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Chevrolet Sonic 1.8L Engine Oil Change Guide
How to change the motor oil and replace the cartridge oil filter in a 1st generation 2012 to 2014 GM Chevy Sonic.

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2013 Sonic 1.8L Engine
Twist Off Oil Filler Cap
Pull Up Oil Dipstick
This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the first generation (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2016) Chevy Sonic equipped with the GM "Family 1" Ecotec DCVCP 1.8 liter A18XER (2H0) inline four cylinder engine in changing the motor oil and replacing the cartridge style oil filter.

Owners of other General Motors vehicles equipped with the A18XER motor, or similar Ecotec engines, such as the Chevrolet Cruze, Opel Zafira, Astra, Mokka and Insignia may also find these DIY oil change instructions to be helpful.

The items needed to complete this procedure include a floor jack, two jack stands, a 10mm socket with a 1/4" drive ratcheting wrench, a used oil catch container, a 24mm socket with a 1/2" drive ratcheting wrench, an automotive funnel, 4.8 quarts (4.5L) of new SAE 5W-30 oil and a new cartridge style oil filter.

A few compatible aftermarket "cartridge" style oil filters include the following with their part numbers: ACDelco PF2257G, K&N PS-7027, Purolator L15839, Fram CH10246, Hastings LF643, Pennzoil PZ-171 and Valvoline VO-98.
Pointing To Oil Filter Cap
Hex Head Bolt - Oil Filter Cap
Raise Passenger Side of Car
The first steps are to warm up the engine for a few minutes, park the car on a level surface and shut off the engine.

Warming up the engine will help suspend any contaminants within the old oil and allow it to drain out more quickly.

Pop open the hood, twist off the oil filler cap in the counter clockwise direction and pull the yellow handled oil level dipstick up an inch or two.

Removing the oil filler cap and pulling up the dipstick will help prevent a vacuum from forming and allow the old oil to drain out more quickly.

In Picture # 4 above, I'm pointing to the cartridge style oil filter cap with my black metal floor jack handle bar. The black plastic oil filter cap has a hex head and is located on the front right (driver side) of the engine next to the silver metal exhaust headers heat shield.

Raise the front passenger side of the vehicle and securely support it with at least two jack stands.

Silver Metal Oil Pan
10mm Oil Drain Bolt
Used Oil Catch Basin
Slide under the passenger side of the engine with a 10mm socket, a 1/4" drive ratcheting wrench, a used oil catch basin and some newspapers.

Spread out the newspapers below the silver metal oil pan to help catch any drips.

The oil drain bolt is located on the bottom of the oil pan closest to the rear of the vehicle. It is marked with the torque rating of 14 Nm (10.3 ft-lbs) and a clockwise arrow indicating in which direction to tighten the bolt.

Place the used oil catch container just below the oil drain bolt.

Loosen 10mm Drain Bolt
Drain Out Old Oil
Tighten To 10 ft-lbs Torque
Loosen the oil drain bolt by turning it counter clockwise with the 10mm socket and ratcheting wrench.

Be careful when you remove the drain bolt since the old oil may be hot enough to burn your skin depending on how long you warmed up the engine in the first step.

Spin out the drain bolt by hand and set it aside in a safe place.

Allow the old oil to drain out for at least a few minutes or until the flow slows to an occasional drip.

Re-insert the drain bolt and spin it in a few turns in the clockwise direction by hand to prevent it from becoming cross threaded.

Tighten the bolt with the 10mm socket and ratcheting wrench by turning it clockwise to just past hand tight or about 10 ft-lbs (14 Nm) of torque.

Double check that the oil drain bolt is tight before moving on to the next steps.


Slide Oil Basin Forward
Loosen 24mm Oil Filter Cap
Pull Out Oil Filter Housing
Move the used oil catch container forward to just below the black plastic cartridge oil filter housing.

Slide out from underneath the car and move to the top of the engine bay.

Loosen the oil filter cap by turning it counter clockwise with the 24mm socket and 1/2" drive ratcheting wrench.

Replace Filter & O-Ring
Oil Filter Receptacle
Spin On Oil Filter Cap
Spin out the oil filter cap and remove the old cartridge oil filter.

Remove the old rubber o-ring from the top of the threads on the oil filter cap by gently prying it off with your finger nail or a small flathead screwdriver. Try to avoid scratching or otherwise damaging the plastic oil filter cap threads.

I recommend buying the General Motors OEM ACDelco PF2257G oil filter since it has excellent reviews on Amazon.

Lubricate the new rubber o-ring gasket with a small amount of new SAE 5W-30 oil. Install the new rubber o-ring to the top of the threads near the center of the filter cap.

Push a new cartridge oil filter in the filter cap and spin the assembly back in to the filter housing on the engine in the clockwise direction.

Tighten Filter Clockwise
Lower Car From Stands
Insert Funnel In Filler Hole
Tighten the oil filter cap with the 24mm socket and ratcheting wrench to about 1/4 to 1/3 turn past hand tight.

Do not over tighten the cap to prevent from cracking the plastic cap or damaging the rubber o-ring gasket.

Lower the car from the jack stands using the floor jack.

Insert the automotive funnel in to the oil filler hole.

Pour In New SAE 5W-30
Twist On Oil Filler Cap
Check Dipstick Oil Level
Pour in about 4 to 4.5 quarts of new SAE 5W-30 oil in to the oil filler hole.

The Ecotec 1.8L A18XER engine's total oil capacity for an oil change with filter replacement is 4.8 US quarts (or 4.5 liters).

It is far better to have slightly less oil than necessary in an engine than too much, which can lead to blown gaskets.

Temporarily replace the oil filler cap by twisting it on in the clockwise direction and push the dipstick back down.

Run the engine for a few minutes, turn off the engine, and then wait at least 5 to 10 minutes to allow the oil to drain back down to the oil pan.

Pull out the dipstick, wipe it clean, re-insert it and check the level on the dipstick. If necessary, slowly pour in more oil and repeatedly check the level on the dipstick until it reaches at or just below the top of the cross hatched area.

You may not need to pour in the entire 4.8 quarts of new oil depending on how long you allowed the old oil to drain out.

Be sure to record the oil change in your service records. Watch your drive way or garage floor for drops of oil that may indicate a leak from the drain bolt or filter housing. It's also a good idea to check the level on the dipstick during the next few days.

For more, check out my other Chevy Sonic Repair & Maintenance Guides.

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