Changing the oil is a vital part of any engine’s service. The more oil is used, the more it degrades and the less effective it becomes at lubricating the various parts of the engine. We’ve already done a blog on changing engine oil. But a vital part of that is changing the oil filter.
Is changing an oil filter easy?
The answer is yes and no. If you know what you’re doing and you have the right equipment, it’s dead simple. To make life easier and more comfortable, it’s best if you can put your car up on a ramp. That makes accessing the oil filter on the Polo a piece of cake. On other cars, you can get to the filter from the top of the engine which makes things easier.
Generally with oil filters on modern engines, you’re looking for a cylindrical metal canister so it’s not too fiddly.
Finding the oil filter on a Polo
The oil filter is at the front of the engine, towards the bottom on the VW Polo (it’ll be the same on the Skoda Fabia, Audi A2, Seat Ibiza and some Golfs). To access it, you need to remove the floor section beneath the engine bay. This means undoing nine screws. Again, it’s a job that’s much easier to do if you have plenty of room to work in and you’re not grovelling around beneath the car. Remove the screws and keep them somewhere safe. You don’t want the floor flapping around because you’ve lost a couple of screws.
You need the right tools
At the very least, you need to be able to lift your car safely off the ground. If you don’t have a hydraulic lift or a pit, that means either mini ramps or axle stands. It’s unsafe do this with the car simply resting on the jack.
You also need a torque wrench. This is to tighten the filter up the correct amount. If it’s not tight enough, it’ll leak; too tight and when you come to change it again, you’ll struggle to undo it. But you’ll need a model specific housing so your torque wrench will fit the filter.
You should be able to undo the old oil filter by hand. If it’s stuck, you can buy an oil filter wrench which will give you extra leverage.
Equally, when you do the sump plug up, you should use a torque wrench to tighten it to the correct setting. Go too tight and you could damage the thread on the plug.
Clean things up
Once you’ve drained the car’s oil from the sump, undo the oil filter. A small amount of oil will spill out of this but the filter should come off fairly easily. You then replace the filter with its successor and re-fit the sump plug.
There’s a high chance that as you’ve drained the oil out of the car and removed the filter, oil has spilt onto the engine. It’s good to clean this up. First, it’s not a bad thing to have pride in what you do. But also, cleaning up the old oil will make it easier to see if there are any leaks from the new filter and sump plug.
Finally, do remember to put new oil back in the car. It’s easy to think the job is done once everything’s been tightened up and the floor beneath the car replaced!
I’ve been writing about cars and motoring for more than 25 years. My career started on a long-departed classic car weekly magazine called AutoClassic. I’ve since pitched up at Autosport, Auto Express, the News of the World, Sunday Times and most recently the Daily Telegraph. When I’m not writing about cars and motoring, I’m probably doing some kind of sport or working in my garden.