TDI Oil Change and Filter Change (Clean Diesel Common Rail)

Quick and Easy, and you’ll know it’s done right

Anyone who’s done any research on VW TDIs know VW has some very specific oil requirements for these engines. And the requirements change with each new generation TDI. The ’09 and later TDIs with common rail engines (Engine Code CBEA) require oil that meets VW’s 507.00 specification. Castrol has joint ventured with VW to create an oil for this purpose, and Total, Lubro-Moly, and some other refiners also have an oil that will work in this engine.

Many owners worry about the dealer or repair shop putting the correct oil in their TDI. The best way to be sure is to do it yourself! This how-to shows how easy it is to do on your own.

In this how-to we’ve changed the oil using the traditional method of removing the drain plug and draining the oil from the pan. Many owners prefer to use an extractor to pull the oil out of the pan through the dipstick tube. The CBEA can make this a little more challenging than earlier TDIs because of baffles in the pan. So we’re showing the old-fashioned way.

What will you need?

Pretty simple:

  • An oil filter, VW Part Number 071115562C. These filters are made by Mann (VW OE), Mahle, and other makers
  • Five liters of 507.00 oil
  • A new drain plug or crush washer for your existing drain plug

An oil change “kit” for the 2009-2010 TDI with the items above is available from our sponsor, IDParts.com – Clean Diesel Oil Change Kit

Some VW drain plugs have captive washers. Most folks recommend replacing them when changing the oil. Many owners have re-used them with no ill effects. It’s up to you.

You’ll also need the following tools:

  • Torx wrenches (T25 & T27) to remove the lower engine cover
  • A 19mm wrench (box, socket, or open ended—3/4″ will also work)
  • An oil drain plan
  • Water pump pliers or an oil filter wrench to remove the top of the filter canister
  • A small screwdriver or pick to remove the O-rings from the filter canister cover
  • Some paper towels to protect some areas of the engine compartment and clean up
  • A way to get the nose of the car in the air: ramps, jack stands, or, best yet, a lift. Please do not use a jack to support the car, it’s not safe.
  • Rubber gloves are really helpful, too, and plan on getting oil on your clothes. It seems impossible to avoid, at least for some of us.

Preparation

The oil should be warm and have circulated through the engine just before changing. Best way is to drive the car a few miles (5 would be plenty) to warm up the oil and make sure the impurities are in suspension. Don’t drive too much or the oil will be unpleasantly hot.

Draining the oil

Get the front of the car high enough in the air so you can reach under it and remove the lower engine cover. Once the cover is off and out of the way, put a drain pan under the oil pan. Use the 19mm wrench to remove the drain plug. Remember the head of the bolt is pointing away from the front of the car when you decide which way to turn it.

Remember the oil will flow rearward, make sure it isn’t going to miss the pan.

Once the drain plug is out, let the oil drain and turn your attention to the filter.

Removing the filter

Many VWs now have paper filter cartridges that live in a canister on the left side (towards the radiator) of the engine. This system makes changing the filter significantly easier and neater than removing a spin-on filter.

The canister has a black top, and what looks like a very large nut on top of it. It’s probably bigger than the sockets you have (about 35mm). If you have one that will fit, use it to loosen the top. If not, you can use a pair of water pump pliers to loosen the top.

Remove the filter canister top. There’s a wrapped line in front of the canister that’s covered in heat insulation. You may want to protect that from drips by covering it with a paper towel.

Once the top is off, pull the filter out of the canister. You may want to have a plastic bag available to put the filter in as soon as it comes out to reduce dripping

Sometimes the spindle on the filter will break off in the canister, as it did in the center of the picture below. If it does, you’ll have to remove it with a pair of pliers. Some people also like to use an extractor to remove the last bits of oil from the filter canister.

Once the canister is clear of the old filter, including the spindle, you can put the new filter in place. It’s pretty easy to get right side up as the spindle points down.

Open the o-ring that came with the filter and replace the one on the canister top. Put the top back on. Tightening torque is very little, about 8 ft/lbs. You really don’t need to make it more than barely hand tight. The gasket will do its job.

Putting it back together

Replace the drain plug. Torque spec is not a lot, about 12 ft/lbs. Remember the pan is aluminum and you don’t want to damage it.

Be sure you’re using the right oil – the new diesels require 507.00 specification oil. We’re using Castrol SLX Gold 5w30 for this job but there are many other 507.00 approved oils. IDParts carries many 507.00 approved oils, including Castrol.

Put 4 liters in the car, check the dipstick. A5s have what we think is one of the world’s most confusing dipsticks, so you may want to consult your owner’s manual to be sure of the correct level

Once the car’s buttoned up and at least 4 liter of oil is in it, start it up. Check for leaks. Shut it off and check the oil. If the nose of the car is in the air, don’t fine tune the oil level until the car is level.

If you’re satisfied that you’re leak-free, replace the lower engine cover and put the car on a level surface. Let it sit for a few minutes and then check the oil. Add oil as needed. You should have about ½ liter left when you’re done.

Congratulations!

Many of us changed our own oil when we were in our teens, but have gotten away from it as work, family, and other demands (or lack of a place to do it) got in the way. It’s one of the simplest things you can do for your TDI. And it’s rewarding to know that you’ve done it right with the right spec oil.

32 thoughts on “TDI Oil Change and Filter Change (Clean Diesel Common Rail)”

  1. EXCELLENT INSTRUCTIONS AND PHOTOS! I suggest you make the Do It Yourself instructions more apparent on the main web site, and reference it with the purchase confirmation.

    I have changed the oil on VW diesels several times, correctly, and then found I had a bad oil leak when my Low Oil Pressure alarm came on. I had forgotten to remove the o-ring, so the new one slid to the top of the cap. Worked a while and then failed. When I realized it, I grabbed a new o-ring from the box (I keep spare oil and fuel filters), felt relief, and the next day the oil leakage was worse! Went over everything again and finally realized I grabbed the fuel filter o-ring instead of the oil filter’s! Replaced it, and now okay.

    Do you think I damaged the bearings when the low oil light came on? I immediately stopped and added oil.

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