you pull the oil cap off you can pull off the big plastic cover that sits over the engine. It isn't bolted down, so all you have to do is lift up on it and it will come right off. Once the plastic cover is removed, you will be able to see the canister where the filter goes. It's silver, it hangs directly off the side of the engine, closest to the front of the car, and the top of it has a black, plastic plug that you can remove by turning it with a socket or a wrench, but let me tell you it takes a big one. If you don't have a socket that fits, then you can be creative and try to get it loosened another way. Be careful, don't ruin or bust the plastic top. Once you get it unscrewed, just lift up on the black plug and the filter will come right out with it. Put the new filter in. Make sure the filter canister is empty, and then put it back into the canister and tighten it up.
6. Put your oil plug back in and fill it up Once it's finished draining, put your oil plug back in and tighten it. Now that your filter is in and your oil plug is in, your next step is to put your new oil in the engine. This is where the funnel comes in handy.
7. Start it up and check for leaks Once you have filled your car with the proper amount of oil you need to start it up and make sure it isn't leaking or dripping from the oil plug or from the filter canister. If everything is tight you shouldn't have a problem.
8. Reset your computer As soon as your oil is changed you need to reset your computer. Read the manual on your Cobalt to figure it out... it is easy.
#9 of 138 Re: How to change your Cobalts oil... [wallstfun]
Apr 08, 2006 (7:07 am)
That's very helpful, thank you.
#10 of 138 Re: How to change your Cobalts oil... [wallstfun]
Apr 09, 2006 (9:44 am)
Great info on the oil change..Thank you! I was wondering how that plastic eng. cover is removed. Now I know. I love my Cobalt and I like to do myown work when I can.ie:oil changes, but I was not sure how to remove that cover!!lol.
Thanks again wallstfun. Take care.
#11 of 138 Re: How to change your Cobalts oil... [wallstfun]
Apr 10, 2006 (1:35 pm)
Great summary on the oil change. I would just add the following:
1. Inspect the condition of the threads on your drain plug bolt at every change. If in doubt replace it (they cost about $4.50;its probably a good idea a spare around, both in case you ever need to actually replace the old one, and to compare conditions).
2. Wipe off the magnetic tip (if your drain plug comes with one - the spare I bought does) on the drain plug.
3. Make sure the drain plug bolt threads are clean - no debris. Wiping off the threads with a shop rag ISN'T a good idea (unless you dropped the plug in some leaves etc.) because even a clean rag can actually introduce debris - coming out of the oil pan, your plug should only have old oil on it, and the "particles" in used oil are so microscopic they don't need wiping off. If in doubt, spray off the threads with WD40 or similar. For the same reason don't wipe off the oil pan drain hole threads (but you SHOULD have wiped the area surrounding the drain plug bolt, and the exterior of the bolt, before removing it in the first place).
4. Gently put the drain plug bolt back in - it should thread in WITHOUT ANY FORCE, by hand, nice and easy. If it feels at all sluggish, it might going in "cross-threaded" so back it out and adjust it (shift it around) until you can easily thread it in by hand; it should be really easy. No wrench, no socket.
5. Tighten the drain plug as firmly as you can BY HAND, NO WRENCH. THEN put the wrench on and turn it 1/4 to 1/8 of a turn further - no further than that, even if it didn't take much force to turn it that far. Double check by trying to unscrew it with your fingers. It shouldn't move (unless you have one heck of a grip). If your grip is weak, it's ok to use the wrench to tighten it the last part, but count the 1/4 to 1/8 turn from the point where the drain plug bolt face first contacts the oil pan face. I emphasize not overtightening since drain plug bolts are steel, pans are aluminum, and guess which one strips first? And guess how much pans cost? (Around $500?.)
6. Topside, don't overtighten the filter top. It's only plastic and doesn't call for a death grip tighten. With plastic threads, it's easier to strip it than you think. But this is not as costly a mistake as stripping the drain pan below, since the filter top is relatively cheap to replace.
It's a good idea to carry a spare drain plug in any car you own, and a little Loctite non-permanent gasket sealer. That way if you have an oil leak (hopefully only after thousands and thousands of miles of driving and many, many oil changes) you will have a plug handy, no matter where you stop for service. On the Cobalt, the same thing with the top plate over the oil filter. If an aggressive mechanic at a non-GM shop breaks it, you have a (cheap) replacement ready to go. If you do oil changes on Saturday and there's time to get the factory part from a nearby dealer (if they stock it) it might not be so bad, but imagine a Sunday oil change and an overtightening mistake.
Even if you don't do your own oil changes, carrying in a drain plug and asking them to swap plugs (notch one with a file so you can tell them apart)lets you monitor the condition of the drain plug and its o-ring. Treated right, the original drain plug SHOULD go the life of the car. If you see problems developing, there should still be plenty of time to save your oil pan (with a new plug, an oversized plug, or "thread savers").
In terms of topping off the oil after a filter change, add 4.5 quarts (or a little less than the manual indicates for an oil and filter change). Don't worry about what the dipstick shows - it SHOULD show a little low, because it takes about 15 minutes, at least, for your oil to drain down to the oil pan. Either re-check it in the morning after parking it all night, or at least 15 minutes later, and it should be ok; if not, add a little more oil and you will have a better sense of how much to add next time. But do check the dipstick before quitting on your oil change. One of the common errors people make is to undercount or overcount the number of bottles of oil they are using. Count them going in, then double check your count when you put the empties in the trash. Unless you have a bullet proof memory, check the number of quarts you use against the owner's manual each time. Most small cars take 4.5, but some take less, some take more. You can write the number down with a marking pen some inconspicuous place on the hood, trunk hood, or door jamb so you don't have to pull the manual.
Be careful about the oil filler cap. These often get forgotten at the end of an oil change. Have a mental checklist of "D'oh!'s" to go through.
As for changing the oil more fequently than the oil life monitor (OLM or DIC computer) indicates, I do the same. There are a couple of points here: First, consider doing the "extra" oil change when the OLM indicates 50% remaining life, instead of by mileage - the OLM takes into account YOUR driving habits and conditions, so why not let it work for you? Second, don't reset the computer after an intermediate oil change, since the current owner's manual ties inspections and minor services to the OLM indicator life, NOT to mileage anymore (which will save you money with less frequent services). So you need the OLM to be a "maintenance clock," not just an oil change indicator. Third, consider whether an oil filter change is necessary during the intermediate oil changes. I would do it every time with a conventional cannister oil filter, but the filter in the Cobalt lets all the oil drain out - when you chuck that naked element, you are really not getting much extra oil out. Since GM engineered the oil filter for FULL OLM indicated life, why not leave it in until the OLM really says you need an oil change (for this reason I will probably use only a GM branded oil filter, not aftermarket).
Finally, the engine shroud is "plugged on" in the lower right hand corner and upper left hand corner. Don't twist the cover by pulling up on only one corner; try to lift the whole thing straight up (or wiggle one side up then the other). It's just a metal prod with a rubber donut on each side.
BTW, I got a computer calculated 36.5 mpg and a manually calculated 33.62 mpg on my first tank of gas! I figure the discrepancy in mileage figures is the result of a small variation in the fills between the full tank I got from the dealer, and my own first fill up. This is great mileage for a very quick car!
#12 of 138 Re: How to change your Cobalts oil... [micweb]
Apr 21, 2006 (5:49 am)
The OLM on my daughter's Cobalt has expired and the council display reads "change oil soon". In this case should the oil filter be changed and is it located under the engine shroud you mentioned? Most auto parts stores carry Fram or other brands of filters, not necessarily GM. Is there a significant problem using one of these? Lastly, the manual provides instructions that the OLM should be reset when performing an oil change. Would you consider this a good time to reset the OLM? Thanks for your assistance.
#13 of 138 Re: How to change your Cobalts oil... [wallstfun]
Apr 21, 2006 (6:26 am)
Can this oil filter cartridge be purchased at a local auto parts store or is it a dealer item? Thanks for your assistance.
#14 of 138 Re: How to change your Cobalts oil... [rico13]
Apr 21, 2006 (9:15 am)
My honest recommendation is to go to Wallyworld or an autoparts store, buy your favorite oil, then call around a few Chevy dealers to find out (i) do they have a quick oil change lane (some do), (ii) how much is their oil change, and (iii)do they have any specials that include a multipoint inspection (21 point etc.) (which is essentially a look-see under the hood and under the carriage). Then carry in your own oil to your dealer of choice and get the oil change, usually with a $5 credit for bringing in your own oil.
You just can't beat a dealer for oil changes, especially on a new car during warranty period. They use a factory filter (after market filters are generally ok, but if something goes wrong, you have two companies to deal with in terms of their warranty, and the filter company needs to come out and inspect their filter and write up a claim, whereas if the dealer installs a filter that fails, they take care of it). I used to get mad when dealers tried to upsell me on services before the owner's manual called for them, or for services that don't even exist in the owner's manual (like power steering fluid flushes), or for additives when every reputable oil company says DON'T USE ADDITIVES (snake oil). But I've learned the power of a friendly "no." And the value of keeping all your potential warranty/damage (stripped oil pan?) claims under one reputable roof.
About the only negatives of a dealer oil change are - it's generally about $10 more than a Wallyworld oil change (but comparable to Jiffy Lube etc.); and it isn't always as convenient.
BTW, the Fram etc. filters for the Cobalt, even at Wallyworld, are about $7.50, not much less than the dealer's filter, I believe.
If you are committed to DIY, you need to gently lift up the diagonal corners (upper left, lower right) to get the shroud off the engine, and on your lower right you will see a black plastic top, about the size of the top of an old fashioned coffee can, with a large "bolt" on top - the bolt is just a large molded piece to apply your wrench to - it's oversize since the top is plastic. Your drop in filter lives under there. Some filter kits, I've heard, include a new 0-ring, most don't.
BTW, general consensus among oil fans, is that if you are going to change oil by the OLM, you should use a good quality oil. Some us us prefer full synthetics, but if you want a lot of the quality of a synthetic for a much lower price, the Conoco line of oils are now reportedly 50% full synthetic, with the other 50% being a good quality Group II base stock. Kendall, 76, TropArtic, Motorcraft are all made by Conoco; all satisfy the somewhat obscure GM oil spec (which is concerned with low temperature pourability, really only an issue with a solvent refined, Group I, dino oil). I get TropArtic for $1.52 a bottle at Wallyworld (I use it in our PT Cruiser, which gets 3,000 mile oil changes due to my wife's very short trips), cheaper than Pennzoil/Castrol/Chevron.
Another well-regarded non-synthetic is Halvoline, very cheap in jugs at Wallyworld. Then you have Chevron Supreme (probably similar to Halvoline, since they are both owned by Chevron now); Pennzoil; Castrol; Quaker State. Rumor has it, that Goodwrench branded oil is Mobil Clean 5,000, an ok but not great conventional oil - thinking being there are better conventional oils for the money.
In terms of resetting the oil life monitor, it is quite easy to do and the method is in that little "brochure" style quickie owner's manual in your glove box. But, yet another reason to go to the dealer, alternate "OLM resets" are used to determine the frequency of minor services, instead of 7,500/15,000 miles. So theoretically on the second OLM reset, you are supposed to have a minor inspection and tire rotation (check your manual). Certainly the OLM should be reset when you do the oil change, regardless of who does it, just remember at the next OLM reset you need to do the inspections noted in your manual.
#15 of 138 Re: How to change your Cobalts oil... [micweb]
Apr 21, 2006 (9:19 am)
I forgot to mention, that the "multipoint inspection," usually free, cover most of what your minor services call for. AND, on the Cobalt, there are NO major service items that I noted, for non-severe driving, until you hit 100K miles.