How to Change Oil in a Duramax Diesel Engine

by Christian KillianUpdated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Oil drain pan or bucket

  • Socket set

  • Oil filter wrench

  • Oil filter

  • Torque wrench

  • Oil

Changing the oil on any vehicle should be routine maintenance and the Chevy Duramax Diesel is no different. You will need more oil than the standard car needs, and a larger filter, but the process is pretty much the same. You have a few choices for oil, so check your owners manual and see what is recommended for your model. You can get the oil and filter at your local auto parts store or at the dealer. You will also need a larger drain pan than you use for your car because the Duramax holds 10.5 quarts of oil.

Start the engine on your truck to let it warm up a little, then shut it off. You don't want it so hot that you get burned, but you want the oil warm enough to easily flow out of the pan. Remove the keys after you shut it off so that no one accidentally starts it while you are working on it.

Raise the front of the truck with a jack and support it on a set of jack stands. These are big trucks, so be sure you use stands that are rated for the weight of the truck. Chock the rear wheels to avoid the truck rolling or moving while you are under it.

Slide the drain pan under the oil pan drain plug located on the bottom of the pan. Loosen the drain plug using a socket and ratchet then turn the plug by hand, allowing the oil to drain into the pan.

Locate the oil filter on the engine block. You will find it on the passenger's side of the block above the pan. Loosen the filter with a filter wrench by turning it counter-clockwise. It may leak a little around the gasket as it is loosened so be sure to have your drain pan under it as it is removed.

Unscrew the filter by hand until it comes off the engine. Drop it straight down, keeping the top up to avoid oil spilling all over you, the truck and the ground.

Remove the new filter from the packaging and coat the rubber gasket with fresh oil. This will help it seal against the block when installed. Fill the filter with fresh oil to avoid running the engine dry on start up after you complete the oil change.

Install the filter by lifting it up into place and screwing it in using your hands. The filter only needs to be hand tight.

Reinstall the drain plug into the oil pan and tighten it until snug. Torque the drain plug to manufacturers specifications. These vary depending on the vehicle year, so check your owners manual or service manual for the correct specs for your truck.

Fill the engine with fresh oil until the dipstick indicates that it is full. Duramax Diesel engines hold between 10 and 10.5 quarts of oil with the filter. Once the engine is full, start it and let it run for two to three minutes to let the new oil circulate through the block.

Dispose of the old oil and filter by taking them to an approved oil recycling station or your local parts store if they offer this service.


Always use an oil specified for diesel motors in the Duramax.


Never use an oil filter wrench to tighten the new filter. If you over-tighten the filter, it will become very difficult to remove the next time you change your oil.

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