Cat C13 Oil Capacity, Type, Change Interval, and Oil Filter

Often people will give you the answer to the oil capacity of an engine. However, they often forget to mention that you have to pre-fill the oil filter. If you forget to do that, you may see you are full of oil but actually down a quart.

According to the CAT data sheet, the C13 engine takes roughly 35.9 quarts or 9 gallons. They do not say if you have to refill the filter or not but other owners have said to do that. Proper maintenance makes sure your engine lasts a long time and defers major repairs for years.

To learn more about the oil capacity of this engine, just continue to read our article. It has this information as well as other important details to make sure you understand what you need to do when changing the oil.

How Much Oil Does a Caterpillar C13 Hold?


The official word is 9 gallons. 4 quarts x 9 gallons= 36 and you need 1/10th less than that. At least according to the official word. Actual owners differ from this total though and have often said you need 10 gallons.

Others have said between 9 and 10 but you should double-check to make sure so you do not overfill your oil pan. If you do that, you can expect to see some blow by which makes a mess of the engine compartment.

The correct procedure to change your oil will be to drain what is there and remove the oil filter. Then refill the oil filter, which takes about a gallon of oil, and attach it to the engine.

Put roughly 9 gallons of oil in the oil pan and start your engine and let it build up oil pressure. After that shut the engine oil off and let it all drain back into the pan. You can do other maintenance work while waiting for that to take place.

When the 10 minutes are up, check the dipstick to see if you have hit the full line yet. If not, you should add some more oil about 1/2 a quart at a time till you reach the full line.

Cat C13 Oil Capacity

There is some debate on this topic as some owners have put in up to 10 gallons while others have reached full with 9. We are not sure if they changed the oil filter or not or added any to that part when they installed it.

We suggest that you follow the official AT spec sheet and stick with 9 gallons unless you find out otherwise. You need to protect yourself these days and anything can be an excuse to void a warranty.

What you should be careful of is how you or your mechanics lubricate the O-rings. There are mechanics that will lubricate these parts with coolant and that is a big no-no.

Coolant will not let the O-rings slide into place properly and will cause damage to your engine. Make sure that your mechanics or you always use a little Cat recommended rubber lubricant to avoid this problem.

Cat C13 Engine Oil Type


What we have found so far is that you should use the Cat Diesel Engine Oil SAE 5W-40 type. This is specially formulated for CAT engines and should work the best. If you cannot find any in your area, you can go to the auto parts stores or Walmart and see what the equivalent is.

All the CAT data sheet says is this- “and new oil formulations to support the

new technology.” It also says two sentences later that you should contact your local CAT dealer to get up-to-date info on what type of oil you should be used in this engine.

That would be the best way to go. The dealer, if they are honest, should be able to direct you to some equivalent motor oils from other famous brands that will work in this engine. Just make sure you are using diesel engine oil though.

Any other type may cause some damage as those alternatives may not have the additives the C13 needs for lubrication.

Cat C13 Oil Change Interval

This should be done at a maximum of 500 hours of use. But this interval is subject to change depending on the type of use you have for the vehicle. Those hours may shorten significantly if you are using the engine in heavy-duty applications.

That heavy-duty application includes towing heavy trailers or trailers with other machinery on them. Also, the oil change interval will depend on maintenance, operating conditions, and other factors.

CAT dealers can inform you of their SOS program which will help you determine when you need to change the oil. This program is designed to help you get the maximum performance out of your new C13 engine.

You can review the official information on this engine at this link. It is provided for you in case you have other questions about this motor. Also, check your owner’s manual for any additional information we have not covered here.

That booklet will provide you with the best data possible and be the most accurate. Cat’s website should have a download version just in case you have lost yours.

Cat C13 Oil Filter


Baldwin seems to be one manufacturer of oil filters for CAT engines. They make a spin on type that fits a variety of CAT engines. Those engines are- C9, C13, C15, C18, C32, 3408, 3508.

Then their overall size measures - 12 x 5 5/16 x 2 3/32 inches, which tells why they may hold an extra gallon of oil. The CAT website also has a web page full of oil filters. You can view them at this link.

You will have to click on the picture to get to additional features like compatible brands as well as get a price quote. To get the price you have to sign in and provide your location.

The same goes for when you are looking for the CAT recommended oil type. There are filters on the side to get to the parts section you need. For the filter, you will need to know your inside diameter as that measurement is one of the filters you can use to get to the exact oil filter you may need.

Cat C13 Oil Pan Gasket

PAI Industries makes one of these but the cost through the distributor is going to be on the high side. You are looking at paying $170 for one. M & D manufactures another gasket and its price is only $85.

The serial number for this part seems to be Caterpillar 2173673 Oil Pan Gasket For C13 Engines, PAI 331428 and you may need both numbers to get the right part.

If you shop directly on the CAT website, the part may be called an isolation seal, and true to the CAT form you have to contact them to get the price of this part. It is a straight forward design for this gasket so you may not have trouble finding compatible ones at a lower price from other manufacturers.

We would recommend shopping around to see what is available in your area and how much a gasket will cost you.

Cat C13 Oil Pressure Sensor Location


There are a few different sensors on this engine. Their exact location may vary because CAT does make minor changes to its engines even when they are in production. This location should give you an idea of where to look and if it isn’t there, look in your owner’s manual to see if it lists the exact location.

Oil pressure sensor: Typically located on the engine block, near the oil filter, or on the oil filter adapter.”


Engine oil pressure sensor: Typically located on the engine block, near the oil filter or on the oil filter adapter.” (source)

That link will also mention the location of other sensors if you are in need of that information. But again, you should contact a CAT dealer, or the company directly or consult your owner’s manual for the specific location in case you have a C13 engine variation and not the original.

Remember the C15 had something like 10 different variations to it and each one was slightly different from the original. Make sure you know your specific C13 engine type to be able to find this pressure sensor.

Some Final Words

If you like doing your own oil changes, it pays to know exactly how much oil you need to put in any engine. Overfilling the oil pan is as risky as underfilling it so you want to be sure you get the right amount inside your engine.

When you need replacement parts, it is good to know that CAT parts are widely available including its own website. Check out their website to see what the company can do for you when you need to maintain your C13 or other CAT motor.

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