DIY Smart Car Oil Change

Learn How Easy Smart Car Service Can Be

Ready to do a smart car oil change? This tutorial on basic smart car service makes doing it yourself easy as 1-2-3!

Smart car oil change starts with the right synthetic oil

One of the down sides to owning a smart car for some of us is that we live so far from our nearest smart car dealership that taking the car there for routine maintenance service or even small repairs just doesn't make sense.

So learning how to do some of these fairly basic and easy tasks yourself is something that can save you a lot of money and time, as well as help preserve the life of your smart fortwo car.

Have you ever changed the oil in a car? If so, you'll be pleased to know that doing a smart car oil change isn't all that different... except that the oil drain and filter are a bit harder to get to, with the smart fortwo being so low to the ground.

Now, there is a video floating around the Web that shows you how to do a smart car oil change by sucking the oil out of the tank from above, but it requires a special tool, and personally I just don't see the point. I'm going to show you just how easy it is to do a smart car oil change the traditional way!

For each section below, I give you the step-by-step procedure for the smart car oil change in text, but then you can also watch my video, if you like.

How to Change the Oil in YOUR Smart Car

I've put together a step by step tutorial for you, both in words and video. You can use them both or pick whichever method helps you learn new skills the best...

Step 1: Getting Ready (and Refilling Wiper Fluid)

By the way...


The whole smart car oil change procedure – provided you start out with all the right tools and supplies! – won't take you more than 30 minutes or so.

This short video is more about freeing up a container to put my used oil in for disposing than it is about actually changing the oil in my smart car. Still, knowing how and where to refill your windshield wiper fluid is an important smart car maintenance task too. Smile

Just follow these steps:

  1. Pull off the hood panel by pulling the levers in the grill towards you.
  2. Then, pull the panel up and out from the bottom and hook the levers into the small holes above the grill (they face up towards the sky).
  3. Find the white plastic reservoir just to the right of center (as you face the car), take the cap off & fill with windshield wiper fluid up to the line.
  4. Replace the hood panel.

Step 2: Gathering Supplies & Planning for Your Smart Car Oil Change

OK, next step is to gather everything you need for the smart car oil change. Just a note here...

It's important to keep good maintenance records for your smart fortwo car. First off, it'll help you keep track of what you've done, but when it comes to warranty service or reselling your car, having good maintenance records can really pay off.

You should have gotten a maintenance guide and log as part of your new owners packet, but if you can't find it, you can download it here.

Here's the list of supplies and tools you'll need for a smart car oil change:

  • 4 quarts synthetic motor oil, smartUSA recommends using one of the following brands:

    • Mobil 1 Formula M 5W-40
    • Mobil 1 0W-40 (this is the one I picked)
    • Labco MB 229.5 5W-30
    • Total Quartz 229.5 5W-30
    • Elf Excellium 0W-30
    • Shell Helix Ultra AB 5W-30
  • New oil filter; part # on original filter is 1230A040; I used a FRAM Tough Guard filter, #TG6607

  • Oil pan to collect the oil as it comes out of the drain

  • Funnel

  • Filter wrench, or large pipe wrench* for removing old oil filter

  • Socket wrench with a 15/16" fitting for taking off the oil drain screw plug

  • Rag or towel for cleanup and spills

  • Old plastic gallon jug to put oil in for disposing/recycling

* The oil filter wrench I had for my other vehicles was too large for the smart car's oil filter, so I improvised with a pipe wrench. I'm not sure if they make smaller filter wrenches or not, but be aware of what size you need, before starting out.

Step 3: Locating the Plug and Oil Filter

Working underneath any car can be a bit claustrophobic, but on the smart car, which sits so low to the ground and is so small, it might seem even harder. I know quite a few people I talked to were sure the car would need to be raised up to do the smart car oil change. But I was able to lie on my driveway and stick my head and arms underneath just far enough to work on it, without any real problems.

So, in the video below, I show you where to find the oil drain plug (screw) and the oil filter. Sorry for the crazy camera work and angles! Smile

Step 4: Draining the Oil/Cleaning Out the Drain Plug

Now that you have all your tools and supplies and you know where to find the essential parts, you're ready to go! Time to take out the drain plug, drain the oil and remove the old oil filter.

If this is the first time the oil has been changed in your smart car, you'll find the plug and the filter are factory-tightened and pretty hard to loosen. Having the right size tools is required, of course, but you may also need some extra leverage. Before you start, though, be sure to pull the oil drain pan underneath the plug to catch the oil as it drains out.

I could not get the drain screw to start turning at all, so I got an old tire iron and slipped that over the end of my socket wrench. I also moved around to the back of the car, where I had more room to maneuver. By using the tire iron as leverage, I got the screw to start turning and was able to go the rest of the way just with the socket wrench.

So, once you have the screw out, you can let the oil drain by gravity into your oil pan for a few minutes. When it stops dripping, you're ready to move on to the next step.

Watch the video below for more tips...

Step 5: Removing the Oil Filter

Move your drain pan under where you're working now on the oil filter, because it will drip as you remove it. I also had trouble getting the oil filter started, especially since I wasn't able to use my standard oil filter wrench. This is one of the reasons I always stick with the FRAM brand of filters... they have a rubberized outside coating that is super easy to grip and loosen by hand the next time around.

So, once you've got the right tool lined up, take the old filter off and replace it with the new filter, tightening by hand.


Be careful when you take the old filter off that the rubber ring called the gasket comes with it! There's a new rubber seal on the new filter and you only need one of those. (More on this warning in video 6 further down the page...)

Step 6: Refilling the Oil... and a Warning

You're ready to add the new oil to your tank now. Unlike most cars, this is done in the rear of the car, rather than under the hood in front. So open your tailgate and window to give yourself room to work.

Next, turn the ring in the floormat to lift the mat up and secure the mat to the hook on the right side of the tailgate compartment to hold it up out of your way. Locate the oil fill cap on the right side of the engine with the oil can icon on it. Unscrew the cap to open it and insert your oil funnel into it.

You'll also see a bright yellowish orange knob. That's your oil dip stick that you can use to periodically check your oil level in the future.

Go ahead and slowly add 3 full quarts of the oil. For the 4th quart, you're going to need somewhere between a half quart and three-quarters of a quart, so watch carefully to make sure you don't overflow the tank.

When you're done, remove the funnel and don't forget to replace the cap!

Step 7: Wrapping Things Up With Your Smart Car Oil Change

OK... we're just about done with this smart car oil change now! Use the dipstick, just to double check your level of oil in the tank looks OK. And then close up the tailgate and start your engine. Check under the car to make sure there's no oil dripping. If there isn't, then you're A-OK to move on.

One last step is to reset your maintenance counter, so your smart car computer system knows you've done the smart car oil change and replaced the oil filter. Here's a quick instruction sheet from smartUSA on resetting the maintenance counter

More Info About Smart Car Maintenance

I hope you found the tutorials on this page to be helpful when tackling your smart car oil change. There really is NO reason at all why the average smart car owner can't learn how to do such basic smart car service skills.

Other pages you might like:

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Welcome to the site! I'm Jim, and I'm here to guide you through a journey of smart car discovery. So, look around & drill down as much as you want to for all the smart fortwo details you're looking for. Read and interact! And feel free to contact me!

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