Choosing the Right Oil Filter for Your Car – Expert Guide
A car’s engine oil filter does exactly what its name implies: It filters contaminants from the oil before it goes into the engine to reduce wear and corrosion. Like many other engine components that are exposed to dirt and debris, these filters lose effectiveness over time. This guide can help you understand more about them so you can choose the correct oil filter when it’s time to replace yours.
The Advantages and Considerations of Filter Types
Today’s cars typically have a full-flow primary oil filter. This filters impurities from all of the oil in the engine. Some cars employ a finer, secondary filter that diverts a small portion of the oil for extra cleaning before returning it to the pan. This helps reduce contaminants without affecting the flow rate.
Primary oil filters are generally one of these two main categories: cartridge or spin-on. No matter what type you have in your engine, you should keep in mind that you want to replace it with one designed for your car and its purpose.
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- Spin-On Oil Filters
If you like to do your own car maintenance, then a car with a spin-on oil filter is the way to go. This design includes both the filter media and a metal canister housing as one piece. It installs with a filter wrench that you can get at an auto parts store. Some car manufacturers are moving away from this type of filter because they are less environmentally friendly than cartridge-style ones.
- Cartridge Oil Filters
Cartridge oil filters consist only of the filtration media. They have little to no metal parts and are located inside a permanent housing. A competent technician can inspect the filtration media to see if it needs to be changed without draining the oil. These features combine to create a more environmentally friendly oil filter design.
Proper Installation & Oil Filter Maintenance
Proper installation and maintenance of a car’s oil filter will help prolong the engine’s life. Luckily, changing a car’s oil and filter is nowhere near as complex as a catalytic converter replacement. In fact, depending on the type of filter design your car’s engine uses and your comfort with basic hand tools, you can have the job done in less than 30 minutes. However, if you have any doubts, it’s a good idea to seek out the help of a trained automotive technician.
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There are a few basic steps to the process. First, you should inspect the oil to see if it appears dirty or burnt. A quick visual check can tell you a lot about your engine’s condition and performance. Then, you must drain the oil into a suitable container. This can be taken for recycling.
Now you are ready to remove the old filter and install a new one. The exact process depends on the type of filter your car uses. You will either open the cartridge housing and swap out components or unscrew the old canister and screw a new one on. Add fresh oil and you are ready to go. Performing regular maintenance and repairs helps keep your car or truck running its best. Whether you need a new antenna radio or the parts for a routine oil change, you can find premium quality parts at an online auto parts store.