Your car's oil filter does two important things: it filters waste and keeps the oil in the right place at the right time.
Without clean oil, your engine will not perform at its best; unless the oil filter is working, your oil will not perform at its best. But do you know how the oil filter (the unsung hero of your car's engine) works?
Driving with a dirty oil filter can damage or ruin your car's engine. Understanding what an oil filter is and how it works can help you recognize when it's time to change it. Next, the oil filter supplier will share with you.
If oil is the lifeblood of your engine, then the oil filter is like a kidney! Kidneys filter out waste and remove excess fluid from your body to keep it healthy and humming.
Your car's oil filter also removes waste. It traps harmful debris, dirt and metal fragments in the oil to keep your car's engine running smoothly.
Without an oil filter, harmful particles can enter the oil and damage the engine. Filtering out the gunk means your oil stays cleaner, longer. Cleaner oil means better engine performance.
Your oil filter doesn't just filter out waste. It has many parts that work together to clean the oil and keep it in the right place at the right time.
Tapping Plate: Oil enters and exits the oil filter through the tapping plate, which looks like a center hole surrounded by smaller holes. The oil passes through the smaller hole, through the filter material, and then flows through the center hole to the engine.
Filter Material: The filter is made of synthetic fiber mesh that is used as a sieve to trap grit and dirt in the oil. The material is folded into pleats to create a larger surface area.
Anti-drain check valve: When your vehicle is not running, the flap of this valve closes to prevent oil from seeping from the engine into the oil filter.
Drain Valve: When it's cold outside, oil thickens and has trouble getting through the filter. The safety valve discharges a small amount of unfiltered oil to boost the engine until the engine warms up.
End Discs: The two end discs on either side of the oil filter are made of metal or fiber to keep unfiltered oil from entering the engine.
Of course, you don't need to remember all of these parts, but understanding how they work together can help you recognize the importance of changing your oil filter.
By the time you drive 3,000 miles (the usual recommended oil change interval), your oil will have passed through the oil filter 12,000 times!
Like other car parts, filters get dirty and don't function effectively with regular wear and tear. Many manufacturers recommend changing the oil filter with every oil change, but check your owner's manual for specific recommendations.
A survey by the Car Care Council found that four out of four cars have low or dirty oil in them. If your car is one of these, it may not be performing at its best, in part because the oil filter needs to be changed.
Symptoms that require oil and oil filter changes may include
Metallic noise under the hood
Low oil pressure
Changes in exhaust gas color
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