How to Choose the Oil and Fluids for Chevrolet Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The exact same vehicle is sold under the names Chevrolet car Captiva, GMC Terrain, Holden Captiva, Opel Antara, and Vauxhall Antara in other countries. Here's how to choose the oil and fluids for all model years of the Chevrolet car.

Under The Hood:

 How to Choose the Oil and Fluids for a GMC Sierra

Use Delco Supreme 11 brake fluid or a DOT-3 equivalent to maintain your stopping power. If you're using your vehicle for off-road racing or other high-impact uses that may require a lot of braking, consider using a specialty brake fluid to prevent boil over.

Maintain your 5-speed transmission's hydraulic clutch system with hydraulic clutch fluid, GM part number 12345347 in the U.S. and 10953517 in Canada, or use a DOT-3 equivalent brake fluid. The 6-speed transmission requires a different clutch fluid, GM part number 88958860 in the U.S. and 88901244 in Canada, or a Super DOT-4 equivalent.

Refill your power steering fluid reservoir with GM power steering fluid, U.S. part number 89021184 or Canada part number 89021186.

Change your DEXRON-III automatic transmission fluid regularly if you have an automatic transmission. You can also use this transmission fluid in the GMC Sierra manual transfer case. If you're running a manual transmission, see Tips below for information about manual transmission fluid.

Lube your rear axle with an SAE 75W-90 synthetic axle grease. If you have a steerable rear axle, it's vital that you don't add a friction modifier. For the front axle, use an SAE 80W-90 axle lubricant.

 How to Choose the Oil and Fluids for a Chevy Cobalt

Top off your radiator or coolant reservoir as necessary with a 50/50 mixture of clean, drinkable water and DEX-COOL coolant. Using any other coolant may lead to premature corrosion.

Use SAE 5W-30 engine oil that meets GM standard GM6094M if you're running the 2.2L L4 engine. Look for the "American Petroleum Institute Certified for Gasoline Engines" starburst symbol. Your owner's manual recommends GM Goodwrench oil as meeting all the requirements for a Chevrolet Cobalt.

Change your transmission fluid regularly to keep it from getting dirty. Make sure to use DEXRON-III automatic transmission fluid whether you have a manual or automatic transmission. Look for the statement, "Approved for the H-Specification," on the ATF fluid label.

Note that while Chevrolet recommends Optikleen Washer Solvent for use in your Chevy Cobalt, this is one of the fluids where discernment is least necessary. So long as you're using fluid with sufficient anti-freeze protection for your temperature zone, almost anything works.

Put Delco Supreme 11 brake fluid in your brakes and clutch system if possible. You may substitute equivalents, but they absolutely must be DOT-3.

 How to Choose the Oil and Fluids for a Geo Tracker

Use only engine oil certified for gasoline engines by the American Petroleum Institute--look for their starburst logo on the bottle. SAE 10W-30 oil is suitable if temperatures won't fall below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, but 5W-30 is a better choice. If temperatures will fall below -20 Fahrenheit, consider using a synthetic 5W-30 oil or even 0W-30 for better cold starting.

Mix one part of clean drinkable (preferably distilled) water to one part of ethylene glycol base coolant that conforms to GM specification 1825M to keep your Geo Tracker running cool. You can also use approved recycled coolant that conforms to the same specification. The GM part number for this type of coolant is 1052753.

Keep your brakes working well with Delco Supreme 11 brake fluid, GM part number 12377967, or an equivalent DOT-3 brake fluid. Using grades other than DOT-3 may result in damage to or failure of your vehicles brakes.

Put DEXRON-III automatic transmission fluid in your Geo Tracker power steering system and automatic transmission. The manual transmission requires Synchromesh Transmission Fluid, GM part number 12345349.

Maintain your hydraulic clutch with GM hydraulic clutch fluid, part number 12345347, or an equivalent DOT-3 brake fluid.

 How to Choose the Oil and Fluids for a Chevy Avalanche

Other Oils

Use Dexron-VI automatic transmission fluid in the automatic transmission, and if your Avalanche is four-wheel drive, the transfer case. Any premium-grade ATF will do as long as it's Dexron-VI. Your rear axle takes SAE 75W-90 synthetic oil and the front takes SAE 80W-90 gear oil. Again, any premium-grade oil will do as long as it's the specified SAE range.

Other Fluids

Temperature comes back into play when choosing a windshield washer fluid. Chevy recommends Optikleen washer solvent; but for cold climates, choose a washer solvent labeled as an antifreeze solution -- not antifreeze coolant, but antifreeze washer solvent. For engine coolant, use a silicate-free antifreeze. Chevy recommends Dex-Cool. For your brakes, use DOT3 brake fluid and in your Avalanche's power steering system, use GM power steering fluid.

 How to Choose the Oil and Fluids for a Saturn VUE

Double-check the oil you're using in the 2.2L L4 engine to be certain it meets GM standard GM6094M and is SAE 5W-30 viscosity. In temperatures about 0 degrees Fahrenheit, 10W-30 oil is acceptable. In vehicles running the 3.5L V6 engine, SAE 5W-20 engine oil is recommended for all temperatures.

Replenish your clutch and brake hydraulic fluids with Delco Supreme 11 brake fluid or a DOT-3 brake fluid equivalent.

Use DEXRON-III automatic transmission fluid in your manual transaxle. The automatic transaxle in the 3.5L V6 requires ATF Z1 automatic transmission fluid, and the VTi variable transaxle requires DEX-CVT fluid and DEX-CVT fluid additive, part numbers 22688912 and 22697447 respectively.

Keep your engine running cool with a 50-50 mix of clean drinkable water and DEX-COOL coolant. Using other types of engine coolant may lead to premature corrosion of cooling system components.

Run VersaTrak fluid, GM part number 12378514 in the United States, in your rear drive module.

Drain and refill your transfer case--if you have the 3.5L V6 engine--with synthetic axle lubricant, GM part number 12378261 in the United States. If you're not running the V6 engine, you can use the same VersaTrak fluid you put in your rear drive module.

 How to Choose the Oil and Fluids for a Geo Metro

Use SAE 5W-30 oil in your Geo Metro's engine. A 10W-30 oil may be acceptable if temperatures won't fall below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, but you should avoid using other oil viscosities like 20W-50 or 10W-40.

Keep your automatic transmission running smoothly with DEXRON-III automatic transmission fluid. The manual transmission takes 75W90 GL5 gear oil in model years 1989 and beyond, although both enthusiasts and manufacturers recommend GM Synchromesh oil as superior for all model years.

Top off your brake fluid reservoir with clean DOT-3 brake fluid only. Using the wrong grade of brake fluid may result in brake damage or failure.

Refill your Geo Metro's power steering fluid reservoir with DEXRON-II power steering fluid as necessary.

Maintain your Geo Metro transfer case as necessary with gearbox oil grade SAE 80W-90.