GM Malibu/Cutlass 1997-2000

Engine

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OIL LEVEL CHECK



Every time you stop for fuel, check the engine oil making sure the engine has fully warmed and the vehicle is parked on a level surface. Because it takes some time for the oil to drain back to the oil pan, you should wait a few minutes before checking your oil. If you are doing this at a fuel stop, first fill the fuel tank, then open the hood and check the oil, but don't get so carried away as to forget to pay for the fuel. Most station attendants won't believe that you forgot.

  1. Make sure the car is parked on level ground.
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  3. When checking the oil level, it is best for the engine to be at normal operating temperature, although checking the oil immediately after stopping will lead to a false reading. Wait a few minutes after turning off the engine to allow the oil to drain back into the crankcase.
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  5. Open the hood and locate the dipstick which will be in a guide tube mounted in the upper engine block. Pull the dipstick from its tube, wipe it clean (using a clean, lint free rag) and then reinsert it.
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Fig. The oil dipstick handle may be color coded yellow-3.1L engine shown



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Fig. Some oil dipsticks are integrated with the filler cap, as on this 2.4L engine



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Fig. Pull the dipstick from its tube, wipe it clean (using a clean, lint free rag) and then reinsert it.

  1. Pull the dipstick out again and, holding it horizontally, read the oil level. The oil should be between the FULL and ADD marks on the dipstick. If the oil is below the ADD mark, add oil of the proper viscosity through the capped opening in the top of the cylinder head cover or filler tube, as applicable. See the oil and fuel recommendations listed earlier in this section for the proper viscosity and rating of oil to use.
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Fig. The engine oil is in the "safe" range when the level is in the crosshatched area of the dipstick



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Fig. The oil fill cap is threaded into the front valve cover of the 3.1L engine



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Fig. Use a funnel to avoid spillage onto a hot exhaust manifold

  1. Insert the dipstick and check the oil level again after adding any oil. Approximately one quart of oil will raise the level from the ADD mark to the FULL mark. Be sure not to overfill the crankcase and waste the oil. Excess oil will generally be consumed at an accelerated rate.
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WARNING
DO NOT overfill the crankcase. It may result in oil-fouled spark plugs, oil leaks cause by oil seal failure or engine damage due to oil foaming.

OIL & FILTER CHANGE



The manufacturer's recommended oil change interval is 7,500 miles (12,000 km) under normal operating conditions. We recommend an oil change interval of 3,000-3,500 miles (4,800-5,600 km) under normal conditions; more frequently under severe conditions such as when the average trip is less than 4 miles, the engine is operated for extended periods at idle or low-speed, when towing a trailer or operating is dusty areas.

In addition, we recommend that the filter be replaced EVERY time the oil is changed.


NOTE
Please be considerate of the environment. Dispose of waste oil properly by taking it to a service station, municipal facility or recycling center.

  1. Run the engine until it reaches normal operating temperature. The turn the engine OFF .
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  3. Raise and safely support the front of the vehicle using jackstands.
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  5. Slide a drain pan of at least 5 quarts capacity under the oil pan. Wipe the drain plug and surrounding area clean using an old rag.
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Fig. Loosen the drain plug using a proper sized wrench

  1. Loosen the drain plug using a ratchet, short extension and socket, or a box-wrench. Turn the plug out by hand, using a rag to shield your fingers from the hot oil. By keeping an inward pressure on the plug as you unscrew it, oil won't escape past the threads and you can remove it without being burned by hot oil.
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  3. Quickly withdraw the plug and move your hands out of the way, but be careful not to drop the plug into the drain pan, as fishing it out can be an unpleasant mess. Allow the oil to drain completely, then reinstall the drain plug. Do not overtighten the plug.
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  5. Move the drain pan under the oil filter. Use a strap-type or cap-type wrench to loosen the oil filter. Cover your hand with a rag, and spin the filter off by hand; turn it slowly. Keep in mind that it's holding about one quart of dirty, hot oil.
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Fig. Use a strap-type or cap-type wrench to loosen the oil filter


NOTE
Be careful when removing the oil filter, because the filter contains about 1 quart of hot, dirty oil.

  1. Empty the old oil filter into the drain pan, then properly dispose of the filter.
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  3. Using a clean shop towel, wipe off the filter adapter on the engine block. Be sure the towel does not leave any lint which could clog an oil passage.
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  5. Coat the rubber gasket on the new filter with fresh oil. Spin the filter onto the adapter by hand until it contacts the mounting surface. Tighten the filter 3 / 4 to 1 full turn.
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Fig. Before installing a new oil filter, lightly coat the rubber gasket with clean oil

  1. If raised, carefully lower the vehicle.
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  3. Refill the crankcase with the correct amount of fresh engine oil.
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Fig. Remove the oil fill cap from the valve cover . . .



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Fig. . . . then use a funnel to refill the crankcase with fresh engine oil

  1. Check the oil level on the dipstick. It is normal or the level to be a bit above the full mark until the engine is run and the new filter is filled with oil. Start the engine and allow it to idle for a few minutes.
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CAUTION
Do not run the engine above idle speed until it has built up oil pressure, as indicated when the oil light goes out.

  1. Shut the engine OFF and allow the oil to flow back to the crankcase for a minute, then recheck the oil level. Check around the filter and drain plug for any leaks, and correct as necessary.
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When you have finished this job, you will notice that you now possess four or five quarts of dirty oil. The best thing to do is to pour it into plastic jugs, such as milk or old antifreeze containers. Then, locate a service station or automotive parts store where you can pour it into their used oil tank for recycling.


NOTE
Improperly disposing of used motor oil not only pollutes the environment, it violates Federal law. Dispose of waste oil properly.

 
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