Chevrolet Cobalt General Care & Maintenance
I just picked my 2006 Cobalt LTZ, and I noticed that the electric coolant fan runs at startup even though the water temp. is about 75 degrees! Is this normal? It seems strange to me. Can anyone PLEASE advise me? Also, where is the darn oil filter located at?? I have a 2.2 eng.,sedan. Thank you... Harvey
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Any thoughts? I DO love the car though!!! WOW!!
When your ready to change the oil in your Chevy Cobalt you'll discover that the Cobalt uses an oil filter cartridge instead of the normal oil filter canister that you screw on.
1. When Do I Change My Oil? While many times the manufacturer recommends changing your oil every 3,000 miles or so, the Cobalt actually has a computer that uses a working algorithm to calculate the use of your oil based on how much you drive, how fast you drive, and how quickly you accelerate. With the computer you only need to change your oil when the "Change Oil Soon" messages appears on your message board. I myself change my oil every 3,000 miles or 4 months reguardless of what the oil life is.
2. What materials do I need? You will need 5 Quarts of 5W/30, an oil filter (cartridge) for your car, a #15 metric wrench, a tool to take loose the oil filter plug, old rags, an oil pan, and a funnel.
3. Make sure the engine is warm Get all of your tools together, purchase the oil and filter, and then drive your car around awhile to get your engine warm. If your heater is blowing out hot air then you are good. This gets your engine oil thinned out which will make it easier to drain.
4. Drain your oil Put your drain pan under the car's oil pan and loosen the bolt using the metric wrench. Just loosen the bolt first, unless you wish to have your hand drenched in burning hot oil (remember, you just drove it around to get it hot). Once you loosen the bolt with the wrench, you can continue to turn the bolt with your fingers, holding it tight until your ready to pull the plug out and let it drain. Make sure your aim is correct and you pull it quick or you could get oil all over the floor, your hand, your face, or anything else that is in the way. Remember you just drained the oil out of your car, so good luck getting to the emergency room if you burn your face off.
5. Change your filter While you let your oil drain, go ahead and get under the hood of the car. Once you pull the oil cap off you can pull off the big plastic cover that sits over the engine. It isn't bolted down, so all you have to do is lift up on it and it will come right off. Once the plastic cover is removed, you will be able to see the canister where the filter goes. It's silver, it hangs directly off the side of the engine, closest to the front of the car, and the top of it has a black, plastic plug that you can remove by turning it with a socket or a wrench, but let me tell you it takes a big one. If you don't have a socket that fits, then you can be creative and try to get it loosened another way. Be careful, don't ruin or bust the plastic top. Once you get it unscrewed, just lift up on the black plug and the filter will come right out with it. Put the new filter in. Make sure the filter canister is empty, and then put it back into the canister and tighten it up.
6. Put your oil plug back in and fill it up Once it's finished draining, put your oil plug back in and tighten it. Now that your filter is in and your oil plug is in, your next step is to put your new oil in the engine. This is where the funnel comes in handy.
7. Start it up and check for leaks Once you have filled your car with the proper amount of oil you need to start it up and make sure it isn't leaking or dripping from the oil plug or from the filter canister. If everything is tight you shouldn't have a problem.
8. Reset your computer As soon as your oil is changed you need to reset your computer. Read the manual on your Cobalt to figure it out... it is easy.
Thanks again wallstfun. Take care.
1. Inspect the condition of the threads on your drain plug bolt at every change. If in doubt replace it (they cost about $4.50;its probably a good idea a spare around, both in case you ever need to actually replace the old one, and to compare conditions).
2. Wipe off the magnetic tip (if your drain plug comes with one - the spare I bought does) on the drain plug.
3. Make sure the drain plug bolt threads are clean - no debris. Wiping off the threads with a shop rag ISN'T a good idea (unless you dropped the plug in some leaves etc.) because even a clean rag can actually introduce debris - coming out of the oil pan, your plug should only have old oil on it, and the "particles" in used oil are so microscopic they don't need wiping off. If in doubt, spray off the threads with WD40 or similar. For the same reason don't wipe off the oil pan drain hole threads (but you SHOULD have wiped the area surrounding the drain plug bolt, and the exterior of the bolt, before removing it in the first place).
4. Gently put the drain plug bolt back in - it should thread in WITHOUT ANY FORCE, by hand, nice and easy. If it feels at all sluggish, it might going in "cross-threaded" so back it out and adjust it (shift it around) until you can easily thread it in by hand; it should be really easy. No wrench, no socket.
5. Tighten the drain plug as firmly as you can BY HAND, NO WRENCH. THEN put the wrench on and turn it 1/4 to 1/8 of a turn further - no further than that, even if it didn't take much force to turn it that far. Double check by trying to unscrew it with your fingers. It shouldn't move (unless you have one heck of a grip). If your grip is weak, it's ok to use the wrench to tighten it the last part, but count the 1/4 to 1/8 turn from the point where the drain plug bolt face first contacts the oil pan face. I emphasize not overtightening since drain plug bolts are steel, pans are aluminum, and guess which one strips first? And guess how much pans cost? (Around $500?.)
6. Topside, don't overtighten the filter top. It's only plastic and doesn't call for a death grip tighten. With plastic threads, it's easier to strip it than you think. But this is not as costly a mistake as stripping the drain pan below, since the filter top is relatively cheap to replace.
It's a good idea to carry a spare drain plug in any car you own, and a little Loctite non-permanent gasket sealer. That way if you have an oil leak (hopefully only after thousands and thousands of miles of driving and many, many oil changes) you will have a plug handy, no matter where you stop for service. On the Cobalt, the same thing with the top plate over the oil filter. If an aggressive mechanic at a non-GM shop breaks it, you have a (cheap) replacement ready to go. If you do oil changes on Saturday and there's time to get the factory part from a nearby dealer (if they stock it) it might not be so bad, but imagine a Sunday oil change and an overtightening mistake.
Even if you don't do your own oil changes, carrying in a drain plug and asking them to swap plugs (notch one with a file so you can tell them apart)lets you monitor the condition of the drain plug and its o-ring. Treated right, the original drain plug SHOULD go the life of the car. If you see problems developing, there should still be plenty of time to save your oil pan (with a new plug, an oversized plug, or "thread savers").
In terms of topping off the oil after a filter change, add 4.5 quarts (or a little less than the manual indicates for an oil and filter change). Don't worry about what the dipstick shows - it SHOULD show a little low, because it takes about 15 minutes, at least, for your oil to drain down to the oil pan. Either re-check it in the morning after parking it all night, or at least 15 minutes later, and it should be ok; if not, add a little more oil and you will have a better sense of how much to add next time. But do check the dipstick before quitting on your oil change. One of the common errors people make is to undercount or overcount the number of bottles of oil they are using. Count them going in, then double check your count when you put the empties in the trash. Unless you have a bullet proof memory, check the number of quarts you use against the owner's manual each time. Most small cars take 4.5, but some take less, some take more. You can write the number down with a marking pen some inconspicuous place on the hood, trunk hood, or door jamb so you don't have to pull the manual.
Be careful about the oil filler cap. These often get forgotten at the end of an oil change. Have a mental checklist of "D'oh!'s" to go through.
As for changing the oil more fequently than the oil life monitor (OLM or DIC computer) indicates, I do the same. There are a couple of points here: First, consider doing the "extra" oil change when the OLM indicates 50% remaining life, instead of by mileage - the OLM takes into account YOUR driving habits and conditions, so why not let it work for you? Second, don't reset the computer after an intermediate oil change, since the current owner's manual ties inspections and minor services to the OLM indicator life, NOT to mileage anymore (which will save you money with less frequent services). So you need the OLM to be a "maintenance clock," not just an oil change indicator. Third, consider whether an oil filter change is necessary during the intermediate oil changes. I would do it every time with a conventional cannister oil filter, but the filter in the Cobalt lets all the oil drain out - when you chuck that naked element, you are really not getting much extra oil out. Since GM engineered the oil filter for FULL OLM indicated life, why not leave it in until the OLM really says you need an oil change (for this reason I will probably use only a GM branded oil filter, not aftermarket).
Finally, the engine shroud is "plugged on" in the lower right hand corner and upper left hand corner. Don't twist the cover by pulling up on only one corner; try to lift the whole thing straight up (or wiggle one side up then the other). It's just a metal prod with a rubber donut on each side.
BTW, I got a computer calculated 36.5 mpg and a manually calculated 33.62 mpg on my first tank of gas! I figure the discrepancy in mileage figures is the result of a small variation in the fills between the full tank I got from the dealer, and my own first fill up. This is great mileage for a very quick car!
You just can't beat a dealer for oil changes, especially on a new car during warranty period. They use a factory filter (after market filters are generally ok, but if something goes wrong, you have two companies to deal with in terms of their warranty, and the filter company needs to come out and inspect their filter and write up a claim, whereas if the dealer installs a filter that fails, they take care of it). I used to get mad when dealers tried to upsell me on services before the owner's manual called for them, or for services that don't even exist in the owner's manual (like power steering fluid flushes), or for additives when every reputable oil company says DON'T USE ADDITIVES (snake oil). But I've learned the power of a friendly "no." And the value of keeping all your potential warranty/damage (stripped oil pan?) claims under one reputable roof.
About the only negatives of a dealer oil change are - it's generally about $10 more than a Wallyworld oil change (but comparable to Jiffy Lube etc.); and it isn't always as convenient.
BTW, the Fram etc. filters for the Cobalt, even at Wallyworld, are about $7.50, not much less than the dealer's filter, I believe.
If you are committed to DIY, you need to gently lift up the diagonal corners (upper left, lower right) to get the shroud off the engine, and on your lower right you will see a black plastic top, about the size of the top of an old fashioned coffee can, with a large "bolt" on top - the bolt is just a large molded piece to apply your wrench to - it's oversize since the top is plastic. Your drop in filter lives under there. Some filter kits, I've heard, include a new 0-ring, most don't.
BTW, general consensus among oil fans, is that if you are going to change oil by the OLM, you should use a good quality oil. Some us us prefer full synthetics, but if you want a lot of the quality of a synthetic for a much lower price, the Conoco line of oils are now reportedly 50% full synthetic, with the other 50% being a good quality Group II base stock. Kendall, 76, TropArtic, Motorcraft are all made by Conoco; all satisfy the somewhat obscure GM oil spec (which is concerned with low temperature pourability, really only an issue with a solvent refined, Group I, dino oil). I get TropArtic for $1.52 a bottle at Wallyworld (I use it in our PT Cruiser, which gets 3,000 mile oil changes due to my wife's very short trips), cheaper than Pennzoil/Castrol/Chevron.
Another well-regarded non-synthetic is Halvoline, very cheap in jugs at Wallyworld. Then you have Chevron Supreme (probably similar to Halvoline, since they are both owned by Chevron now); Pennzoil; Castrol; Quaker State. Rumor has it, that Goodwrench branded oil is Mobil Clean 5,000, an ok but not great conventional oil - thinking being there are better conventional oils for the money.
In terms of resetting the oil life monitor, it is quite easy to do and the method is in that little "brochure" style quickie owner's manual in your glove box. But, yet another reason to go to the dealer, alternate "OLM resets" are used to determine the frequency of minor services, instead of 7,500/15,000 miles. So theoretically on the second OLM reset, you are supposed to have a minor inspection and tire rotation (check your manual). Certainly the OLM should be reset when you do the oil change, regardless of who does it, just remember at the next OLM reset you need to do the inspections noted in your manual.
Yes, I have also heard Mobile oil is the base AC/Delco oil.
When you think about the fact that your Cobalt engine is designed to be driven for five years or 150,000 miles (whichever comes first) before replacing the coolant, for 100,000 miles before changing the spark plugs and, based on driving conditions, without ever changing the automatic transmission fluid ... it doesn't seem so strange that you can go 5000 miles before changing the oil!
I'd appreciate any input here. Thanks!!
I know nothing about the thermostat location but it's got to have one, or it wouldn't warm up fast enough and it wouldn't comply with modern emissions standards (which usually require a quick warmup).
BTW posting the same question multiple times in a short period doesn't really help. It takes time for people to read new posts, and some people check in really infrequently. Your car is under warranty, you can always ask your service advisor a question (it pays to make friends with your service advisor, donuts early in the morning works wonders).
Airmn65 I've asked someone to look at this. Hope we can figure it out.
Sorry for posting my message many times and I hope it didn't seem silly. YES I did want to post my proper name, so thanks again for your great help... Airmn65
I am now curious to see what happens to operating temperature if I drive up one of those grades (grapevine north of LA, for example) where they tell you to turn off your aircon to prevent overheating.
The Cobalt is a neat little car. I have 1900 miles on my stick shift coupe now, and am just beginning to get a feel for the engine. For example, it accelerates briskly from 50-75 in 5th gear if I give it some throttle - compared to my former stick shift rides, Focii ZX3, which usually required a downshift to 4th to get moving. Obviously GM (generous motors) was pretty good to us to give us a 145 hp 2.2 engine instead of the 120-136 hp engines common to most of these cars.
It's also reassuring to see the side impact tests, which indicate a very strong body structure (but I do wish side curtain airbags were standard on all these cars).
So thanks again. I won't worry so much about the temp. now-lol. Take care.
Second question, my LS has the standard bolt-on wheel covers. Sometimes I think I hear squeaking that might be coming from them over bumps. Has anyone had a similar experience? Does anyone know how tight they should be?
By the way, I've still been averaging between 34 and 35 MPG with a 5-speed!
Thanks for your help...
Cartridge oil filter listings for the 2.2L Ecotec Engine family:
SuperTech:. 9018 (made for WalMart by Champion Labs [formerly sold widely as the "Lee" brand in the aftermarket])
AC-Delco:. PF456G; PF457G; PF458G
(I suspect these AC-Delco part numbers are variations reflecting engineering revisions. Many AC-Delco brand oil filters are made for GM by Champion Labs.)
Solid info, micweb! (I know - I'm an amateur oilhead and have researched all I can find online about motor oils for over three years, now.) A couple of minor points: 1) after Chevron Oil Co. purchased the Havoline name rights from Equilon, Chevron used a better base oil stock (Chevron's "ISO-SYN" Group II+ base oil - not quite a Group III, but awfully close) and a somewhat more robust additive package (heavy on the molybdenum-based anti-wear agent) in Havoline than their own Chevron Supreme brand. However, the company now confirms through their consumer hotline that Havoline and Chevron Supreme are the same product in differently labled bottles - though C/S still enjoys a price advantage. The good news is that C/S was brought up to the same level of base oils (Group II+) and Havoline's outrageosly generous amount of molybdenum anti-wear addtive, rather than dumbing down Havoline. 2) Mobil Clean 5000 is actually a pretty darned good motor oil. ExxonMobil, by the way, is the largest blender of automaker-brand motor oils in the U.S., including Honda and Toyota in addition to GM "Mr Goodwrench" motor oils. (I've traveled far and wide in the U.S., and I've yet to see any automaker brand oil derricks or refineries...) I agree completely with your assessment of ConocoPhillips's stable of syn-blends - truly EXCELLENT motor oils at very reasonable pricing. These are not "also-rans" and it's a shame that Conoco-Phillips doesn't do more to get the word out about these lubes. That 50% synthetic content in the Conoco-Phillips brands is very significant. Most syn-blends from other blenders only carry 10%-20% synthetic content. (There's no gub'mnt mandated minimum synthetic content in a syn-blend motor oil.) Unfortunately the company's various brands (Phillips 66 TropArtic, 76 Super, Conoco Super All Season, and Kendall GT-1) enjoy only limited availability - made worse by WalMart apparently in the process of dropping TropArtic according to recent reports on BITOG. The difference between the Conoco-Phillips brands and Motorcraft synthetic-blend motor oil that C/P toll blends for Ford in the U.S. is the price (and Motorcraft's flashy orange bottles ).
ANY brand formulated motor oil that meets current API SM/ILSAC GF-4 specs (and the individual automaker specs which actually coincide with the API specs) have "additives" blended into them. Motor oils typically consist of ~80%-85% base oil stocks and ~15%-20% additive content (The proportions vary with viscosity range; addtives include thin-film antiwear agents to protect against cold start wear, friction modifiers to improve fuel economy, viscosity index improver polymers to maintain "body" under heat, pour point depressants allow for better cold weather flow, detergent/dispersant chemistry traps and neutralizes contaminants to retard varnish/sludge formation, anti-foaming agents, and dyes for leak identification - usually amber, though "Royal Purple" motor oil is...um, I forget... High grade Group II and above base stocks are water-white clear, or nearly so. They're known as "Bright Stocks" in the industry.) If formulated motor oils didn't rely on additization, modern, high compression engines would have visible varnish and sludge deposits in them within 3,000 miles. (Current motor oils ain't yer granddaddy's motor oils - which were little more than filtered light distillates.) Mobil Clean 5000 costs "a few cents more" because ExxonMobil, like Castrol GTX, Pennzoil, Quaker State, Motorcraft and other premium brands can get away with it, NOT because they're inherently superior when actually compared to other API SM motor oils. I have no problem with those who willingly pay a premium for their motor oil - which is one reason I'm heavily invested in ExxonMobil, SOPUS (Shell Oil, U.S.), and British Petroleum (Castrol) securities. But for my own use, I'll just stick with my "Dollar Tree Stores"-scored seven cases of TropArtic synthetic blend and happily encourage the premium brand users to continue enjoying their preferred brands' slick magazine and TV advertising that they're paying dearly for by the quart.
My wheel covers move...I can turn them by hand, however, there is no noise from them.
My feeling on waiting to change oil until the computer tells you is that the longevity of the engine would be effected...lets face it GM sells cars so why would they want to have it last say 200K with frequent oil changes.
Mine has gotten 40MPG on rural roads at speeds of 50MPH or under,however, that figure goes down on the innerstate at speeds around 70 MPH. My average is between 34.1 and 34.7
with an automatic with 45K on it....cold weather lowers my fuel economy.
Here is a tip on air filters for the 2.2 engine...they are only available at the dealer or by order from Oreilly Auto parts.. Most auto parts stores do not stock them. Do not wait to change it until 50K like the book says..it will be FILTHY...I changed mine at 35 K.
BYW: I have an 06 and an 05.
According to the information we have the normal operating temperature of the
2005 Chevrolet Cobalt's 2.2L DOHC 4 CYL Engine is 185-205 degrees.
Additionally, the Cobalt is equipped with two fans for engine cooling. The
low speed engine cooling fan engages at 223 degrees; while the high speed
fan engages at 230 degrees. If the engine is operating between 223 and 229
degrees the low speed fan should be in operation, this is considered normal
operation. Above 230 degrees the high speed fan engages to prevent engine
It makes NO sense to me and GM will not budge....I say it WILL shorten both engine and transmission life.
GM says overheating does not occure until 265 degrees, I agree with you the fan should come on about 195.
I have seen them online at 12.99 and Snap on has them for 27.00...and Oreilly auto parts stocks then for 8.99
Here is what GM told me in an email about high temps...I do not agree but here it is:
According to the information we have the normal operating temperature of the 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt's 2.2L DOHC 4 CYL Engine is 185-205 degrees.
Additionally, the Cobalt is equipped with two fans for engine cooling. The low speed engine cooling fan engages at 223 degrees; while the high speed fan engages at 230 degrees. If the engine is operating between 223 and 229 degrees the low speed fan should be in operation, this is considered normal operation. Above 230 degrees the high speed fan engages to prevent engine over-heating.
My understanding after speaking with a local dealership about the operating temperature of the 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt is that constant temperatures and operation above the 265 degree mark is what would affect the longevity of the engine. Even though the "Normal" operational temperature is listed as 185-205 degrees, the actual can vary based on numerous conditions, weather, speed, load, etc.
Once again, the engine running up and into the 220's with the low speed fan in operation is considered to be normal operation. If the engine was running in the mid 220's without the low speed fan in operation I would be concerned, more so about the engine control module than the engine itself. The engine control module controls at what temperatures the fans operate.
When the engine has to run with the high speed fan on continuously due to engine temperatures in excess of 265 degrees the longevity of the engine may be affected, that is something your local dealership should check into as soon as possible. By the way, at 265 degrees the engine's overheat indicator will illuminate. This is the point at which the engine may be adversely affected by the temperature.
Any info would be helpful. Thanks
Thanks for letting me know.
Mine is at 93,000 and it will soon be time to change them.
I know the plugs are under the silver cover with the ignition module on it and that it needs to come off; but what then ? Are there any tricks/tips ?
1. Turn the ignition key to RUN with the engine off.
2. Fully press and release the accelerator pedal tree
times to the floor within five seconds.
The change engine oil light will flash while the system is resetting.
3. Turn the key to lock position.
If the change engine oil light comes back on and stays on when you start your vehicule, the engine oil life system has not reset. Repeat the procedure.
Keep me in touch, I would like to know if the Cobalt's oil light resetting is the same as the Equinox. Just curious.
According to automobile manufacturer research, a certain percentage of automatic transmission failures are caused by over-filling and/or using the incorrect transmission fluid. It is important to remember to NEVER over-fill the transmission assembly and to ALWAYS use the recommended transmission fluid. To discourage over-filling, some vehicle manufacturers have eliminated the dipstick on the transmission. Unfortunately, this also makes it hard to tell if the fluid level is low.
On automatic transmissions that do not have a dipstick to check the fluid level or add fluid, a fill plug is usually located on the left side or right side of the transmission. On some, there may also be a drain plug on the bottom of the transmission.
To check the fluid level, the transmission must be warm and the vehicle must be parked on a level surface or raised on a lift. Jacking up the front wheels will tilt the vehicle and give an inaccurate indication of the fluid level. Therefore, all FOUR wheels must be raised off the ground and the vehicle must be properly supported by four jack stands. NEVER crawl under a vehicle unless it is safely supported by jack stands.
When the fill plug is removed, some fluid should dribble out of the hole if the fluid is at the proper level (flush with the bottom of the fill plug hole). If no fluid comes out, add fluid to bring it up to the level of the hole.
Below are some of the automatic transmissions that do not have a dipstick:
5-SPEED 2004-UP ACURA TL, RL, RSX
5L40/5L50E 2004-05 CADILLAC CATERA
AISIN 81-40LE 2004-05 CHEVROLET AVEO
4T40/45E 1997-UP CHEVROLET CAVALIER, COBALT
42RLE 2005-UP CHRYSLER 300 3.5L 2WD
NAG-1 2005-UP CHRYSLER 300 3.5L AWD
AF33 2005-UP CHEVROLET EQUINOX
5R55N/S/W 2005-UP FORD CARS
AISIN RNJ 1998-05 ISUZU NPR DIESEL
ZF-6SHP-26 2005-UP LINCOLN NAVIGATOR 5.4L
5F31J 2004 MAZDA MPV W/5SPD
N4AEL 2004 MAZDA MIATA
AF23 2004-05 SATURN ION
4/5-Speed 2004-05 SATURN VUE