Changing Oil in a 4.3L Vortec

by Robert Good
tools image by CraterValley Photo from

A 4.3L Vortec is a 4.3 liter V6 engine with a much higher air intake, giving it more power than a regular engine. This particular engine is installed in many different General Motors (GM) vehicles. The 4.3 liter Vortec V6 engine uses 5W30 engine oil in colder climates and 10W40 in warm climates. The 4.3 liter Vortec V6 engine holds four and one-half qts. of engine oil inside the oil pan. The oil pan is located on the bottom of the engine and the oil filter is located on the driver's side of the engine right next to the oil pan. The oil filter will need to be changed as well during this process. No matter what vehicle this engine is in, the oil-changing process will be the same and take about 15 minutes to complete.

Step 1

Raise the front end of the vehicle using the jack and lower the front end of the vehicle onto the two jack stands. Slide under the engine so that you are looking up at the bottom of the engine. Position the oil drain pan under the drain plug on the underside of the oil pan.

Step 2

Remove the drain plug from the underside of the oil pan using the ratchet set. Allow the engine oil to completely drain from the Vortec's oil pan into the oil drain pan and then replace the drain plug in the bottom of the oil pan. Tighten the drain plug using the ratchet set

Step 3

Place the oil drain pan under the oil filter on the driver's side of the engine. Place the oil-filter removal tool around the oil filter. Pull back on the handle of the tool to tighten it around the filter. Turn the oil filter counterclockwise and pull it off the engine.

Step 4

Fill the new oil filter with the new engine oil and screw the filter into the engine as tight as you can using your hands. Remove the oil drain pan from under the Vortec and get out from underneath the vehicle.

Remove the jack stand and lower the vehicle to the ground using the jack. Open the hood and remove the black oil-filler cap from the top of the engine. Pour four and one-half qts. of new engine oil into the engine. Replace the oil cap and close the hood.


  • The Vortec engine oil will drain faster if you allow the engine to warm up slightly before you start this job.


  • Changing the engine oil while the engine is hot will result in serious burns.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack
  • 2 jack stands
  • Oil drain pan
  • Standard ratchet set
  • Oil-filter removal tool
  • New oil filer
  • 5 qts. engine oil (climate specific)

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