When to Change Oil Filters Based on What Your Car is Telling You

When to Change Oil Filters Based on What Your Car is Telling You

It’s important to know when to change oil filters and the actual oil. Most drivers should know that friction is a major factor in everything that’s driving-related. Adding proper lubricants in the mix will definitely increase the engine’s lifespan. This will also affect the driving quality and the resale value of the vehicle. That being said, let’s talk a bit about proper lubrication.

Debris could find its way into the engine at any time. The filter will keep it out of the parts as long as it can, but as it gets clogged, less and less lubricant will reach the engine parts; thus, friction will increase. If friction increases, then the engine will wear out sooner and run louder. Heat will also build up faster since oil acts as an absorbent, so engine failure will become a likely outcome.

The Manufacturer is Always Right, Even when He’s Not

Let’s talk a bit about the owner’s manual, the Holy Grail of car owners. The information present in the manual regarding replacing oil varies for a number of reasons. How the oil interacts with the engine parts is influenced by the:

  • Type of fuel used
  • Type of lubricant
  • Engine’s architecture
  • Climate
  • Fuel type and its composition

All of these will affect how fast oil and fuel is being consumed, as well as the nature of the deposits that result from debris. These can be either goopy or crumbly. In any case, they’re bad for the engine.

The manufacturer will always give a definite outline of when maintenance should be performed. Respecting this line will ensure that the engine will have a long lifespan. Failing to perform routine oil changes will result in a damaged engine which will no longer be covered by the warranty.

What Does Oil Actually Do?

Oil facilitates friction between the engine’s parts. Most of the friction is metal on metal. This combination will produce a lot of heat and a lot of wear. Oil will improve the friction, as well as keep temperatures lower.

In addition to these, lubricants also act as a layer of protective coating against corrosion. It’s also great for sealing tight gaps in which debris could potentially enter since car oil is quite a thick substance.

The manufacturer will provide the user with the type and amount of oil. Typically, this will boil down to viscosity; choosing the brand being the driver’s responsibility. Full synthetic oils tend to last longer, making them the superior choice most of the times.

That being said, oil should be changed at least twice per year, so opting for full-synthetic is a waste of money if the driver doesn’t accumulate at least 1,000 miles per month.

When to Change Oil Filters

Routine servicing could be a burden on one’s budget, even for something as trivial as checking the oil filter and changing an oil filter. Also, taking the car to the shop doesn’t guarantee that the mechanics will use quality products. Meaning, the only guarantee for a job-well-done is for the driver to perform this task.

There are a lot of indicators that a driver can use to determine whether or not the oil filter must be changed. Some professionals claim that a good approach is to change oil filters with each refill.

While that’s a safe approach, it can also be wasteful. Full-synthetic oil, for example, usually comes in a golden color. As gunk accumulates, the oil changes to a dark color. When it becomes opaque, it’s a good idea to change the oil filter.

Another good indicator is when the car overheats. This is caused by little to no lubricant delivery to the pistons and other moving engine parts. When this happens, it’s very important to replace the oil filter with a new one and fill the engine’s oil tank with a new lubricant.

Lastly, the engine light can turn on for a number of reasons. One is the need for an oil and filter change. While some vehicles do come with indicators that inform the driver in regards to the precise issue, others only inform the driver that attention is required, like when to change your oil filters.

  • Changing the Oil Filter

Not a lot of tools are required for an oil filter swap. The oil filter plus a favorite brand of compatible oil (both of which can be found in the owner’s manual), some wrenches and a means of lifting the car. The latter can be done either by using a floor jack with jack stands, ramps or by simply driving the car onto an elevated spot, like a curb.

The driver must empty the oil pan. The engine oil pan is typically set under the vehicle. In some models, it’s very similar to the transmission oil pan but is characterized by a unique bolt. By this time, it would be a good idea to have some sort of recipient for recycling the old oil. Unscrew the bolt using a socket wrench and let it drip for around 10 minutes.

The next step would be to wipe the oil pan clean and screw the bolt back in. A good idea would be to replace the bolt gasket, although it can be good for another two to three refills.

The filter can be found either under the hood or under the car. After finding the filter, either unscrew it manually or using a special wrench. The wrench must be very adaptable to different sizes since filters come in a lot of different variants.

Drain the old liquid for recycling and then screw in the new filter. It’s a good idea to use a bit of oil on the edges, to ensure that it won’t get stuck. Afterward, remove the oil cap from the engine and use a funnel to pour in the required amount. Oil bottles are measured, so it’s going to be very easy to make an accurate fill.

Final Thoughts

It’s not rocket science to determine when to change oil filter and oil. If the driver finds it intimidating, a good idea would be to be assisted by a more experienced friend or to seek professional help. Don’t forget to take the car for a spin to make sure that everything runs smoothly.

 

 

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