Engine Oil

As a Porsche owner, your highest maintenance priority is its oil.

The oil system in your Porsche has a significantly larger capacity and is more involved than in other cars because of its role in engine cooling. (you’ll certainly notice this with your first oil service, as the average Porsche oil system has an 8-10 quart capacity!)


Since the oil in a Porsche provides both engine cooling and lubrication, it needs to be changed frequently to avoid loss of lubricity and remove contaminants that are created by normal engine operation. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend an oil service interval of 3000-5000 miles, depending on the model.


Likewise oil quality is extremely important. Porsche, like other high end automobile manufacturers, specifies certain oils for use in their engines. At Zuffenhaus Eurowerks we stock: Liqui-Moly (german manufacturer of synthetic-based oils, involved for decades in prototyping oils for Porsche and BMW) for most modern Porsches; and Brad Penn/PennGrade 1 (high ZDDP content specialty oil) for air-cooled models.
Additionally, any additional Porsche-approved A40/C30 spec. oils (Mobil 1, for example) can be provided for your oil service upon request.

Checking your Oil Level

Oil expands with temperature, and at these increased volumes oil expansion can be significant. For this reason, IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT OIL LEVEL IS ONLY CHECKED WITH THE ENGINE AT FULL OPERATING TEMPERATURE AND ON LEVEL GROUND.


If you own an air-cooled Porsche, your oil is checked with the engine running, after roughly 30 minutes of operation in order to reach full temperature. Full temperature can be easily verified on models with a front oil cooler (the majority of 911s after 1977) by feeling the oil cooler for heat (located ahead of the right front tire), which will indicate that the engine has reached full temperature and has opened the thermostat to allow the front cooler to begin cooling the oil.

As a general rule for 911s, the oil temperature gauge and oil level gauge needles should mirror each other as the engine is warming; however, while the oil level gauge in the instrument cluster is a handy reference, it should not be relied on to verify oil level. Once the engine has reached full temperature, the oil level should be checked and verified at the dipstick, irrespective of the oil level gauge. (If the level indicated by the gauge differs significantly from that indicated by the dipstick, the sending unit in the oil tank should be replaced.)

Owners of air-cooled Porsches often mis-fill their oil system by either not allowing the engine to rise to full temperature, in which case the oil continues to expand after the oil level has been topped off; or by not checking the level while the engine is running. If you have any questions or concerns about checking or changing your oil, do not hesitate to call us for guidance!


With the exception of the Metzger-engined models (GT3, GT2, TT), the oil level is checked with the engine off in most of the (pre-2011) water-cooled Porsches, whereas newer models can indicate oil level while driving. Some are equipped with a dipstick for manual verification, others rely solely on dash indicator. Your owner’s manual will give specific procedures for your vehicle.

However, while the accuracy of the digital dash indicator has significantly improved over the older analog gauge arrangement, sensor failures and intermittent faults in Oil Level Warning System are being reported in the newer models, so oil level should always be confirmed after the engine oil has reached full temperature (and expansion) and on level ground for the most accurate measurement.

If you are concerned that the oil in your water-cooled Porsche is over or under-filled, do not hesitate to call us for verification.