How to Change a Saturn SL2 Oil Filter

by Jody L. Campbell

The Saturn S-series; SC1, SL1, SC2 and SL2 ran from 1991 to 2002. These models featured the 1.9-liter 4-cylinder engine which was available in single or dual overhead cams. Regardless of which version of the S-series vehicle you are working on, (SC stood for sports coupe and SL stood for Sedan Line) the 1.9 liter engine employs the same oil filter and it is located in the same position.

Step 1

Drive the SL2 up onto the car ramps, apply the parking brake and then release the hood latch.

Step 2

Open the hood and then remove the oil fill cap located on top of the valve cover. This will help to drain the oil more quickly out of the oil pan and/or filter.

Step 3

Put on the safety glasses and latex gloves, grab all the tools and replacement filter and crawl beneath the SL2.

Step 4

Locate the oil filter at the rear of the engine compartment on the passenger side. Place the oil drain pan beneath the oil filter.

Step 5

Use a filter wrench--band-strap or pliers styles work best for this vehicle--and then turn the filter counterclockwise until it can be loosened by hand. Loosen it just enough to let the oil drain slowly into the drain pan. Loosen it a little more once the oil draining from the filter becomes a mere trickle.

Step 6

Remove the filter completely and then place it in the oil drain pan. Wipe the mating surface of the oil filter housing and make sure the rubber gasket of the old filter has been removed with the filter. If not, peel it off and discard it. Wipe away any excess oil that has dripped onto the drive shaft or into the directional channel.

Step 7

Dip a finger into the oil drain pan and rub the spent oil around the gasket of the new filter to lubricate it. Just a little will suffice.

Step 8

Place the filter onto the oil filter housing and tighten clockwise hand tight only. Do not use a wrench to tighten an oil filter. Be careful to keep it straight to avoid cross-threading.

Step 9

Add a 1/2 quart of oil if only replacing the filter or add four quarts of oil if a complete oil change is being performed. Start the engine for 10 to 15 seconds, turn it off, wait 2 minutes, and then check the oil level on the dipstick. Add more oil if necessary.

Remove the drain pan and old filter from under the SL2. Replace the oil filler cap and then close the hood. Release the parking brake and then drive it down off the ramps.


  • The location and horizontal position of the oil filter in the SL2 makes it a messy task to remove and replace. While it's better than some other makes and models, there are a couple of tips to minimize the amount of oil that drips all over the passenger side of the drive shaft. Placing a plastic bag over the filter once it's loose, but before the oil beings to leak out of the filter will help minimize oil leakage. Lifting the vehicle so it is level and allowing the filter to drip oil slightly into the channel designed for the spent oil until the filter is empty--be sure to wipe the channel out afterward with a shop rag--is another way. Or you could place a shop rag or two underneath the oil filter so they absorb the spent oil coming from the filter.


  • Spent oil has carcinogenic properties and latex gloves and safety glasses should always be used when changing oil or oil filters and whenever working beneath a vehicle.

Items you will need

  • Oil drain pan
  • Oil filter wrench
  • Latex gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Shop rags
  • 3614 oil filter
  • Two car ramps
  • Motor oil

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