How to Change an Oil Filter for a 2003 Alero

by Chris Gilliland Google

    The base level 2003 Oldsmobile Alero GX was offered in both a coupe and sedan, both of which were powered by a 2.2-liter, inline, four-cylinder engine. Under normal circumstances, the automated oil life system will provide an illuminated reminder that it is time to change the oil and filter. This system is mileage based, meaning that it won't come on until your Alero hits a pre-programmed milestone. However, your oil has a finite lifespan, meaning that it should be changed at least every 12 months, even if you aren't alerted to do so.

    Items you will need

    • Hydraulic jack
    • Jack stands
    • Oil pan
    • Ratchet
    • Socket set
    • Socket extension
    • Shop towels
    • Torque wrench
    • Parts cleaning spray
    • Low-profile 32 mm socket
    • Five quarts, 5W-30 engine oil
    Step 1

    Start the Alero's engine and let it idle for five minutes to warm the engine oil to its operating temperature. Stop the engine and let the oil settle for two minutes.

    Step 2

    Set the parking brake. Lift the Alero's front wheels off of the ground, using a hydraulic jack, then slide jack stands under the Alero's subframe rails. Lower the Alero onto the jack stands. Raise the hood and remove the oil filler cap.

    Step 3

    Place a drain pan directly below the engine oil pan. Remove the oil pan drain bolt, at the rear of the oil pan, using a ratchet, socket and a socket extension. Wipe the drain bolt threads with a shop towel. Let the engine oil drain until it reduces to a light drip. Screw the drain plug into place, then tighten it 18 foot-pounds with a torque wrench.

    Step 4

    Spray the oil filter cap, between the right side of the engine and the air intake duct, with a parts cleaning spray. Unscrew the cap, using a ratchet, socket extension and a low-profile 32 mm socket. Pull the oil filter out of the oil filter cap. Remove the O-ring from the oil filter cap, then wipe the cap threads and interior clean with a shop towel.

    Step 5

    Push a new oil filter into the cap and install a new O-ring on the cap. Coat the O-ring with fresh 5W-30 engine oil. Screw the oil filter cap onto the engine and tighten until it is flush on the filter housing. Torque the cap to 18 foot-pounds.

    Step 6

    Pour 4.5 quarts of oil into the oil filler neck. Screw the filler cap into place. Lower the Alero to the ground.

    Step 7

    Start the engine again and let it run for one minute to circulate the fresh oil, then turn off the engine and let the oil settle for another two minutes. Check the oil level, using the dipstick, and add more oil as needed to raise the oil level to the Full mark.

    Step 8

    Place the key into the ignition switch. Turn the key to the On position, but do not start the engine. Depress and release the gas pedal five times until you hear a chime, indicating that the oil change reminder light has been reset. Turn off the ignition.


    • Do not use a wrench to remove the oil filter cap; doing so can round off the edges of the cap's hexagon-shaped head, making the cap difficult to remove for future filter changes.


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