Determining when to change your oil filter can be a puzzle if you’re not knowledgeable about regular car maintenance. It’s true that changing your car’s oil filter depends on various factors, including your vehicle’s make and model, your driving habits, and the type of oil and filter you use. But there are some best practices that you can follow, making it much easier to know how often to change your oil filter. Here are some key considerations.
General Guidelines: When an Oil Filters Needs to Be Replaced
- BEST CHOICE — Every Oil Change: Most technicians advocate changing the oil filter each time you get an oil change. Contemporary engines and filters have been designed for high efficiency in filtering contaminants, which also means they can get dirty fairly quickly. Plus, the expense of a new oil filter is low compared to the risk of engine damage from a dirty filter.
- Every Other Oil Change: Some vehicle manufacturers recommend replacing the oil filter every second oil change. For instance, if your car operates on a 6,000-mile oil change cycle, replace the filter every 12,000 miles. However, this guideline doesn’t apply to all driving conditions and should only be considered if explicitly stated in your owner’s manual.
- Severe Driving Conditions: Frequent stop-and-go driving, towing heavy items, or traversing dirt roads may require frequent oil filter changes. But remember, these same conditions will likely have you getting your oil changed more frequently as well, so you can do both at the same time.
- Oil Life Monitoring System: Many modern vehicles also have an oil life monitoring system that can help you determine when it’s time for an oil change as well as an oil filter replacement.
- Type of Oil: The use of synthetic oil, known for its longer change intervals, might mean less frequent oil filter replacements when following the rule of replacing your oil filter at every recommended oil change interval. This isn’t a steadfast rule but a general observation. If using conventional oil, you may replace your oil filter more often.
- Type of Filter: Certain high-quality filters, including those with synthetic elements, may last longer between changes. Always consult the manufacturer’s guidelines and a technician for your specific filter and vehicle’s needs.
What Happens If You Don’t Change Your Oil Filter?
Much like what happens if you don’t get your oil changed, ignoring the need to change your oil filter can result in various issues.
A dirty and clogged filter can cause damage to the engine’s internal components due to insufficient lubrication and friction. This, in turn, can increase the operating temperature and reduce the engine’s lifespan. Additionally, a clogged filter can affect oil pressure and oil flow. When the amount of clean oil passing through the engine is reduced, even the best oil on the market won’t save you.
Range of Oil Filters
When choosing an oil filter, there are many to pick from. The type of oil filter you require depends on several factors, such as the kind of oil you’re using — conventional or synthetic — and the specific make and model of your vehicle. Let’s dive into some important considerations:
Compatibility with Types of Oil
- Conventional Oil: Most engine oil filters are compatible with conventional oil, the traditional type you’ll find in many vehicles.
- Synthetic Oil: Since synthetic oil has different properties and often touts a longer lifespan, high-efficiency filters specifically designed for synthetic oils are advisable. These filters ensure optimal performance and protection.
Universal vs. Specialized Filters
- Universal Compatibility: Some filters are designed to work with both conventional and synthetic oils.
- Specialized Filters: On the other hand, there are filters engineered exclusively for either conventional or synthetic oil. Always check the manufacturer’s guidelines to get the right fit for your oil type and vehicle.
Primary and Secondary Oil Filters
- Primary Oil Filters: These are the standard filters that clean the main flow of oil going through your engine. They’re usually compatible with both conventional and synthetic oils, but it’s always good to check for compatibility.
- Secondary Oil Filters: Some cars come equipped with an additional filter that cleans a smaller percentage of the motor oil. The compatibility of secondary filters can vary, so check the manufacturer’s guidelines.
- Make and Model: The filter you choose needs to fit the specific make, model, and engine type of your vehicle. Use online tools or consult professionals for accurate guidance.
- Quality: High-quality filters that meet or exceed OEM specifications often provide better filtration and a longer service life.
- Application: Your driving conditions and the type of oil you use can also influence the kind of filter you should select. For instance, different filters may be needed for heavier-grade oils or high-performance vehicles.
Why Do You Need an Oil Change?
If you’ve ever asked yourself why do you need an oil change, the answer is pretty clear.
Skipping oil changes can lead to significant problems. A delay in this essential maintenance task can result in diminished engine performance, increased wear on the engine, and eventually higher costs. And when you’re searching for a 10-minute oil change near me or a drive-thru oil change service center, ensure you don’t overlook the filter change.
- Signs Your Engine Is Damaged from No Oil: If you’re wondering how to tell if the engine is damaged from no oil, listen for noises from the engine, check for the oil pressure light on the dashboard, or notice if your vehicle has reduced performance. These are all indicators that you need to immediately look for an oil change near me.
- Synthetic Oil vs. Conventional Oil: If you’re someone who believes synthetic oil is better, it’s good to use a filter that is compatible with synthetic oil for best results. Filters designed for synthetic oils are made to accommodate the longer change intervals and better performance of synthetic oils.
Wrapping Up: Take Control of Your Vehicle’s Health
Understanding how often you should change your engine oil filter is a necessary part of car maintenance. Best practices lean toward changing your oil filter every time you get an oil change to avoid the pitfalls of dirty oil and engine damage. If you find yourself wondering how often to change your oil and filter, remember that adhering to manufacturer guidelines and taking into account your specific driving conditions will go a long way in preserving your vehicle’s longevity.
If you’re planning your next engine oil and oil filter change, consider searching for a drive-thru oil change and visiting a Strickland Brothers location for professional and prompt service.