As a car owner, you probably understand that regularly changing your car's oil and oil filter is important. Oil is undoubtedly the lifeblood of your car's engine, and a filter helps to keep the oil free of contaminants. However, have you ever wondered how an oil filter works and why it's important to replace it from time to time?
What Is an Oil Filter?
An oil filter is a cylindrical canister that is usually located near the engine. It's essential because it traps contaminants such as dirt, metal pieces and other debris that can affect the oil. The oil filter works in a pretty simple way: it has tiny holes that allow oil to pass through but block contaminants from entering. The filter's media, which can be made from paper, cellulose, synthetic or other materials, traps contaminants and prevents them from circulating into the engine, where they can cause damage.
Why Do Things Go Wrong?
Over time, oil filters become saturated with contaminants and need to be replaced to continue to function correctly. Without replacing the oil filter, the filter can become clogged and won't process the oil properly. When that happens, dirty oil circulates through the engine and can cause sludge build-up, overheat the engine, and, in severe cases, cause the engine to fail.
How Long Does the Filter Last?
Like oil in your car, how long an oil filter lasts before needing a replacement varies. Largely based on the make and model of your vehicle, manufacturer recommendations may differ. The general rule is to replace oil filters every time you change the oil in your car, which can vary according to manufacturer suggestions. But if you drive in harsh conditions, such as heavy traffic or dusty roads, you might need to replace this particular part more often.
How Will You Know?
Several indicators suggest it's time to change your oil filter. One is if the oil warning light comes on, indicating that the oil isn't flowing correctly and the filter may be clogged. Another sign is if you hear unusual engine noise, such as a knocking or ticking noise when idling. When you notice any of these signs, it's best to take your car to a mechanic to have it checked, including the oil filter.
An oil filter is one of those vital components in your car that most people ignore. But understanding the basics of how an oil filter works and why it needs to be changed regularly can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in engine damage in the long run. If you're unsure about the condition of your oil filter, don't hesitate to take it to a mechanic to have it checked, including the oil filter. By replacing it before it causes significant damage, you'll be ensuring your car lives a long and healthy life.
For more info about car servicing, contact a local company.