Owners of cars and motorbikes often get varied advice on the best engine oil filter to use in their vehicles.
Vehicle owners’ manuals, car tool salespeople, and mechanics often give conflicting advice, leading to high levels of uncertainty when making decisions.
In fact, there’s no right answer or solution when it comes to oil and filters, as drivers, driving conditions, and styles are all very different.
In this article, we’ll define what an engine oil filter is and walk you through when and how it should be replaced. Keep reading to find out!
It’s impossible to talk about engine oil filters without talking about oil. As such, we’ll also explain what motor oil is in the next point.
What is motor oil?
Motor oil acts as a lubricant and is essential to keeping any vehicle engine running smoothly. A thin layer of the oil coats all internal moving parts of the engine, preventing friction between metal parts and therefore helping avoid breakdowns.
However, it becomes less effective over time, deteriorating until it is unable to effectively lubricate the various engine components.
Several factors can lead to oil becoming contaminated.
Which factors lead to engine oil degrading?
Most pollutants (sand, asphalt debris, among others) are carried by the air and mixed into the engine oil.
In addition to dirt brought in from outside the vehicle, the engine also “produces” its own impurities.
Vehicle part wear and combustion byproducts such as water vapour, acid, and carbon also end up contaminating the motor oil.
All engines are fitted with filters to protect them from these contaminants and any damage.
How do you check engine oil levels?
- Park your vehicle on a flat surface;
- Turn off the engine and wait 10 minutes;
- Take a clean cloth;
- Remove the dipstick from the engine oil;
- Wipe the oil dipstick with the cloth;
- Re-insert the dipstick all the way and bring it back out again;
- Inspect the oil dipstick carefully.
The oil level should be between the “minimum” and “maximum” lines.
Some dipsticks have additional marks such as “hot” and “cold”, which are used to check lubrication levels when the engine is hot or cold.
What is an engine oil filter?
An engine oil filter is, as the name implies, the component responsible for filtering out impurities present in engine oil.
This filtration extends the lifespan of motor oil while also protecting the engine.
As such, any combustion engines are equipped with an oil filter to prevent damage to the vehicle due to the above-mentioned contaminants.
Many people say that oil is the lifeblood of an engine. If the analogy is expanded upon, the oil filter would be the kidney, responsible for filtering out unwanted debris.
Why is an engine oil filter so important?
- It protects the engine;
- It extends a vehicle’s lifespan;
- It helps save fuel;
- It lubricates engine components;
- It aids in good engine performance.
What types of oil filters are there?
There are several engine oil filters, which can be classified into whether or not the filter can be separated from its case, composition, or filtration method.
Oil filters with a separation function
- Shielded or Monoblock filters: are the most commonly used oil filters nowadays. The filtering element cannot be separated from its housing. As such, you’ll need to remove the component in its entirety to replace it;
- Cartridge filters: these filters are generally used in petrol vehicles. Unlike shielded filters, you won’t need to remove them to clean them effectively. Just clean the casing and replace them.
Oil filters by composition
- Filter paper or cellulose: if sustainability is a concern for you, these filters are a good option as they are the most environmentally friendly. They are both the easiest to find and the cheapest.
- Synthetic fabric filters: can filter out more harmful particles as their pores are narrower than other filter types.
- Microcrystal membrane filters: are considered the best on the market and boost the efficacy of other types of filters. These are more expensive as they are usually used in high-end vehicles.
Oil filters by filtration method
- Mechanical: known as pressure oil filters, these are one of the most common types and are typically used with cellulose or paper filters.
- Centrifuges: operating by means of a centrifugal force, these filters push contaminating particles through the filtering area. Most are cartridge filters and are easily replaceable.
- Sedimentation: this is the simplest filtering method of all. It operates by harnessing gravity, which causes harmful particles to settle directly onto the filter.
When should I change my vehicle’s oil filter?
Oil and filter changes should be carried out according to the recommendations made in the manufacturer’s manual. No matter how many miles you drive between engine oil changes, you should always change your engine oil filter when changing your engine oil.
Which symptoms indicate that you need to change your vehicle’s oil filter?
- Your vehicle is difficult to start;
- Increased fuel consumption;
- Noisy engine;
- Sudden starts.
How do you change your engine oil filter?
To change your engine oil filter, follow these steps:
- Remove the oil cap and dipstick to allow the dirty oil to flow out;
- While the engine’s still warm, drain all the oil through the drain plug;
- Next, remove the filter manually, if possible, or with the appropriate tool if not;
- Wipe the sealing area of the engine block with a clean cloth to avoid oil stains;
- Check the filter seal gasket to ensure it is well-placed in its housing, and lightly grease it with engine oil;
- Mount the filter until the gasket abuts the sealing area of the engine;
- Tighten approximately 3/4 of a turn;
- Fill the oil pan as recommended;
- Start the car and check whether there is any indication of the car’s oil level on the dashboard;
- After a few minutes, check for oil leakage in the seal region and should you find any leaks, re-tighten the cap and check again.
To prevent breakdowns, it is essential that the oil filter is inspected every time the oil is replaced or your car undergoes preventive maintenance.
Which tools are needed to change an engine oil filter?
The tools and safety equipment required to change an oil filter may vary from vehicle to vehicle. However, the most common are:
- Draing Plug Sockets Wrench Set 20PCS
Click on the image to find out more about our Draing Plug Sockets Wrench Set 20PCS (Ref.7008).
- 3 Jaw Magnetic Oil filter wrench 3/8″ 58-98mm
Click on the image to find out more about our 3/8 ” 58-98mm 3-jaw Magnetic Oil Filter Wrench (Ref.5430).
- Oil Drain Pan 15L
Click on the image to find out more about our Oil Drain Pan 15L (Ref.2044).
- Oil vacuum extractor with measuring cup 90L
Click on the image to find out more about our Oil vacuum extractor with measuring cup 90L (Ref. 9730).
- Mechanic Work gloves
Click on the image to find out more about our Mechanic Work Gloves KROFtools EN388 CE Cat II (Ref. GLOVES).
- 40″ Workshop creeper
Click on the image to find out more about our 40″ Workshop Creeper (Ref. 4876)
Replacing an oil filter is an easy task but getting a qualified mechanic to do the job will ensure you get the results you’re after.
How much does an engine oil filter cost?
The price of an engine oil filter may range from 5 to 20 euros.
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