How Often Should You Change Your Oil Filter

How Often Should You Change Your Oil Filter?

Track your oil change frequency to determine how often you should change your oil filter (or fuel filter). 

Many car manufacturers include this information in the owner’s manual of their vehicles. Generally, you should replace your oil filter every second time you change your vehicle’s oil. 

Accordingly, you will need to replace your filter every 6,000 miles if your oil is changed every 3,000 miles. 

Nevertheless, it’s best to consult your mechanic or a professional to find out how often to change your oil filter.

This is a quick way to gauge when you need to change your oil filter, but other factors also affect how often you should do so. 

Here are some of these influencers:

a) Age of the Vehicle

Newer cars should have their oil changed at the recommended interval specified by their manufacturer, which is roughly 5,000 to 6,000 miles. That means the oil filter should be changed when your car has traveled 10,000 miles or 12,000.

Several newer vehicles come with built-in maintenance reminders. As a result, if it seems overly difficult to do calculations or keep track of a schedule, just use the oil life monitor. 

A vehicle’s oil life monitoring system can be found under your instrument panel settings, or under the vehicle maintenance or service menu on your touchscreen display. 

Some older vehicles don’t have oil life monitoring systems. With a dipstick, you can check your oil level and verify that it is clean each month.

What does that mean?

An oil dipstick is used to check whether engine oil or motor oil reaches the recommended level.

Is the oil mark on the vehicle too low?

It’s time to refill. 

Having too dark oil is a sign that your car’s oil is dirty and old, and you should get the oil changed and the oil filter changed. 

b) Driving Habits or Driving Conditions

The frequency of oil changes and the replacement of oil filters are also affected by your driving habits. 

Especially if you drive in bad weather or harsh road conditions or drive aggressively, you may need to have your vehicle repaired several times for different reasons. 

In addition, you will have to replace your oil filter much sooner than you expect – meaning your oil change interval will also decrease.

What’s the reason?

As a result, the engine and vehicle work harder in extreme temperatures. Other severe driving conditions that your car manufacturer may have provided you with can be found in the owner’s manual. It will show you whether your driving style or condition is harmful to your car.

Oil filters and oil changes need to be performed more often in certain driving conditions:

  • Short trips (less than 10 miles) are frequent
  • Towing a trailer over long distances
  • Stop-and-go driving in severe weather conditions
  • Regularly driving on rough, uneven, or dusty roads
  • Driving a track

To prevent excessive engine wear, avoid these situations to prolong the life of your engine oil filter. When it comes to heavy towing, it’s better to leave it to the professionals.

Note: If you drive an older vehicle, you must be especially cautious about the condition of the roads.

c) Oil Used (Synthetic Oil Or Conventional Oil)

Using the right kind of oil can also have an impact on the frequency with which you should change your oil filter. Depending on your needs, you may be using regular (conventional) oil, synthetic oil, or a combination of the two.

The benefits of synthetic oil over conventional oil include a longer life and improved performance. Most likely, you already use synthetic oil in your vehicle. However, if your old vehicle uses regular oil, you can always switch to synthetic oil.

After learning how often you should change your oil filter, let’s answer some common questions you have.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following questions may be of interest to you regarding car oil filters. Let’s answer these questions to help you better understand your oil filter.

i) How Much Does An Oil Filter Replacement Cost?

At an automobile shop, an oil filter replacement costs anywhere from $20 to $125.

Replacement cost includes three charges, including:

  • Oil in the engine (varies depending on the type of oil, such as synthetic motor oil or regular oil)
  • Installing a new oil filter (fuel filter)
  • Labor costs at an auto shop
  • Additional costs if your mechanic spots other problems such as engine wear or a damaged oil pan.

Note: To find out when to replace your oil filter, check the owner’s manual provided by your car manufacturer. Then you won’t have to pay for an oil filter replacement you didn’t need.

ii) What Does An Oil Filter Change Include?

The oil filter and engine oil must be replaced together at an auto service center or repair shop for an oil filter replacement.

However, it isn’t always the case. 

In good condition fuel filters, it will just be necessary to add clean engine oil. It is not possible to change engine oil entirely if the oil filter is old.

What’s the reason?

Changing the old oil with clean engine oil without replacing the fuel filter is a waste of time. As soon as your clean oil passes through a used fuel filter, it becomes dirty and looks like old oil. 

That’s why your mechanic will first drain out your old oil by removing the drain plug (the drain plug is typically located on the oil pan). After draining your car’s oil, the mechanic will then replace your old fuel filter too.

Note

Dealerships and auto repair shops may perform additional services, such as tire rotation, car wash, topping off fluids, and other services, aside from changing the oil and fuel filter in your car. This can add to your total repair costs.

iii) Why Does My Oil Filter Need Regular Replacement?

With time, your engine oil filter will gradually become clogged as it traps tons of contaminants like metal particles, grime, and carbon dust. Replace the oil filter regularly to keep your engine’s oil clean and extend its life.

In order to ensure that clean oil passes through the oil filter, it must be cleaned and replaced.

iv) How Do I Know When My Oil Filter Needs Replacement?

Oil filter replacements do not come with a warning light.

Furthermore, the oil filter is a sealed metal unit that you cannot inspect visually and determine when it needs to be replaced. (Not everyone has a dipstick handy or knows how to use it.)

In any event, there are a few symptoms you can watch for to determine if your oil filter is clogged. Here are a few of them:

  • Lack of lubrication of the engine
  • Sputtering motors
  • Engine noises that sound metallic
  • Unexpected engine wear and tear
  • Engine damage internals
  • Low oil pressure
  • Service engine light illuminated 
  • Exhaust that is black and dirty
  • The car smells like burning oil
  • When the oil change indicator or oil pressure warning light comes on (newer cars)

Any one or more of these symptoms could require immediate attention by a mechanic.

Note: Stop the car immediately if the oil pressure drops.

v) What Does An Oil Filter Do?

In a car, an oil filter maintains motor oil flow and catches metal particles and contaminants to keep them from circulating through the engine.

Dirt and other tiny particles, such as metal particles, can unobstructedly make their way into the engine assembly, causing clogs and other damage to the engine. Damage to the engine may prevent parts from moving, so your vehicle won’t move. 

Contaminants can also reduce the efficiency of your vehicle’s oil consumption.

Note: In order to prevent a clogged oil filter, newer vehicles have bypass valves on their oil filters. Bypass valves control the oil pressure inside the fuel filter. Once the oil filter on your car is completely blocked, the bypass valve will open to let motor oil circulate.

Final Thoughts

The answer to the question “how often to change oil filter” isn’t as straightforward as it might appear. There are a lot of factors to consider.

Still, it’s important to replace this component along with an oil change.

Oil filters remove grit and grime from oil, making them an essential part of your vehicle’s engine. 

The good news is, oil filters are relatively inexpensive, so you can protect your car from engine wear (expensive damage) in the future.

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