What Is The Best Oil For VW Beetle?

With so many brands and grades of motor oil, choosing the right one for your vehicle might seem a bit overwhelming. Your engine will need an oil that is specially formulated so that it will run smoothly and efficiently. Select the wrong one and you can do great damage. If you have a VW Beetle and want to know the best oil to use for it, we can help you. We researched this vehicle in depth so you'll know just the one to select.

The best oil to use in a VW Beetle is SAE 5W-40. Anything less than this will not properly lubricate the Beetle's engine.

Now that we know what oil to use in your VW Beetle, we'll take a look at why using the recommended oil is so important. You might also be wondering how often you should change the oil in your Beetle or how much oil a VW Beetle takes. For the answers to these questions and more, read ahead in this post to see what our research has uncovered.

Volkswagen Beetle test drive on Jan 10 2013 in Hong Kong. - What Is The Best Oil For VW Beetle?

Using The Proper Oil In Your Beetle Is Important For Several Reasons

The VW Beetle engine runs pretty hot, so proper selection of its motor oil will be crucial. The engine needs oil for several reasons, and failure to use the right oil weight will mean that the engine won't be running at its full potential.

Let's take a look a what engine oil does and why using the right kind in your Beetle is so important.

Pouring oil to car engine. Fresh oil poured during an oil change to a car.


Engine Oil Is Used As A Lubricant

No matter what vehicle you drive, its engine is going to be a hot place. Though built tough, these machines need to be lubricated so that they will continue to function. If they get too hot, the parts inside of them will warp, crack, or become otherwise unusable.

The engine oil will course throughout the engine, coating its wearable parts. The oil will act as a lubricant, greatly reducing the heat that is generated from friction. Without the oil, there would be metal-on-metal contact, creating a disastrous situation under your hood.

The Oil That Your Engine Uses Also Helps Keep It Cool

The oil flowing in your engine also acts as a cooling agent. This fluid not only lubricates the moving parts but also works to draw a bit of heat away from the engine. This is done in part by removing some of the gunk that is built up, keeping the engine's parts cleaner and running more efficiently.

If The Oil Is The Wrong Viscosity, It Won't Flow Through The Engine Properly

The oil needs to be of the correct weight if it is to lubricate and cool the engine as efficiently as possible. Oil is manufactured to be different viscosities, or thicknesses. What viscosity works in one engine might not work in another.

If the oil used is too thick, it will not flow throughout the engine effectively enough to fully lubricate and cool it. If it is too thin, the oil could burn off.

For the VW Beetle, remember that the engine will always run a bit hotter than its counterparts. The 5W-40 oil recommended for its engine is formulated for these operating conditions. 

How Much Oil Does A VW Beetle Take?

Getting the correct amount of oil ensures that you will be able to complete the oil change without interruption. Though you might think that a vehicle as small as a Beetle would use a minimal amount of oil, it takes an above-average amount to fill its crankcase.

The VW Beetle will use six quarts of oil to fill its crankcase. Using the proper amount is just as important as using the correct oil type. If you don't fill it up completely, you will not be able to have the engine cooled and lubricated.

Use too much and you will have oil seeping from the engine. The oil will begin to burn off as the engine gets hotter, expelling a thick, black smoke from under the hood. 

No matter what vehicle you drive, be sure you know how much oil it needs before you attempt to change it on your own.

Vintage orange car Volkswagen Beetle on the background of a city street, side view. Legendary retro car in an urban environment

How Often Should You Change The Oil In Your VW Beetle?

Getting your oil changed at the correct mileage intervals is critical for extending the life of your VW Beetle. But when you need to change it will depend on the model year you are driving. The oil change intervals will vary from 3,000 to beyond 10,000 miles, so it's important to know what your model year requires.

Older VW Beetles will need the oil changed every 3,000 miles or every three months, whichever occurs first. Models built before 2002 should have their owner's manuals consulted for confirmation of this interval.

Newer model Beetles can experience much longer intervals between oil changes. Depending on what model year you are driving, you can expect to go beyond 10,000 miles before changing the oil out.

Volkswagen Beetle stopped on the street. The newest Beetle (2011-2019) was produced in Puebla (Mexico).



Should I Only Use Synthetic Oil For My VW Beetle?

Earlier in this post, we mentioned that the recommended oil for your VW Beetle is SAE 5W-40. But specifically, the manufacturer and experts maintain that you should use a synthetic variety of this same viscosity.

Though conventional motor oil can technically be used in a VW Beetle, your vehicle will be better served if synthetic oil is used. This will better clean the engine as it lubricates it, and will provide other benefits.

Synthetic Oil Is More Cost Effective Than Conventional Oil

You might believe that because synthetic oil is more expensive by the quart that it can be costly to use. But when all things are said and done, you'll find that it costs less overall to use this variety of motor oil.

By being able to drive your car for up to three times as long with synthetic motor oil, you will use less of it. And since it doesn't need to be changed as often, you will save money on oil change labor, too. It might cost more upfront for synthetic oil, but you will recognize the savings over conventional oil over time.

Synthetic Oil Doesn't Need To Be Changed Out As Often As Conventional Oil

Conventional motor oil needs to be changed out as soon as every 3,000 miles. For those who do heavy commuting, this can result in oil changes being done very frequently.

Whether you change the oil yourself or use a dealership or other professional service, you'll find that this low interval between oil changes will mean a lot more time waiting for this service to be completed.

But if you use synthetic motor oil, you might only need to have it changed every 10,000 miles. For some drivers, this could mean changing it out only once per year.

Synthetic Oil Is Cleaner And Better For The Environment

The carbon footprint from your vehicle can be reduced a bit if you opt for synthetic motor oil. This oil will burn cleaner, as it is not made with a single molecule of petroleum. 

Conventional oil will slowly evaporate over time. It also decays and produces carbon buildup inside the engine. Synthetic oil does neither of these things, as it helps to keep the engine lubricated as well as clean.

Mujer vierte aceite de motor a mano en el motor del coche.

Final Thoughts

The oil used in a VW Beetle is the lifeblood that keeps it on the road. Using the recommended oil is critical to the longevity of the Beetle, as the right oil will provide its engine with the lubrication and cooling needed.

Synthetic oil is preferred, as it is more cost effective and cleaner than its conventional motor oil counterpart. Drive safe!

We hope this post on the VW Beetle answered all of your questions. For additional information, we suggest reading the following posts:

How Do I Reset My VW Transmission?

How Long Does It Take To Change Oil And Rotate Tires?

Can A Clogged Oil Filter Make Your Engine Knock?

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