Smooth Running Engines: A Guide To Replacing Your Oil Filter


The oil filter is one of four primary filters in your vehicle, and it is critical to extending the life of your engine. This particular filter sieves out contaminants from the engine oil, preventing them from damaging the engine and its vital components. The filter needs regular replacements to ensure clean oil and proper engine lubrication.

Selecting the Right Oil Filter

Replacing an oil filter is relatively straightforward, but the selection process is a little more challenging. Manufacturers create filters for different engines and specifications. Choosing the wrong filter for your vehicle can lead to problems with oil disbursement and your engine. When selecting a filter, you want to focus on compatibility, filtration efficiency, and filter quality and features.

The most important thing when looking for an oil filter is to find options designed for your vehicle. An owner’s manual should contain the specific type of filter necessary for a car. Choosing a filter outside manufacturer recommendations can lead to an improper fit, inadequate filtration, or leaks.

Every filter has a micron rating that explains the particle sizes it can capture. The higher the micron rating, the larger the particles it traps. The smaller the rating, the finer the debris it can catch. The best filter can capture the most debris without affecting the oil flow.

Finally, before learning how to change your oil filter, you want to find a quality and potentially feature-rich filter. When shopping, stick to buying from reputable brands known for using high-quality materials and durable construction. You may also want to find filters with bypass valves to prevent clogs.

Draining the Oil Properly

Once you purchase the oil filter, it is time to install it. You must drain the oil, but there is a process. First, you want to park your vehicle on a level surface, engaging the parking brake for additional security. Then, you want to gather your tools: oil drain pan,  oil filter wrench, socket wrench, funnel, protective gloves, new filter, and fresh oil.

Before you drain the oil, you may want to warm it up. You can warm the oil by running the engine for a few minutes. Heating the oil allows for faster draining. After warming the oil, turn the engine off and locate the drain plug and oil filter. 

Position the drain pan underneath the plug to catch the used and expelled oil. Loosen the plug using a socket wrench. Wear your gloves because the oil will come out rapidly once the plug is removed. Allow the oil to empty completely. 

Finally, when the oil is drained, use the oil filter wrench to remove the old filter. Watch for residual oil. Dispose of the old filter responsibly. Prepare the new filter by applying a thin layer of fresh oil to the gasket. Screw the filter in place but don’t overtighten.

Refill the oil and check for leaks. If you don’t find any, start the engine and run it for a few minutes. Check again for leaks. If everything checks out, assess the oil level.

Oil filters are necessary components of the engine and its filtration system. If you are unaware of which filter is best for your vehicle, contact an automotive professional for help.