Changing the Oil in the VW Polo 6n Gearbox

Posted: 2010-09-04 in Cars

How to change the oil in a Vw Polo 6n Gearbox

Before you start, wash the underside of your car, in particular the drain plug area as it will be a mess around there.

Step One

Put the car on a level surface, even better put it on a raised level surface as you will be crawling under the car a lot.

Tools you will need (see pic 1)

17mm hex head (allen key), you can use a 17mm bolt head but I had to use too much force for that too work for me.
Braker bar and ratchet
Funnel and about 2 foot/ 50cm of garden hose
About 3 liters of your favorite 80w/90, I used less but I read its ment to be 3.1liters? weird.
About 4 liters of waste oil storage and a catch pan.

Step Two

 Locate the drain plug and the fill plug under the front bottom driver side (Europe).

Look for the two plugs you see in the picture with the red you will see two red arrows. The highest arrow is the fill hole, the lowest plug is the the drain. In the polo I have, both plugs are a 17mm allen keys.

For model pre Oct the filler plug is located else where, I found this quote on the clubpolo forums “On models up to Oct 95 “the filler plug is located on the left hand sie of the transmission housing, next to the driveshaft. For easier access turn steering wheel on full left lock.”

Step Three 

Start with the FILL PLUG!!!!!!!! very important, its more than likely stuck and if you can’t get this open but you have drained the gearbox you will be in trouble. I had to use the braker bar and a hammer to smack the allen key socket in thightly.

Step Four

Now open the drain plug, for me the socket was too long and hit a suspension member. I managed to get it tight by hitting it once or twice with the hammer and then using a 17mm wrench instead of the ratchet or braker bar.
This plug should be easier to undo than the fill plug.

When you can turn the plug by hand stop and get your catch pan ready, the oil will shot out a fair range and will be empty in about 5 seconds. So if you a a small catch pan then get ready to put the plug back in while you empty it.

Step Five

Take a few minutes to clean the underside of the gearbox and the plugs while you are waiting for the last of the oil to drain. Once this is done put the drain plug back in and tighten, don’t over tighten this. When it starts to get hard give it a bit more then stop. Don’t pull with all your strength, the next time you need to get it off you wont be able too.

You are now right to feed the hose down the front of the engine and put the end into the fill hole. You can feed a fair bit of hose (about 3 cm’s) into the hole so it should be fairly secure. If you have done this right you can fill from above. Connect the funnel if not already done so.

Start filling the gearbox with oil, be patient its thick.

When you get near to the 3 liters slow down, the hose contains a lot of oil so once its full its hard to stop. If your on a nice floor put your catch pan under the fill plug area, just incase.

When oil start spewing out the hole stop, remove the hose and quickly put the fill plug back in. Tighten same as the drain plug, again don’t over tighten. I cleaned and dipped this plug into the old garbox oil to heopfully stop the salt eating it again.

Step Six

Put everything away, wash hands and start car. Check underneathe for leaks.

Go for a cruise and check out the gearshift. They should get smoother in about 5 minutes of driving. If you plan on driving to your mates leave your hands slightly dirty :p

Step Seven

Park your car in a spot that is clean from old leaks, or put some old clean cardboard under the gearbox section.
The next day before you start the car do a quick check underneathe to see if there is any oil leaking, if so pin point and fix.


Changing the gearbox oil is simpler than changing the engine oil and filter. I would rate this job for beginners.

I reuse old engine and gearbox oil for motorsaw blades, otherwise I recommend disposing of it at your local tip properly! Do not put it down the drain, it is not filtered out and messes up the oceans/waterways.

A Discussion post that helped with some details was on the club polo forum



  1. aaron says:

    thanx m8 this is a really big help. im a memba on clubpolo im caled squid on there. any way thanx again for this post really helped. Aaron

  2. Clive says:

    I could not open the filler plug any suggestions? Can i apply wd40 or something?

    Is it best to loosen the cap while the engine is cold or warm?

    (Just to confirm i turned anti clockwise)

    • Choco Smith says:

      Definitely try wd40, be liberal, apply wait 5, apply again.
      A warm engine will help, but you run the risk of burns due to the exhaust being so close.

      Get a hammer and hit the hex into the plug so its very firm in, and use a breaker bar (long socket handle or pipe over socket handle works also) and try again.
      Make sure you hit square on the socket, not a large hit but with some force.
      I had to apply a fair amount of force before mine came loose, as a warning I hit my knuckles and skinned them when it gave way so perhaps gloves.

      If it feels like its starting to turn inside the hex plug then stop!!! Don’t strip it, hit it in firmer with the hammer try again. pay attention to this.

      If this still doesn’t seem to work then you will need to rethink your approach. Do not strip the plug as that would be bad. Getting it out would require drilling, and metal seems to destroy gear boxes.

      Post for help on the uk polo forums, you’ll get what you need there.


  3. Ronny says:

    Werry good todo list. I did not se this befor after i started. I have undcrew the wrong screw, hwat is the screw to the right and litle under the fill plug?? I took it out but it wont go inn again.

    • Choco Smith says:

      ahh sorry, not sure what the plug under the fill plug does… hopefully it isn’t an adjustment screw

  4. Omar says:

    I’m really grateful for the above explanation. You saved me a lot of money. Thank you

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