2011 GMC Sierra Engine Oil Capacity

The 2011 GMC Sierra has an oil capacity of 6 quarts (or about 5.7 liters). Learn more here!
Written by Jacqulyn Graber
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
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The 2011 GMC Sierra is great as a work truck, offering a comfortable and solid ride that’s capable off-road and especially smooth on the highway. But if you want to keep your Sierra’s engine up and running, regular oil changes are necessary—and if you’re going to perform those oil changes at home, you’ll need to know that your engine oil capacity is 6 quarts. 
Because pickup trucks are generally so high off the ground, it can actually be quite easy to handle some
routine maintenance
at home—including changing the oil. But before rolling up your sleeves and popping open the hood, you’ll need to know how much oil to buy. 
Below, we’ll go through the engine oil capacity for the 2011 GMC Sierra, as well as what type of oil you’ll need and some basic oil change directions. 
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2011 GMC Sierra engine oil capacity

The 2011 Sierra offers a choice of 4.8-liter, 5.3-liter, and 6.2-liter V8 engines (plus a hybrid gas-electric option). Regardless of which you choose, your engine oil capacity will be 6 quarts or 5.7 liters.
But how can different size engines have the same oil capacity? Well, the 4.8-, 5.3-, and 6.2-liter labels refer to your engine’s displacement, or the amount of oil taken up by the engine’s cylinders. This number is not to be confused with capacity, which is the amount of oil required for each change. 

What kind of oil does a 2011 GMC Sierra need?

GMC recommends that you use full synthetic 5W-30 motor oil in your 2011 Sierra. They specifically recommend Mobil 1 - Advanced Full Synthetic 5W-30 Motor Oil, but any brand should be fine—so long as it's the right grade and fully synthetic. 
Your oil’s grade refers to its viscosity, or thickness. In this case, “5W” articulates the oil’s viscosity in cold winter temperatures, while “30” articulates the oil’s viscosity in very high temperatures. 
But what are the consequences of using the wrong oil grade? Well, they’re pretty severe. Basically, insufficient engine lubrication could lead to your engine overheating and—eventually—full transmission failure. 

How often to change the oil on a 2011 GMC Sierra  

It’s important to purchase the correct oil for your GMC Sierra—but it’s equally as important to
change your oil
on a regular basis.
Because the 2011 GMC Sierra requires full synthetic oil, experts say you can go 7,500 to 10,000 miles between oil changes. That’s as little as once per year if you don’t drive too much, or about twice a year if you drive quite a bit. 
Full synthetic oil is a bit more expensive, so if you’re pinching pennies and opt for conventional oil, be sure to change it more often—every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. 
Either way, those are some pretty big ranges. That’s why it’s important to regularly check your oil levels using your dipstick, and to keep an eye out for the following signs that it’s time to change your oil.
  • The oil is dark brown or black in color, like thin chocolate sauce
  • The oil has a coarse or gritty feeling 
  • There are new, unusual noises or smells coming from the engine 
  • There are noticeable changes in your truck’s performance

How to change your oil and oil filter

Because pickup trucks have such high ground clearance, you’ll likely be able to change your oil without a jack or lift—but you’ll still need a socket wrench, a drain pan, and a filter wrench designed to remove the old oil filter. You’ll also need a replacement filter and six quarts of full synthetic 5W-30 oil. 
Once you’ve collected everything you need, start your truck’s engine and let it warm up a bit. In the meantime, you may wish to lay down a tarp or some rags to keep any dirty oil spills off of your garage floor or driveway. 
After things are warmed up, turn your engine off and complete the following steps:
  • Unscrew the oil fill cap
  • Crawl beneath your car and remove the oil drain bolt and washer, allowing the old oil to drain out into the pan
  • Remove the old oil filter and let the remaining oil drain
  • Install the new filter
  • Replace the oil drain bolt using a new washer and tighten it to 29 lb-ft
  • Refill the engine with your new oil and replace the fill cap 
Start your truck once more, allowing the new oil to fill up the filter. Keep an eye out for any leaks and make adjustments as necessary. Then, use your dipstick to ensure that you’ve added enough new oil, topping off if necessary. 
If you’ve done your job correctly, the
oil pressure light
on your dashboard should turn off. Keep in mind that you’ll likely have to reset your oil change reminder light manually. 
When all is said and done, make sure to take the time to dispose of your old oil responsibly. Place it in a sealed container and bring it to your local recycling center—never dump it straight onto the ground. 
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