If you are a car owner, one thing that matters the most for you is maintaining the health of your car, mainly the engine. The engine’s longevity and optimum performance largely depend on the use of a good oil filter. It keeps the engine oil clean, protecting its internal components from getting worn out quickly.
What Does It Do
- The oil filter removes contaminants from engine oil. If these contaminants are not prevented from getting circulated via oil, then they can damage different parts of the engine, and due to their effect, the contact surfaces can also quickly wear out, except the limited bearing surfaces like main bearings, rod bearings, piston rings, camshaft lobes, etc.
- To remove trash from the oil, the oil filter is installed so that the oil will flow through it and get circulated by the oil pump throughout the engine. The filter has a paper-like component to catch the debris that gets accumulated until the filter is replaced with a new one. One of the vital formulae is to coat the filter with oil to trap more debris and dirt; this is even done for the air filters by coating them with air filter oil. So, setting up one is not enough. Rather you have to be up to date with the maintenance procedure as well.
Signs Indicating A Bad Oil Filter
Luckily, there are some ways to discover your filter’s failure. These filters come with a particular service interval. So you do not need to look for faults to change this; rather, it should be done as a part of your usual maintenance job for your vehicle. The filter is a reliable component, and you don’t see them failing very often, yet their failure can be noticed, and these potential failures are found in the following three categories:
- Filter Leaks: It can leak if the filter housing or the seal is imperiled. It can occur because of improper installation or any damage caused due to mishandling. This is not something that happens regularly; however, if the leak size is bigger than expected, it needs immediate attention.
- Becoming Clogged: As we mentioned earlier, the filters have a service interval. After that interval surpasses, you will see that they have accumulated much debris, thus becoming clogged. As a result, the oil cannot flow smoothly through them. This will hinder the flow throughout the engine and create oil starvation, resulting in engine failure if no immediate action is taken. However, you will be notified by the oil pressure light, which is supposed to be triggered in these circumstances.
- Damaged Filter: This is the toughest one to spot among these three as it has no visible symptoms. In this case, oil passing through a damaged filter can freely pass through them but without being filtered at all. This surely does not disrupt the oil flow, but the filter will no longer work, which is not something the filter is intended for. It cannot persist for longer; otherwise, the engine can fail or experience much wear. Although, regular filter replacements can save you from any such damage.
How To Change Oil Filter
To change or replace the oil filter requires a few steps to go through. However, these steps are discussed in a general context below, and those are not for the specific make and model of any vehicle.
Step 1: First, ensure that the engine oil is cool enough to start.
Step 2: Then check whether your vehicle has enough height or needs to be lifted off the ground using a floor jack(remember to use jack stands) or by placing it on a set of ramps.
Step 3: Drain the engine oil if located visually; otherwise, remove the drain plug using a socket wrench. Be aware of the first step; the oil should not be too hot to hurt you. Also, remove the oil filling cap on your engine to avoid oil sloshing while draining. Use an oil drain container or pan to collect them; that will make it easy for you to clean up and analyze the oil, thus the engine’s health.
Step 4: In the case of a screw-type filter, use an oil filter wrench to unscrew and finally remove the filter. You will need a large socket to unscrew the filter housing cap and remove it for housing-type filters.
Step 5: Now, it’s time to replace the oil drain plug. When the oil stops dripping, thread the plug back in the oil pan to get it replaced. Ensure you don’t cross-thread the plug, and the gasket remains in good shape. Before installing a new plug, you can replace the gasket or crush the washer if you want. Now get the plug perfectly tightened and then snug it up using some kind of socket or combination wrench. Be careful not to over-tighten it as it could strip the thread.
Step 6: Before installing the new filter, inspect it by lightly coating the rubber seal and checking if it is undamaged and has a good seal or not. In the case of screw-type filters, screw the new one onto the engine and turn continuously till the seal gets in touch with the housing facade. Remember, you need to make the filter snug so that it doesn’t leak, but also make sure not to over-tight it to avoid any damage. For housing type ones, the procedure is almost the same. Just place the new filter in the housing and get the filter in a similar condition as above, like get it snugged, make the seal seated and tighten them perfectly.
Step 7: Now, time for new oil to be poured into the engine. Follow the user manual to get the oil type, weight, and quantity perfectly right. Use a clean funnel to pour and once you are finished, change the oil cap. Use a dipstick to measure the correct oil level. Some cars provide a gauge to display the water level on the monitor. However, the manual old-school formula to check with the dipstick is safer. Change the coil cap once the oil gets to the correct level.
Step 8: You can start your car engine to find leaks. If there is any leak, you can easily spot them in the drain plug or the filter which was previously removed. if nothing is found, turn the engine off and allow some time for the oil to get back into the engine’s oil pan.
Step 9: After that, you have to check how good is the oil level after the previous step. As you have allowed some time, most of the oil should have drained back into the oil pan, if not all. If the oil level is below the mark, add some additional oil to get it back on the mark. Make sure you use a clean dipstick while checking the oil level, and also take caution as the engine can be hot enough to hurt you.
Step 10: Be careful about disposing of used oil and filter to avoid any negative environmental impact. You can contact any nearby recycling center that recycles used oil for free.
So, after all these steps, you are all good to go with your car. For best practices, occasionally check the oil level and top it off when necessary.
Best Oil Filter Brands
The oil filter is a component you must frequently replace for your vehicle. This replacement procedure is very important to secure a longer life of your vehicle’s engine. So far, the discussion should have been enough for you to realize how important it is to choose the filet from a top-notch brand. Below we have listed 3 top-rated brands to narrow down your search for the best filter.
Mann is one of the pioneers in the field, founded in Germany in the late-30s. They have been making oil filters since the beginning, which shows how experienced they are when manufacturing great oil filters. They are one of the top OEM parts suppliers for major vehicle brands like Mercedes, BMW, Audi, VW, etc. They are one of the market leaders when it comes to developing products in the filtration system. Mann manufactured filters such as their oil filter, cabin filter, or air filter provide an excellent user experience that pushes us to put them as the top brand for oil filters. We believe that you can hardly go wrong with the Mann oil filter with so many strengths.
Like Mann, Mahle is also another premium brand that supplies different components of OEM filtration for luxury brands like Mercedes, BMW, VW, Audi, and many other vehicle manufacturers. Developing components for racing series like Formula 1 gives a real plus to their brand value. Their oil filters are widely available and cover most vehicles around the market. They offer great value for their filters and components. We have had a perfect work experience using the Mahle oil filter, and it certainly deserves a strong recommendation from us.
Wix is another prominent brand well-known for making good oil filters. They manufacture different components that are widely available. Their products come with great quality and excellent price points. Wix oil filters cover almost all the vehicles except the ones with any niche or specialty. The user reviews of the Wix oil filter are exceptionally well as the above-mentioned brands. We believe Wix will be able to live up to your expectations, so we have it on our top 3 list.
Apart from these three brands, you can also buy oil filters from your vehicle manufacturers. If you own a Toyota car, you can go for a Toyota oil filter, or if you have a Honda, simply buy a Honda oil filter. To buy these oil filters online, search for ‘Walmart oil filter’ on google, and from there, you can go on to buy them at Walmart, with the most competitive pricing around.
Changing the oil filter is not at all a fun task, and you need to be very sure about choosing the best oil filters for your vehicle. A bad one can leave you with some severe consequences. So by now, you should have known where to start and how to go about it. We hope you have found this article helpful enough on this very topic related to your car’s health and, more importantly, your happiness.