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How to Change the Oil in a Pontiac Vibe

by Justin Cupler; Updated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Oil drain pan

  • Six-point, box-end wrench set

  • Thick shop cloths

  • New drain plug gasket

  • Torque wrench

  • Six-point socket set

  • Ratchet

  • Oil filter cup

  • Small, flathead screwdriver

  • 5 quarts 5W-30 engine oil

  • New oil filter

Pontiac's peppy hatchback, the Vibe, was actually a rebadged Toyota Matrix. With its useful cabin and a pair of engines that furnished a respectable amount of power, the Vibe was a rather popular model near the end of Pontiac's production life. The Vibe's final year was also Pontiac's, as GM shuttered the failing brand following the 2010 model year. Pontiac recommended changing the oil and oil filter in the 2010 Vibe's base, 1.8-liter engine every 8,000 miles.

Start the Vibe's engine and allow it to idle until it reaches operating temperature, which is roughly halfway up the temperature gauge. Park the Vibe on a flat surface, then open the hood and unscrew the oil filler cap from the top of the engine. Lift the front of the vehicle with a floor jack and set jack stands under the reinforced pinch welds just behind the front wheels. Lower the Vibe onto the jack stands.

Crawl under the vehicle and find the oil drain plug -- the bolt on the lowest point of the oil pan -- and place an oil drain pan under it. Loosen the drain plug with a six-point, box-end wrench. Cover your hand with a thick shop cloth to protect it from heat, then remove the drain plug the rest of the way by hand. Allow the oil to flow into the drain pan until only slow drips come from the engine. Pull the old gasket from the drain plug, wipe the drain plug off with a shop cloth and install a new drain plug gasket. Reinstall the drain plug and tighten it to 27 foot-pounds, using a torque wrench and six-point socket.

Find the oil filter cap -- the black, plastic cap -- on the driver side of the engine, near the oil pan. Set the drain pan under the cap and loosen the cap four turns with a ratchet and oil filter cup. Allow oil to flow from the cap, then remove the cap by hand once the flow of oil stops. The filter will come out with the cap.

Pull the oil filter from the cap and set it in the drain pan. Remove the O-ring from the cap, using a small, flathead screwdriver to pry it from its groove. Clean the oil filter cap threads and the O-ring groove with a clean, lint-free cloth. Roll a new O-ring -- included with the new filter -- down the threads until it seats in the groove. Cover the O-ring in a thin coat of new, 5W-30 engine oil, using your finger. Press the new oil filter into the cap.

Position the oil filter cap so the cutouts in the threads are about 90 degrees -- one-fourth of a turn -- from the grooves in the mounting boss. Snug the oil filter cap by hand, then tighten it to 18 foot-pounds with the oil filter cup and torque wrench.

Lower the Vibe to the ground. Insert a clean funnel into the oil filler hole on the top of the engine, and pour 4.4 quarts of standard or synthetic 5W-30 oil into the engine. Wait about two minutes for the oil to settle. Remove the oil dipstick, wipe the oil off it with a clean shop cloth, and reinsert it. Remove the oil dipstick again and verify that the oil level is slightly above the upper indent in the dipstick.

Start the engine and let it idle for about two minutes, and check for oil leaks while it runs. Turn the engine off and wait two minutes for the oil to settle. Recheck the oil level on the dipstick and verify that it is at the upper indent. Add more oil, if needed, to reach this point.

Screw the oil filler cap back onto the engine and reinsert the dipstick. Close the hood. Take the old oil and filter to an auto parts store of local oil recycling center for disposal.

About the Author

Justin Cupler is a professional writer who has been published on several websites including CarsDirect and Autos.com. Cupler has worked in the professional automotive repair field as a technician and a manager since 2000. He has a certificate in broadcast journalism from the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. Cupler is currently studying mechanical engineering at Saint Petersburg College.

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