How to Change the Oil in a 2003 Chevy Tahoe

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Chevrolet does not recommend a mileage interval between oil changes, but instead uses the GM Oil Life System to warn you when to change the oil. This system counts engine revolutions and monitors engine temperature to determine when to signal “Change Engine Oil.” Once you see this signal, you should change the oil, along with the oil filter, within two fuel refills.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 jack stands
  • Emergency jack
  • Drain pan
  • Crescent wrench
  • Oil filter wrench
  • Drain bolt washer
  • Socket wrench
  • Rag
  • PF44 or PF454 oil filter
  • 6.0 to 6.5 qts. of SAE 5W-30 motor oil
  • Funnel
  • Set the emergency brake. Using a jack, raise the front of one side of your Tahoe. Position a jackstand under the raised section, then lower that side onto the stand. Repeat on the other side. Block the rear wheels.

  • Start the engine and let it idle until the radiator fan comes on. Heating the engine oil helps it drain easier. Shut the engine off. Wait five minutes so the oil has a chance to settle in the drain pan.

  • Unscrew the oil filler cap, which is marked “SAE 5W-30,” but don’t remove it. Air will help the oil drain faster.

  • Find the oil drain bolt under the engine. It will likely be the lowest bolt you’ll see. Don’t confuse it with the transmission fluid drain plug. The two are easy to distinguish after running the engine because the metal around the oil drain bolt will be warm.

  • Loosen the oil drain bolt counterclockwise with a wrench without unscrewing it. If it’s stuck, use a closed-end wrench for a better grip. Put a drain pan under the bolt and unscrew it manually. Wait five minutes before starting to replace the oil filter.

  • Put the oil filter wrench over the top of the oil filter, which is a baseball-sized cylinder. Turn the filter wrench counterclockwise to remove the oil filter, then lift off the O-ring seal. Wipe off any oil residue from the engine, coat the new O-ring with oil and put it around the oil filter opening.

  • Insert a new AC Delco PF44 oil filter, unless the eighth character of the VIN in the lower right corner of your windshield is G. If it’s G, you need to use a PF454 filter. Turn the filter by hand until you meet resistance, then turn it another 2/3 revolution with the filter wrench. Allow the oil to drain for an hour.

  • Insert a new AC Delco PF44 oil filter, unless the eighth character of the VIN in the lower right corner of your windshield is G. If it’s G, you need to use a PF454 filter. Turn the filter by hand until you meet resistance, then turn it another 2/3 revolution with the filter wrench. Allow the oil to drain for an hour.

  • Add 6.0 quarts of SAE 5W-30 oil through a funnel inserted in the refill-cap opening, unless you used a PF454 filter, which means that your engine takes 6.5 quarts of oil. Be sure to use oil that’s marked with the API for-gas-engines starburst.

  • Check the engine oil dipstick, which has a yellow ring and is on the passenger side of the engine compartment, to make sure you’ve added the right amount of oil. Screw the filler cap back in. Run the engine in neutral until the radiator comes on. Check the oil drain bolt and filter for leaks. Lower the Tahoe off any supports.

  • Reset the GM Oil Life System by turning the ignition key to “Run.” Fully press and release the accelerator three times in five seconds. The “Change Engine Oil” light will then flash for five seconds to confirm a successful reset.

Tips & Warnings

  • Take used oil to a recycling center or garage for lawful disposal.
  • Never get under a vehicle that's supported only by an emergency jack.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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